Anti-anxiety medications

For anxiety, healthcare professionals may give anti-anxiety agents or sedatives. Some common medications of this type are: alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiaxepoxidine (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), buspirone (BuSpar), and hydroxyzine (Atarax).

What do anti-anxiety medications and sedatives do?

  • These medications help reduce anxiety and calm a person down.

What should I tell the healthcare professional about the individual who will be taking these medications?

  • Tell the healthcare professional about any alcohol or medications (prescriptions, or nonprescription) that the patient is taking.
  • Tell if the individual is pregnant.
  • Tell if the individual has liver or kidney disease.

How should I give this medication and how should I store it?

  • Give these medications by mouth unless indicated on the prescription.
  • You can give these medications either with or without food unless indicated on the prescription.
  • Give these medications on time and as prescribed.
  • Store these medications at room temperature.

What side effects should I look for and when might I see them?

  • The person taking the medication may feel sleepy, dizzy, weak, or unsteady in the first 48-72 hours (2-3 days) after taking the first dose.
  • Older people are more likely to feel sleepy or unsteady.
  • Less common side effects are disorientation, depression, nausea, change in appetite, headache, sleep disturbance, agitation, or skin irritation.

Where can I find more information about Anti-anxiety Treatments and Medications?

  • Anxiety Disorders:
  • - learn more about anti-anxiety drugs.