Categorized | Panic

Panic Attack Medication

Panic attack medication will help in reducing the frequency of attacks and lessen the severity of panic attack symptoms. However, there are no over-the-counter medications for anxiety or anxiety attack. It is best to consult a doctor and wait for the prescription. Nevertheless, listed below are effective panic attack medications along with its side effects. It is said that the most used medications are antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This is a type of antidepressant that is often recommended for treating panic disorder as well as panic attacks. Not having any risky side effects make it generally safe. Side effects may occur after having the first intake or skipping a dose. Stopping the medication in a sudden will make the symptoms worse for some patients who must take it on a long-term basis. While there are those who just need to stop frequent panic attacks. For this reason, the doctor’s order is of utmost importance.


The side effects indicated below are somehow similar to panic attack symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Losing of appetite
  • Sweating


This panic attack medication increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical responsible for the mood to maintain its balance. There are certain drugs under this group, which are suitable for panic attacks. The generic names are fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline. The trusted brand names are Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, respectively.




  1. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). This is another type of antidepressant that increases the amount of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Known as the stress hormone due to its use as a response to stress, norepinephrine or also known as noradrenaline is responsible for a person’s mood and concentration. The common side effects include:
  • Nausea that may lead to vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Vision changes
  • Having a dry mouth
  • A headache accompanied by dizziness
  • May increase anxiety for awhile
  • Insomnia or occurrence of unusual dreams
  • Heart palpitations
  • Frequent sweating or increase of sweat
  • Change of appetite that leads to weight changes
  • Trembling or shaking


Like the first medication, these side effects are somehow similar to panic attack symptoms. If it worsens, seek medical attention immediately. Follow the doctor’s instructions about the medication intakes to avoid danger. The generic name of the drug under SNRI, which is appropriate for the case is venlafaxine hydrochloride and the known brand name would be Effexor XR. However, this medication is only for people who have severe cases of panic attacks, like the disorder itself.


  1. Known as tranquilizers, benzodiazepines are sedatives. It acts on the nervous system and is said to lower anxiety levels. However, making a habit to take this medication can make a person become dependent on it that could turn into an abuse. Strictly following the doctor’s prescription can prevent one from becoming addicted to this kind of drug. The side effects vary from the other panic attack medications and only appear after withdrawal or during the abuse. Some of these are:
  • Vision changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slow heart rate
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hypotension
  • Skin rashes


Alprazolam, lorazepam, diazepam, and clonazepam are the generic names of the approved drugs, which can be used for panic attacks. While the trusted brand names (in order) are Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin. These will bring relief to panic attack symptoms.

  1. Tricyclic antidepressants. Similar to SSRIs, this medication is a cyclic antidepressant that increases the amount of noradrenaline and serotonin in the brain. Although it can act as a sedation, unlike benzodiazepine, taking this is not addictive at all. The side effects listed below may slightly vary from the other medications.
  • Vision changes or having a blurred vision
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight changes (gain and loss)
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty when urinating
  • Tiredness
  • Skin rashes
  • Significant drop in blood pressure may occur in some cases

Keep in mind that higher doses will most likely increase the number of side effects. The generic and brand names of the drugs often prescribed to deal with panic attacks are imipramine (Tofranil) and clomipramine (Anafranil).

  1. This is an anticonvulsant that is most commonly used for treating epilepsy. However, it can also cure panic disorder and has the same side effects as SSRIs excluding nausea.

Medications affect an individual differently. This is why there are different kinds of medications to choose from, depending on which is best for the patient. If none of these worked for you, there are other medications for panic attacks that your doctor may suggest. Aside from drugs, an alternative treatment is undergoing psychotherapy.

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