Panic Attack Medications Information Guide and Resources
Warning: Some of the side effects of the following medications are listed below. Before taking any of these medications please talk with your Doctor about all of the risks and benefits of the medications.
Anti anxiety medications – anxiety drugs help to calm and relax the anxious person and remove the troubling symptoms. There are a number of anti anxiety medications currently available. The preferred medications for most anxiety disorders are the benzodiazepines. In addition to the benzodiazepines, a non-benzodiazepine, buspirone (BuSpar), is used for generalized anxiety disorders.
Antidepressants – anxiety drugs are also effective for panic attacks and some phobias and are often prescribed for these conditions. They are also sometimes used for more generalized forms of anxiety, especially when it is accompanied by depression. The medications approved by the FDA for use in OCD are all antidepressants clomipramine, fluoxetine, and fluvoxamine. The most commonly used benzodiazepines are alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), followed by chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Librax, Libritabs). Benzodiazepines are relatively fast-acting medications; in contrast, buspirone must be taken daily for 2 or 3 weeks prior to exerting its anti-anxiety effect. Most benzodiazepines will begin to take effect within hours, some in even less time. Benzodiazepines differ in duration of action in different individuals; they may be taken two or three times a day, or sometimes only once a day. Dosage is generally started at a low level and gradually raised until symptoms are diminished or removed. The dosage will vary a great deal depending on the symptoms and the individual’s body chemistry.
Benzodiazepines – Drowsiness and loss of coordination are most common; fatigue and mental slowing or confusion can also occur. These effects make it dangerous to drive or operate some machinery when taking benzodiazepines especially when the patient is just beginning treatment. Other side effects are rare. Benzodiazepines combined with other medications can present a problem, notably when taken together with commonly used substances such as alcohol. It is wise to abstain from alcohol when taking benzodiazepines, as the interaction between benzodiazepines and alcohol can lead to serious and possibly life-threatening complications. Following the doctor’s instructions is important. The doctor should be informed of all other medications the patient is taking, including over-the-counter preparations. Benzodiazepines increase central nervous system depression when combined with alcohol, anesthetics, antihistamines, sedatives, muscle relaxants, and some prescription pain medications. Particular benzodiazepines may influence the action of some anticonvulsant and cardiac medications. Benzodiazepines have also been associated with abnormalities in babies born to mothers who were taking anxiety medications during pregnancy.
If you want to try to control your anxiety or panic disorder naturally we at The Anxiety Disorders Resource Center have found alternative treatments that are very effective. Click here to view a list of these options.
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This web site provides general information: Do not use the information on these pages as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a Professional Health Care Provider. Click here for the full disclaimer. Please do not ask for a diagnosis or information regarding medication.