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What medications are available for generalized anxiety disorder?

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Prescription medications for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are last resort treatments- they are only considered when psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is not successful, or when the anxiety symptoms are severe. If your doctor is thinking you are a candidate to take a prescription medication to treat GAD, then the following medications are options: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), benzodiazepines, buspirone, and pregabalin.

However, benzodiazepines are generally not recommended in GAD, as GAD is a chronic disorder and benzodiazepines can be addictive. SSRIs and SNRIs are effective for GAD, but they have the potential for multiple side effects. Buspirone (Buspar) is solely indicated for GAD, but its effectiveness does not appear as robust as SSRIs and SNRIs. However, Buspar hardly has any side effects and is well tolerated, so it is worth looking into this option.

answered Sep 21, 2015 by drcarlo (294,080 points)
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