What Are The Best Medications For Anxiety?


anxiety meds.jpg

In this article we are going to discuss medication treatments for anxiety in children, adolescents and adults.

Groups Of Anxeity Medications

In general, the first group of these medications are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Luvox.

The second type of medication is called buspar or buspirone. And then the third category includes what we refer to as the benzodiazepine medications. These medications include Xanax, Klonopin, Valium.

In general with children and adolescents we are not in a big hurry to consider the use of the benzodiazepines. These medications will decrease anxiety and if used should be considered very short-term, because they can also cause disinhibition in younger people. So, we're very cautious in their use.

Generally, teens with severe panic disorder or intense separation anxiety and younger kids, excessive worried children may be prescribed with very low dose of Klonopin or Xanax. Ativan is another type of benzodiazepine.

But, as I mentioned, this category medication is used very conservatively in young people.

In adults, it's not unusual to consider the use of either Klonopin, Ativan or Xanax for brief use until a secondary medication begins to work. It would not be unusual to give a benzodiazepine medicine with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. And as the SSRI begins to take effect, usually within 2 to 6 weeks, then the benzodiazepine can be lowered and discontinued.

Popular Brands Of Anxiety Medications

In regard to the SSRIs, they can be multiple types. They include Lexapro, which is among the newer of the SSRIs. Lexapro has a dose range generally 10 to 20 milligrams and adults, lower dose range to start in younger people. It's FDA-approved age 12 and above. Lexapro may cause some sleepiness or fatigue and so considering giving Lexapro in the evening would not be unusual.

The second would be Prozac. The medication is FDA approved in children as young as age 7 and has been used to treat OCD and even depression. Prozac has a longer duration than a medication like Lexapro. And it does not typically cause fatigue and it is generally given in the morning. It may even cause a little bit of activation or increased energy.

The next is Zoloft. It is FDA approved to be given as young as age 6 for OCD and is used in older kids and adults for anxiety and depression. Zoloft has a little more stomach upset, a little more of the GI side effects than the other SSRIs.

Then we have Paxil, which we don't tend to use with children but may be used in adults. Paxil tends to cause more sleepiness. more weight gain. It's a very short duration of action and a lot of drug interaction.

And finally, Luvox, which is used primarily for OCD and has been used in children, adolescents and adults. It has a fair amount of drug-to-drug interaction and a broad dose range.

What SSRI's share in terms of side-effects are a headache, stomach upset, a little extra energy, some sleep related difficulties.

They differ based on drug interactions. For instance, Paxil and Prozac have more drug interaction. And the duration of action or half-life. For example, Paxil is a very short halflife, Prozac has a very long half-life. Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa are more intermediate in their half-lives.

SSRIs can be used and indeed have often been used along with cognitive behavioral therapy to treat the various types of anxiety (social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic disorder or OCD.

Buspar is neither a benzodiazepine, nor an SSRI. Buspar or buspirone is FDA approved for treating generalized anxiety disorder. So, for a person who tends to dwell or feel tense on edge, Buspar may be effective.

Buspar can also be added to an SSRI to potentially increase the effectiveness of the SSRI, for example with OCD, generalized anxiety, or a treatment of depression. Buspar does have a restricted but a possible role.

Summing up, the anti-anxiety type medications include SSRIs, Buspar and the benzodiazepines.