Which medications in the drug class Antianxiety Agents are used in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders?

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

Buspirone is a nonsedating antipsychotic drug unrelated to benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other sedative-hypnotics. It has been found to be comparable with benzodiazepines in reducing symptoms of anxiety in double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials and has fewer sedative or withdrawal adverse effects than benzodiazepines. Buspirone also has fewer cognitive and psychomotor adverse effects, which makes its use preferable in elderly patients. Major limitations include lack of antipanic activity and reduced anxiolytic effects in patients recently withdrawn from benzodiazepines. Also has a longer onset of action and, thus, is of fairly limited use as a sole agent in the treatment of acute anxiety in the ED.

Buspirone is a novel antianxiety agent with no other members in its class.

Buspirone (BuSpar)

5-HT1A agonist affecting serotonergic neurotransmission in CNS. Has some dopaminergic activity as well. In addition, has demonstrated anxiolytic effect but can take up to 2-3 wk for full efficacy. Also has a low abuse potential and does not mitigate panic attacks. Not useful in benzodiazepine withdrawal but has a low adverse-effect profile.

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