Anxiety Medications (cont.)
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
In this Article
- What are anxiety medications and how do they work?
- For what conditions are anxiety medications used?
- Which anxiety medication is used depends on the specific diagnosis
- Are there differences among anxiety medications?
- What are the warnings/precautions/side effects and adverse events of anti-anxiety medications?
- What are some drug interactions for anti-anxiety drugs?
- What are some examples of anxiety medications?
For what conditions are anxiety medications used?
Anxiety medications are used either alone or in combination with psychotherapy to treat a number of different disorders all classified as “anxiety disorders.” These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorder (PD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
Which anxiety medication is used depends on the specific diagnosis:
- Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used to treat panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used in treating panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety disorder. One tricyclic, clomipramine (Anafranil), may also be used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- The antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used for panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Other antidepressants, including the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are used for panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Buspirone (BuSpar), an anti-anxiety drug, is used in the treatment of general anxiety disorder.
- The benzodiazepines are used to treat general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
- First-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, can be used to treat general anxiety disorder.
- Beta-blockers, such as propranolol, are used to treat performance anxiety, a kind of social anxiety disorder, and are sometimes used for panic disorder.
- Alpha-blockers, such as prazosin, are used in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, specifically for nightmares.
- Other drugs, such as anticonvulsants and antipsychotics are used as augmentation therapy to increase the overall response to therapy when symptoms persist after receiving treatment with first-line anti-anxiety drugs.
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