What is the role of benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety disorders?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Intravenous or oral acute sedation with benzodiazepines may be used. Alprazolam (Xanax) has been widely used for panic disorder, but it is currently discouraged because of its higher dependence potential; alprazolam has a short half-life, which makes it particularly prone to rebound anxiety and psychological dependence. Clonazepam (Klonopin) has become a favored replacement because it has a longer half-life and empirically elicits fewer withdrawal reactions upon discontinuation.

Prompt use of benzodiazepines can ease the uncomfortable anxiety associated with the attack and can provide the patient with definitive confidence that treatment can control the symptoms. This is particularly helpful for preventing subsequent visits to emergency services while longer-term therapy is helping the patient gain control.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!