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Panic Attack Medication

By Terje Brooks Ellingsen

Here are some drugs that can prevent or reduce panic attacks. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but examples of drugs that have worked well for this painful disease.

Tricyclic antidepressants

These drugs are used to treat severe depression or depression with anxiety. Some of these anti-depressants are also used to treat obsessional disorders and panic attacks. Side effects include a dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, postural hypotension, tachycardia, loss of sex drive, erective failure, sensitivity to sunlight, weight gain, sedaction, sweating, jitteriness, irritation, unusual energy and disturbed sleep patterns. Examples of tricyclic antidepressants are Tofranil, Sinequan, Anafranil and Effexor.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

These are a newer type of anti-depressant introduced into the US in the 1980s beginning with Prozac. They work differently to traditional antidepressants and by assisting the brain in maintaining levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin which is often found to be low in sufferers of depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety and panic disorders. Side effects include nausea, insomnia, headaches, sexual difficulties and initial agitation. Examples: Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.


Benzodiazepines have shown to be effective in reducing panic attack symptoms in many cases but not in all. It can be taken as a single dose therapy or several times a day for months or years. Side effects include drowsiness, decreased mental sharpness, slurred speech, clumsiness, less occupational efficiency, sexual side effects, low moods, irritability, agitation and increased susceptibility to the effects of alcohol. Examples of benzodiazepines are Klonopin, Valium, Serax and Librium.

Beta blockers

Beta blockers have proven to be helpful in controlling the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, particularly social anxiety and are prescribed to control rapid heartbeat, shaking, trembling and blushing. The side effects are less than other medications but can cause light-headedness, drowsiness, short-term memory loss, decrease in heart rate, insomnia, diarrhea, cold extremities, depression and nightmares. Beta Blockers include Atenolol and Propranolol.

Other drugs

Buspar is a mild tranquilizer and has been approved for use for anxiety with mild depression, social phobias and OCD. This drug has few side effects, headache, drowsiness and dizziness can occur in some cases but this usually clears within a few days of use.

About The Author

Terje Brooks Ellingsen is an internet publisher. Check out his website which offers free information for all who are interested in pharmacy and drug issues.


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