Anxiolytic

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An anxiolytic (also antipanic or antianxiety agent[1]) is a drug used for the treatment of anxiety, and its related psychological and physical symptoms. Anxiolytics have been shown to be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Beta-receptor blockers such as propranolol and oxprenolol, although not anxiolytics, can be used to combat the somatic symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiolytics are also known as minor tranquilizers,[2] though their use and effects are by no means minor; most anxiolytic medications are extremely potent. The term is less common in modern texts, and was originally derived from a dichotomy with major tranquilizers, also known as neuroleptics or antipsychotics.

Contents

Types of anxiolytics

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are prescribed for short-term relief of severe and disabling anxiety. Benzodiazepines may also be indicated to cover the latent periods associated with the medications prescribed to treat an underlying anxiety disorder. They are used to treat a wide variety of conditions and symptoms and are usually a first choice when short-term CNS sedation is needed. Longer-term uses include treatment for severe anxiety. There is a risk of a benzodiazepine withdrawal and rebound syndrome after continuous usage for longer than two weeks, and tolerance and dependence may occur if patients stay under this treatment for longer.[3] There is also the added problem of the accumulation of drug metabolites and adverse effects.[4] Benzodiazepines include:

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