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

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Antianxiety Agents

Agents of varying durations of action are used frequently for anxiety and panic and as sleep aids (poor sleep is nearly universal in fibromyalgia). [114] Antianxiety agents are often used in combination with antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs.

Alprazolam (Xanax, Niravam)

Alprazolam binds receptors at several sites within the central nervous system (CNS), including the limbic system and reticular formation. Effects may be mediated through the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor system. It has a short half-life (< 12 h).

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Clonazepam suppresses muscle contractions by facilitating inhibitory GABA neurotransmission and other inhibitory transmitters. It has a long half-life (25-100 h).

Zolpidem (Ambien)

Zolpidem is indicated for insomnia. It is structurally dissimilar to benzodiazepines but similar in activity, with the exception of having reduced effects on skeletal muscle and seizure threshold.

Zaleplon (Sonata)

Zaleplon interacts selectively with the GABA receptor. It binds to the omega-1 receptor situated on the alpha subunit of the GABA-A receptor complex in the brain.

Trazodone (Oleptro)

Trazodone is useful as an alternative to improve sleep and to treat anxiety and panic disorders that may be associated with fibromyalgia. It is an antagonist at the 5-HT2 receptor and inhibits the reuptake of 5-HT. It also has negligible affinity for cholinergic and histaminergic receptors. In animals, trazodone selectively inhibits serotonin uptake by brain synaptosomes and potentiates behavioral changes induced by the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan.


This agent is a 5-HT1 agonist with serotonergic neurotransmission and some dopaminergic effects in the CNS. It has an anxiolytic effect but may take as long as 2-3 wk for full efficacy.

Temazepam (Restoril)

Temazepam is indicated for insomnia. It depresses all levels of the CNS (eg, limbic and reticular formation), possibly by increasing activity of GABA.

Sodium Oxybate (Xyrem)

Sodium oxybate acts as an inhibitory chemical transmitter in the brain through specific receptors for gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and GABA.

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