Merck Manual

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Drugs Used to Treat Anxiety Disorders

Drugs Used to Treat Anxiety Disorders

Drug

Uses

Some Side Effects

Comments

Benzodiazepines

Alprazolam

Chlordiazepoxide

Clonazepam

Clorazepate

Diazepam

Lorazepam

Oxazepam

Sleepiness, memory problems, impaired coordination, and slowed reaction time

May lead to drug dependence

Most commonly used type of antianxiety drug

Promote mental and physical relaxation by reducing nerve activity in the brain

Begin to work quickly, sometimes within an hour

Should not be used by people with an alcohol use disorder

Buspirone

Dizziness and headache

Does not cause drowsiness or interact with alcohol

Does not lead to drug dependence

May take several weeks to start working

Antidepressants*

SSRIs (such as escitalopram)

SNRIs (such as venlafaxine)

MAOIs

TCAs (such as clomipramine)

* Not all of the antidepressants listed work for all of the uses that are listed.

MAOI = monoamine oxidase inhibitor; SNRI = selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor; SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; TCA = tricyclic antidepressant.