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Anti-anxiety meds. C. Matthews MSN, RN, C.N.E. Fall 2013. Anti-anxiety meds….drugs that have the ability to relieve anxiety that is severe enough to interfere in everyday activities are now referred to as:. Anxiolytics. Anxiolytics.

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anti anxiety meds

Anti-anxiety meds

C. Matthews MSN, RN, C.N.E.

Fall 2013

anxiolytics
Anti-anxiety meds….drugs that have the ability to relieve anxiety that is severe enough to interfere in everyday activities are now referred to as:Anxiolytics
anxiolytics1
Anxiolytics
  • A variety do drugs, originally used for other ailments (varied classifications) have been found to relieve anxiety.
  • Four general classes of drugs that are CNS depressants are used as anti-anxiety drugs:
    • Antidepressants
    • Benzodiazepines
    • Barbituates
    • Nonbenzodiazepine/nonbarbituate CNS depressants
    • Other
examples
Examples:
  • Antidepressants:
    • Tricyclics such as amitriptyline(Elavil)
    • MAOIs such as phenelzine (Nardil)
    • SSRIs such as escitalopram (Lexapro)
    • Atypical antidepressants such duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Benzodiazepines:
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Barbituates– these are rarely, if ever prescribed for anxiety because of high risk of dependence and dangerous withdrawal
  • Nonbenzodiazepine/nonbarbituate CNS depressants such as:
    • busparone (Buspar) or zolpidem (Ambien)
  • Other:
    • Antiseizure drug valproic acid (Depakote)
    • Beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin) or propanolol (Inderal)
    • CNS depressants like acetyl alcohol & opioids also have calming effect
how anxiolytics work
How anxiolytics work:
  • See ppp on antidepressants and sedative/hypnotics for actions
  • Beta-blockers: why anti-anxiety? Perhaps because they block the adrenergic (fight or flight) receptors.
  • Valproic acid: effects on GABA similar to benzodiazepines.
  • busparone (Buspar)? Believed to have effect on dopamine and serotonin receptors
rn s know about anxiolytics
RN’s know about Anxiolytics
  • Depakote and beta-blockers are usually only used for social anxiety. Use depends on cardiovascular status.
  • All of these drugs cause drowsiness so patients should be taught to use with caution especially while driving.
  • Mixing drugs that depress the CNS system will amplify the drowsiness and should be avoided. Patients should not drink when taking these drugs.
  • Herbals that cause drowsiness (such as valerian or chamomile) will increase sedation if taken with these drugs.
  • Most of these drugs have multiple drug-drug interactions.
  • Many are habit-forming.
  • Dizziness is common side effect – use fall precautions with elderly.
reference
Reference
  • Adams, M., Holland, N. & Urban, C. (2014). Pharmacology for nurses, a pathophysiologic approach. (4th ed.). Pearson, Boston.