Current Treatments

The current pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders is dominated by two drug classes, the BZs and the monoamine uptake inhibitors (including SSRIs, SNRIs), and, to a lesser extent, the older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). 5HT1A agonists like buspirone, beta-adrenoceptor blockers, atypical antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants are also used. The dominance of the BZs in the treatment of anxiety disorders has decreased due to concerns regarding the potential for abuse, relapse, and withdrawal symptoms once treatment has ceased. In addition, BZs produce side effects such as sedation, fatigue, decreased psychomotor performance, and cognitive impairment. Since comorbidity exists between depression and anxiety, it is not surprising that antidepressant drugs were tested for their effectiveness in anxiety disorders. Despite a slower onset of action than the BZs, SSRIs and SNRIs currently dominate the pharmacotherapy of anxiety due to their similar efficacy, safety and reduced side effect liability, lack of abuse potential, and ability to treat comorbid depression.

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