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Benzodiazepines are usually taken as a tablet, capsule, or
oral solution (liquid form). But some may also be injected or taken as a rectal
Benzodiazepines are antianxiety medicines
that are used to treat
panic disorder. Alprazolam,
specifically, is effective in reducing
anxiety and nervous tension and can be helpful in
agoraphobia. Benzodiazepines are sometimes prescribed
for immediate relief of symptoms. But antidepressants are usually used for
long-term treatment of panic disorder and may be prescribed along with a
benzodiazepine to treat panic disorder.
Benzodiazepines can be used on a daily basis or taken as needed, unlike
antidepressants, which must be taken every day.
Benzodiazepines may be used to treat
panic disorder if:
Benzodiazepines are effective in
providing rapid relief of symptoms associated with panic disorder and
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a
warning on clonazepam (Klonopin) and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts.
The FDA does not recommend that people stop using this medicine. Instead,
people who take clonazepam should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take clonazepam
and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is
not available in all systems.)
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Taking medicines for panic disorder during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant,
breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor. Medicines may need to be
continued if your panic disorder is severe. Your doctor can help weigh the risks of
treatment against the risk of harm to your pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
September 7, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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