Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
Medicines for panic disorder are used to control the symptoms of panic attacks, reduce their number and severity, and reduce the anxiety and fear linked with having another attack.
Your symptoms of panic disorder should start to improve within a few weeks after you start taking medicines. If improvement is not seen within 6 to 8 weeks, a higher dose or another medicine may be needed.
Some medicines used to treat panic attacks need to be continued for a year or longer and then may be decreased gradually over several weeks. If you have panic attacks again while medicines are being stopped, the medicines may be continued for at least a few months more. Some people may need to stay on medicines for a long time to keep symptoms under control.
Taking medicines for panic disorder during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor. You may need to keep taking medicines if your panic disorder is severe. Your doctor can help weigh the risks of treatment against the risk of harm to your pregnancy.
Medicines used most often to treat panic attacks include:
- Reference Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft.
- Reference Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Valium, or Xanax.
Medicines sometimes used to treat panic disorder include:
- Antidepressants with mixed Reference neurotransmitter Opens New Window effects, such as Effexor.
- Reference Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as Anafranil, Norpramin, or Tofranil.
- Reference Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as Marplan, Nardil, or Parnate.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry