Medically the review by Zara Risoldi Cochrane, Pharm.D., M.S., FASCP — written by Jayne Leonard top top January 13, 2020

The ax anxiety incorporates feelings the worry, fear, and also unease. Although the is typical to experience some level of stress and anxiety at times, intense or persistent anxiety might be indicative that an tension disorder.

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According come several big surveys, approximately 33.7 percent of human being experience some kind of anxiety disorder during their lifetime.

Medications are available to treat stress and anxiety disorders. Doctors might prescribe medication alone or in mix with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or another kind that therapy.

In this article, we talk about the main types of stress medication and list their risks and side effects.

Several varieties of medication deserve to treat the symptoms of anxiety. Follow to the Anxiety and Depression association of America (ADAA), the four major classes of medicine for anxiety disorders space as follows:

1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

Share on PinterestA doctor might prescribe medicine to act persistent anxiety.
Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) space a kind of antidepressant, doctors typically prescribe lock to civilization with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

According to one article, doctors take into consideration SSRIs to it is in the first-line drug treatment for anxiety.

SSRIs occupational by avoiding nerve cells in the mind from reabsorbing serotonin, i beg your pardon is a chemical the plays a an essential role in mood regulation.

Examples of SSRIs for tension include:

escitalopram (Lexapro)fluoxetine (Prozac)fluvoxamine (Luvox)paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)sertraline (Zoloft)

These medications typically start to take impact within 2 come 6 weeks, yet they perform not work-related for everyone.

People usually take SSRIs for approximately 12 month to act anxiety, then gradually reduce the dosage. This drugs room not habit-forming, definition that they carry out not usually lead to dependence.

People have to consult their doctor or physician prior to they start reducing or stopping their medication.

2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class the antidepressant the treats depression and anxiety. Doctors may likewise prescribe them to treat some chronic ache conditions.

These medicines work by to reduce the brain’s reabsorption of the chemicals serotonin and also norepinephrine.

Examples the SNRIs for anxiety are:

venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

As with SSRIs, SNRIs deserve to take several weeks to have an effect.

3. Tricyclic antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) space an older class of antidepressant drug. Although they might be reliable for the therapy of depression and anxiety, doctors often prescribe SSRIs instead, as they cause fewer side effects.

However, TCAs may be beneficial for some people, especially if other medicines do not provide relief.

Examples the TCAs for stress include:

amitriptyline (Elavil)imipramine (Tofranil)nortriptyline (Pamelor)

4. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines space a type of sedative drug that reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such together tense muscles. This drugs also encourage relaxation, and their impacts take location within a few minutes.

Benzodiazepines include:

alprazolam (Xanax)chlordiazepoxide (Librium)diazepam (Valium)lorazepam (Ativan)

Although they room highly efficient for temporary issues, doctors rarely prescribe benzodiazepines because they end up being less effective over time and also can be addictive.

Due to these risks, experts suggest the doctors carry out not prescribe the consistent use of benzodiazepines for much more than 1 month.

Some civilization may take it benzodiazepines to regulate short-term anxiety. Because that example, civilization with a are afraid of flying might take them before a flight.

At times, world may take a benzodiazepine together an SSRI for a few weeks till the SSRI bring away effect.

Other drugs for anxiety

Many other drugs may aid treat anxiety, although physicians usually only prescribe castle if SSRIs or comparable drugs do not work.

Other drugs for anxiety include:


Beta-blockers are a usual medication for civilization with high blood pressure and heart conditions. However, doctors might prescribe lock off-label for stress in particular situations.

Beta-blockers alleviate the results of norepinephrine, an interpretation that they can relieve few of the physical symptoms of anxiety. Instances of beta-blockers incorporate atenolol (Tenormin) and also propranolol (Inderal).


This anti-anxiety medication may treat short- or permanent anxiety symptoms.

Buspirone (BuSpar) works much an ext slowly than benzodiazepines and also may no treat all types of anxiety disorder, yet it causes fewer side effects and also has a reduced risk that dependency.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are among the earliest varieties of antidepressant. Doctors may prescribe them off-label come treat the symptom of panic disorder and also social phobia. Types of MAOI include:

isocarboxazid (Marplan)phenelzine (Nardil)selegiline (Emsam)tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Antidepressants and other drugs for anxiety have the potential to reason side effects in some people.

These often resolve ~ a few weeks, but it is an important to watch a doctor if they room intolerable or execute not subside.

Some doctors might recommend taking anxiety drugs with food to minimize side effects, or acquisition them prior to bed, as long as the drug does not interfere through sleep.

The side results that a human being experiences might vary depending upon the kind of medication.


The side impacts of SSRIs can include:

blurry visiondizzinessfeeling agitated or restlessgaining weightnauseasleep problems


The side effects of SNRIs are similar to those the SSRIs and include:

dizzinessdrowsiness or fatiguedry mouthheadachesweight gainloss that appetitenauseasexual difficulties or erectile dysfunctionsleep problemssweating much more than usualan upset stomach


Side results vary amongst TCAs, as they work in different ways. Feasible side results include:

blurry visionconstipationdifficulty urinatingdry mouthdrowsinessincrease in appetitelightheadednesslow blood pressure after was standing upsexual difficulties or erectile dysfunctionsweating much more than usualtremorsweight ns or gain


These medicines can cause several side effects, together as:

blurry visionconfusiondizzinessdrowsiness or fatigueheadachesloss of memory or concentrationproblems through balance, coordination, or speechan uncomfortable stomach

Benzodiazepines also carry specific risks. For example, they can reason physical dependence, also after a short duration of use. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines might lead to:

anxiety and restlessnessdepressionsleep problemssweatingseizures

More severe risks of benzodiazepines might include:

cognitive declinemotor auto accidents, together they can influence a person’s ability to driveoverdose, especially in mix with opioid drugs or alcohol


Possible side effects of beta-blockers include:

cold hands and feetdepressionextreme tirednesslow blood pressureshortness that breathsleep problemsweight gain

People through asthma must avoid beta-blockers. People with diabetes have to take them v caution and speak to a doctor around the feasible risks.

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The side effects of buspirone may include:

blurry visiondizzinessdrowsinessdry mouthfatigueheadachesmuscle painsnauseapoor concentrationrestlessness or nervousnesssleep problemssweatingweakness


Potential side results of MAOIs include:

constipationdiarrheadifficulty urinatingdizzinessdrowsinessdry mouthheadacheslow blood pressurenauseasexual dysfunctionsleep problemssweatingweight gain

These medications additionally interact through several various other drugs and also some foods and also drinks. Anyone acquisition MAOIs should ask their physician for a finish list of the medicines, foods, and drinks that they should avoid.