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Medications for Anxiety Disorders Chart

Medication can play a useful role in treating anxiety disorders and may be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. Anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are often used to ease symptoms so that other therapy can go forward.

Common Medications

Chemical Category &
Brand Names
Target Anxiety Disorders How It's Thought to Work Benefits Drawbacks
Benzodiazepines:
Ativan
Dalmane
Librium
Restoril
Tranxene
Centrax
Klonopin
Paxipam
Serax

Xanax
GAD
Panic Disorder
Social Phobia
Insomnia
Enhances the function of GABA. Fast-acting, with most people feeling better in the first week and many feeling the effects the first day of treatment. Potentially habit-forming; can cause drowsiness; can produce withdrawal symptoms.
Beta Blockers:
Inderal
Tenormin
Social Phobia Reduces effects of adrenaline. Fast acting; non-habit forming. Should not be used with certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, vascular disease, hyperthyroidism, and angina pectoris.
Azaspirones:
BuSpar
GAD Enhances the activity of serotonin. Effective for many people; less sedating than benzodiazepines. Works slowly; can't switch from benzodiazepines immediately.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs):
Eldepryl
Marplan
Nardil
Parnate
Panic Disorder
Social Phobia
PTSD
OCD
Blocks the effect of an important brain chemical, preventing the break-
down of serotonin and noradreniline.
Effective for many people, especially for patients not responding to other medicines; 2 to 6 weeks
until im-
provement occurs.
Strict dietary restrictions and potential drug interactions; low blood pressure, moderate weight gain; reduced sexual response; insomnia.
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SRIs):
Celexa
Desyrel
Effexor
Lexapro
Luvox
Paxil
Prozac
Serzone
Panic Disorder
OCD
Social Phobia
GAD
Affects the concentration of serotonin, a chemical in the brain thought to be linked to anxiety disorders. Effective for many people; 2 to 6 weeks until improvement occurs. Nausea; some can cause nervousness; sexual difficulties.
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs):
Adapin
Anafranil
Elavil
Janimine
Ludiomil
Pamelor
Pertofrane
Sinequan
Surmontil
Tofranil
Vivactil
Panic Disorder
PTSD
OCD
Regulates serotonin and/or noradreniline in the brain. Effective for many people; may take 2 to 6 weeks until improvement occurs. Dry mouth, constipation, blurry vision, difficulty urinating; dizziness, low blood pressure; moderate weight gain; sexual difficulty.
Anticonvulsants:
Neurontin
Social Phobia Affects GABA. May take 2-4 weeks to work. Sedation.
Medicines used to manage anxiety disorders are grouped based on their chemical properties.
Most anxiety disorders respond best to a combination of medication and other treatments.
 

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APA Reference
Writer, H. (2007, February 20). Medications for Anxiety Disorders Chart, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/medications-for-anxiety-disorders

Last Updated: July 1, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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