Other Medications Used for Anxiety
High-potency benzodiazepines relieve symptoms quickly and have few side effects, although drowsiness can be a problem. Because people can develop a tolerance to them -- and would have to continue increasing the dosage to get the same effect -- benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short-term use only.
One exception is panic disorder, for which benzodiazepines may be used for six months to a year. People who have had problems with drug or alcohol abuse are not usually good candidates for these medications because they may become dependent on them.
Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking benzodiazepines, although reducing the dosage gradually can diminish those symptoms. In certain instances, the symptoms of anxiety can rebound after these medications are stopped. Potential problems with benzodiazepines have led some physicians to shy away from using them or to use them in inadequate doses, even when they are of potential benefit to the patient.
- Clonazepam (Klonopin®), which is used for social phobia and GAD
- Alprazolam (Xanax®), which is helpful for panic disorder and GAD
- Lorazepam (Ativan®), which is also useful for panic disorder.
Buspirone (BuSpar®), a member of a class of drugs called azipirones, is a newer anti-anxiety medication that is used to treat GAD.
Possible side effects include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Unlike the benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least two weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect.