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Medications for Anxiety

Other names: Anxiety States; Nerves; Nervousness

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, voice changes, or increased blood pressure. It may also be called nervousness.

Occasional anxiety concerning a stressful or uncomfortable event is normal. However, if a person feels disproportionate levels of anxiety or it is present almost continuously, it might be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder. 

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety is part of our survival response and is the way our body responds to potentially harmful or worrying triggers.

Strong emotions or fear cause a surge of epinephrine (also called adrenaline) from our adrenal glands. This increases our heartbeat, increases our sensitivity to our surroundings, and prepares us for physical confrontation or to flee if we perceive any threats to our safety. This is often called the fight or flight response.

Anxieties today mostly revolve around family, friends, health, money, or work. People more at risk of anxiety disorders include those:

  • With relationship problems
  • Whose jobs involve long hours, high workloads, little support, or danger
  • With family members with anxiety disorders
  • With medical conditions that result in significant lifestyle adjustments, pain, or restricted movement
  • Who have experienced stressful or traumatic events
  • Withdrawing from alcohol, opioids, or other substances.

What are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder are usually out of proportion to the original trigger or stressor.

If these are accompanied by significant physical symptoms such as increased sweating or increased blood pressure then a person is more likely to have an anxiety disorder rather than stimulus-appropriate anxiety.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic, ongoing condition with excessive worry over normal life events, whether minor or major. These feelings are usually out of proportion to the trouble that you may encounter in your everyday life.

With GAD, feelings come on gradually and are present each day, not in one individual attack, and last for months, even years. Worry may be so excessive that it interferes with your daily life. GAD may also be accompanied by depression and substance abuse disorders.

Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Excessive and uncontrollable worry
  • Increased irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness or a feeling of being on edge
  • Rapid breathing
  • Excessive perspiration and sweating
  • Trembling, quivering
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches, stomach upset
  • Avoidance of circumstances that might trigger severe anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties.

Other anxiety disorders include panic disorder, phobias, selective mutism, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.

How is Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity and type of anxiety disorder and if it is interfering with everyday life.

Treatments may include:

  • Stress management
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Mental imagery (replacing negative thoughts with positive ones)
  • Cognitive Behavioral therapy
  • Counseling
  • Support
  • Exercise
  • Medications.

Drugs Used to Treat Anxiety

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Popularity
Tenormin D N X 4 reviews
9.0

Generic name: atenolol systemic

Drug class: cardioselective beta blockers

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

tramadol Off Label C 4 X 84 reviews
9.4

Generic name: tramadol systemic

Drug class: narcotic analgesics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

Tranxene N 4 X 13 reviews
9.6

Generic name: clorazepate systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Alprazolam Intensol D 4 X 6 reviews
10

Generic name: alprazolam systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

atenolol D N X 37 reviews
7.8

Generic name: atenolol systemic

Brand name:  Tenormin

Drug class: cardioselective beta blockers

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Lorazepam Intensol D 4 X 3 reviews
10

Generic name: lorazepam systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines, miscellaneous antiemetics, benzodiazepine anticonvulsants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

risperidone Off Label C N X 46 reviews
5.3

Generic name: risperidone systemic

Drug class: atypical antipsychotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

clorazepate N 4 X 37 reviews
9.0

Generic name: clorazepate systemic

Brand names:  Tranxene, Tranxene T-Tab

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Diazepam Intensol D 4 X 3 reviews
10

Generic name: diazepam systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines, benzodiazepine anticonvulsants

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

doxepin N N X 31 reviews
6.7

Generic name: doxepin systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics, tricyclic antidepressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

oxazepam N 4 X 50 reviews
8.6

Generic name: oxazepam systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Paxil CR D N X 10 reviews
8.6

Generic name: paroxetine systemic

Drug class: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

amitriptyline / perphenazine N N X 7 reviews
9.7

Generic name: amitriptyline / perphenazine systemic

Drug class: psychotherapeutic combinations

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, Prescribing Information

chlordiazepoxide N 4 X 31 reviews
8.0

Generic name: chlordiazepoxide systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

oxcarbazepine Off Label C N X 24 reviews
6.1

Generic name: oxcarbazepine systemic

Drug class: dibenzazepine anticonvulsants

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

Pexeva D N X 3 reviews
9.0

Generic name: paroxetine systemic

Drug class: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

phenytoin Off Label D N X 2 reviews
8.5

Generic name: phenytoin systemic

Drug class: hydantoin anticonvulsants, group I antiarrhythmics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

prochlorperazine N N X 48 reviews
2.2

Generic name: prochlorperazine systemic

Brand name:  Compro

Drug class: phenothiazine antiemetics, phenothiazine antipsychotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Compro N N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: prochlorperazine systemic

Drug class: phenothiazine antiemetics, phenothiazine antipsychotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Corgard C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: nadolol systemic

Drug class: non-cardioselective beta blockers

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

desvenlafaxine Off Label C N X 157 reviews
7.2

Generic name: desvenlafaxine systemic

Drug class: serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

meprobamate N 4 X 12 reviews
8.3

Generic name: meprobamate systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

nadolol C N X 2 reviews
7.0

Generic name: nadolol systemic

Brand name:  Corgard

Drug class: non-cardioselective beta blockers

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

nefazodone Off Label C N X 8 reviews
8.0

Generic name: nefazodone systemic

Drug class: phenylpiperazine antidepressants

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Off Label: Yes

Tranxene T-Tab N 4 X 1 review
10

Generic name: clorazepate systemic

Drug class: benzodiazepines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Topics under Anxiety

Alternative treatments for Anxiety

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Anxiety. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Anxiety.

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.