Important Considerations With Anxiety Medicines

Buspirone (BuSpar®), a member of a class of drugs called azapirones, is a newer medication for anxiety that is used to treat GAD.
Possible side effects include:
Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least two weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect and does not seem to have much potential to be abused. In general, buspirone is also less likely to cause drowsiness, compared to benzodiazepines.

Other "Anxiety" Medications

In addition to anti-anxiety medications and certain antidepressants, other medications may be used. Beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal®), metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol-XL®), or atenolol (Tenormin®), are often used to treat heart conditions, but have also been found to be helpful for certain anxiety disorders, particularly social phobia.
When a feared situation, such as giving an oral presentation, can be predicted in advance, your doctor may prescribe a beta blocker that can be taken to keep your heart from pounding, your hands from shaking, and other physical symptoms from developing. Often, simply controlling these physical symptoms is enough to keep the anxiety under control.

Questions to Ask About Medications for Anxiety

Before taking medications as part of your treatment for anxiety, be sure to:
  • Ask your healthcare provider about the effects and side effects of the drug he or she is prescribing.
  • Tell your doctor about any alternative therapies (such as herbal supplements) or over-the-counter medications you are using.
  • Ask your doctor when and how the medication will be stopped. Some drugs can't safely be stopped abruptly; they have to be tapered slowly under your healthcare provider's supervision.
  • Be aware that some medications for anxiety are effective in these disorders only as long as they are taken regularly, and symptoms may occur again when the medications are discontinued.
  • Work together with your doctor to determine the right dosage of the right medication to treat your anxiety disorder.
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