Nowadays, a wide range of medications are available in the market for treating panic attacks. These medicines are usually administered in conjunction with natural treatments and psychotherapy to yield best results. The most commonly used medicines in case of panic disorders and attacks include FDA-approved drugs, such as benzodiazepines, SSNRIs, and SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor).
Instances of medicines included under these 3 broad categories are Zolosoft (Sertraline), Venlafaxine, Ativan, Klonopin, Cymbalta, and Effexor. They can be classified according to their respective families as follows:
- Benzodiazepines: Ativan or lorazepam; Klonopin or clonazepam; Xanax or alprazolam
- SSRIs: Paxil or Paroxetine; Zolosoft or Sertraline
- SSNRIs: Cymbalta or duloxetine; Effexor (Venlafaxine)
- Beta-Blockers: Inderal or Propranolol
Initially, most of the medications that were commonly administered to alleviate or manage the signs of panic attacks belonged to the family of TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants). However, they have now been increasingly replaced by use of SSNRIs and SSRIs, which are believed to be much more compatible to patients with indications of panic disorders or attacks. While Benzodiazepines are known to offer quick relief from symptoms, generally within half an hour, SSRIs and other anti-depressant drugs like MAOIs may take several days before they start to act. Therefore, the former are used for first-line cure of panic attacks, while the latter are recommended in the treatment of panic disorder cases that are resistant.
The warning signs or indications of a panic attack or disorder can be alleviated or temporarily reduced to great extent by use of these medicines. But, the enduring consequences of panic attacks cannot be resolved completely only by using these medicines. Any medication administered must therefore be complemented with alternative, natural treatments.
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