There is lots of medication for anxiety available on the market. Almost all of it is only available on prescription from a doctor.
Normally, Patients presenting with anxiety are offered Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI for short). This family of medication is considered suitable if the anxiety disorder is ongoing, as SSRI’s are not suitable for short term use. They tend to take at least four weeks to start working (although some people claim to feel better in as little as two days) and aren’t thought to be fully effective until they have been taken for 6 weeks to two months. The common SSRI’s are:
- citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Celepram, Emocal, Sepram, Seropram)
- escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Esertia, Esipram)
- fluoxetine (Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Sarafem, Fluctin [EUR])
- paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Aropax, Deroxat, Paroxat)
- sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain)
- venlafaxine (Effexor) (SNRI)
- duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- dapoxetine (Priligy)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox, Faverin, Favoxil)
Other drugs which might also be prescribed and are similar to SSRI’s are SNRI’s or Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. The most commonly prescribed SNRI is Venlafaxine (Effexor). SNRI’s are newer than SSRI’s and tend to be slightly better tolerated with fewer side effects. They were designed to treat depression but are also a medication for anxiety. Likewise they are prescribed for long term use, normally six months or more and sometimes years.
Also read this post on Anxiety Medication Over The Counter.
If a medication for anxiety which is short term is needed then there are various other options. In times of extreme grief or pain, or when panic attacks are severe, a short acting anxiolytic might be used. The normal choice would be one of the Benzodiazepine family:
- Xanax, alprazolam:
- Lexotan, bromazepam:
- Librium, chlordiazepoxide:
- Klonopin, clonazepam:
- Tranxene, clorazepate:
- Valium, diazepam:
- Rohypnol, flunitrazepam:
- ProSom, estazolam:
- Dalmane, flurazepam:
- Paxipam, halazepam:
- Dormonoct, loprazolam:
- Ativan, lorazepam:
- Versed (Hypnovel, Dormicum), midazolam:
- Mogadon, nitrazepam:
- Serax, oxazepam:
- Doral, quazepam:
- Restoril, temazepam:
- Halcion, triazolam:
Benzodiazepines are good because they work quickly (less than an hour even) and are very good at what they do – stopping anxiety and panic. In a way they are the ultimate medication for anxiety. The problem is that if they are taken for too long they become less effective and can become addictive. Constant use for more then three weeks is rarely advised. For a personal experience of Valium click here.
Another drug that is not a Benzodiazepine is Buspirone, which is said to be as good as a Benzodiazipine for reducing anxiety but non-addictive and non-sedating. It has a better side-effect profile but can not be taken on an as needed basis. It has to be taken daily and takes two or three weeks to take effect. As it is non-addictive it is much better suited to long-term use Benzodiazepines.