What Are the Top 10 Medications for Anxiety?

What Are the Top 10 Medications for Anxiety

When dealing with anxiety, it’s natural to look for ways to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms.
You try various ways and means to overcome the issue you are coping with.
One common question that arises is: what are the top 10 medications for anxiety?
It is not unusual for people with anxiety to search for the right medication on their own.
In this blog, you’ll find out the best medication for anxiety.
However, it is advisable to consult with a mental health expert for a personalized treatment plan.
Join Healizm to get a better life ahead.

Drug-Induced Anxiety Symptoms

First, let’s discuss the symptoms of drug-induced anxiety.
Potential drug-induced anxiety symptoms are included as:

  • Feelings of panic.
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Depression.
  • Sweating.
  • Tremors

Suppose symptoms develop after starting a new prescription or over-the-counter drug.
It’s important to discuss it with your doctor or you can contact us.
In cases of substance withdrawal, like stopping alcohol abruptly, medical supervision is recommended, as withdrawal can be dangerous in some cases.
The key is recognizing potential drug interactions or effects so the underlying trigger can be appropriately addressed.
Consulting healthcare professionals is important for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Anti-Anxiety Drugs List: What Are The Top 10 Medications For Anxiety

According to the 2022 research, the list of the top medications to overcome anxiety is given as follows;

  1. Gabapentin
  2. Bupropion XL
  3. Trazodone hydrochloride
  4. Duloxetine hydrochloride
  5. Alprazolam
  6. Clonazepam
  7. Buspirone hydrochloride
  8. Venlafaxine hydrochloride ER
  9. Hydroxyzine hydrochloride
  10. Lamotrigine


  1. Gabapentin

Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anti-seizure medication that is sometimes prescribed off-label to help treat anxiety.
It works by interacting with calcium channels in the brain and may reduce symptoms like worry, and restlessness.
Additionally, Gabapentin can start working within a few hours and does not require an adjustment period like SSRIs. Common side effects may include;

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache

When taking Gabapentin for anxiety, it is usually started at a low dose. It is gradually increased according to a patient’s tolerance and response.

  1. Bupropion XL

Bupropion XL (Wellbutrin XL) is an atypical antidepressant that is approved to treat depression but is also sometimes used for anxiety disorders.
It works by inhibiting the reabsorption of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
Bupropion XL begins to take effect within days or weeks, unlike SSRIs, which may take 6-8 weeks.
Common side effects include;

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation/anxiety

It is taken once daily as an extended-release tablet, and dose adjustments should only be made as directed by a doctor treating the individual patient.

  1. Trazodone hydrochloride

Trazodone hydrochloride is a medication primarily used as an antidepressant but is also sometimes prescribed off-label to help treat anxiety disorders.
It works by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. Trazodone hydrochloride can begin reducing anxiety symptoms within 1-3 hours after ingestion.
Common side effects may include;

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  1. Alprazolam

To treat anxiety and sleep disorders, Alprazolam (Xanax) is a benzodiazepine medicine used for it.
It works by increasing the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, causing sedation and relaxation.
Common side effects include;

  • Sleepiness
  • Remembrance issues
  • Reduced coordination
  • Faintness
  1. Duloxetine hydrochloride

Duloxetine hydrochloride (Cymbalta) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) approved for the treatment of depression.
For anxiety, it works to prevent the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
Duloxetine hydrochloride takes effect within 1-4 weeks in most cases.
Common side effects include;

  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  1. Clonazepam

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety disorders and seizures.
It works by enhancing GABA’s calming effects in the brain.
While relief can begin in 30-60 minutes, the full anxiolytic effect arises over 1-4 weeks.
Common side effects include;

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Clonazepam carries risks when mixed with other CNS depressants and requires a prescription to be safely monitored by a physician.

  1. Hydrochloride

Buspirone hydrochloride (Buspar) is prescribed to treat anxiety symptoms.
Rather than acting directly on GABA like benzodiazepines, it works on serotonin receptors in the brain.
Similarly, relief usually occurs after 1-4 weeks of consistent use as therapeutic levels build up.
Common side effects are;

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  1. Buspirone hydrochloride

Buspirone hydrochloride is a prescription anxiolytic that is not classified as a benzodiazepine.
It works by acting as a partial agonist on serotonin receptors in the brain.
Unlike benzodiazepines, it does not bind to GABA receptors and, therefore, lacks risks of dependency.
Likewise, Buspirone takes 1-4 weeks to achieve an effective dose due to its mechanism.
It provides lasting relief of symptoms without side effects like drowsiness.

  1. Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

Hydroxyzine hydrochloride is an antihistamine used as an anxiolytic for short-term relief of anxiety.
It works by modulating activity at histamine H1 receptors in the brain.
Common side effects include;

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision

Hydroxyzine can begin relieving symptoms within 30-60 minutes.

  1. Lamotrigine

Lamotrigine is a medication primarily used to treat epilepsy and prevent seizures.
It is also occasionally prescribed off-label for generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.
Lamotrigine works by stabilizing neuronal membranes and modulating sodium channels.
Side effects may include;

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Dosage adjustments are made slowly under medical supervision to minimize the risk of rash.
Lamotrigine provides anxiolytic effects by regulating neurotransmitter release in the brain.

Types of Anti-Anxiety Medications

What are the top 10 medications for anxiety? We have mentioned the list above.
Anxiety disorders are highly widespread mental health issues in the United States, impacting over 40 million people.
These conditions involve excessive levels of depression that go beyond typical short-term anxiety experienced from time to time in most people.
Furthermore, anxiety is a widespread mental health issue in the United States that affects 20% of the adult population.
Approximately one in five Americans struggle with symptoms of anxiety to some degree.

  1. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

The SSRIs are the antidepressant that doctors prescribe to reduce anxiety and sleep disorders.
According to a recent 2022 medical report, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are routinely recommended by physicians.
Some common examples include;

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

It typically takes SSRIs 2-6 weeks to begin taking effect in the treatment of anxiety as the brain and body adjust to the change in serotonin levels.
However, SSRIs are commonly administered over a 6–12-month period for managing anxiety.

  1. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs but also impact norepinephrine signalling in addition to serotonin.
In addition, by blocking the reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine, SNRIs can effectively manage anxiety symptoms for many individuals. They are thought to be a first-line drug class alongside SSRIs.
However, SNRIs may not provide as much relief for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) specifically.
Two SNRIs commonly prescribed for anxiety include

  • Duloxetine, the active component in Cymbalta
  • Venlafaxine, found in the extended-release formulation Effexor XR.

These medications modulate neurotransmission in anxiety-related brain circuits.
It increases extracellular serotonin and norepinephrine following reuptake inhibition.

  1. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Although tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can help treat depression and anxiety due to their neurotransmitter reuptake inhibiting effects, they are generally not first-line options these days.
TCAs similarly increase serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmission to SSRIs and SNRIs.
However, physicians tend to prescribe newer alternatives preferentially due to TCA’s association with more adverse side effects.
Nevertheless, certain TCA medications may provide relief for some patients.
These medicines have not responded well to other classes of antidepressants. It includes;

  • Amitriptyline under the brand name Elavil
  • Tofranil is an example of older TCA still used at times for managing anxiety.
  • Pamelor
  1. Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive compounds that target gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain to produce a calming and muscle-relaxing effect.
They can help reduce physical signs of anxiety, such as muscle tension.
Key benzodiazepines utilized to provide rapid relief from anxiety symptoms via sedation include;

  • Alprazolam, commonly sold under the brand Xanax
  • Chlordiazepoxide marketed as Librium
  • Diazepam, branded as Valium, also works to calm the mind and muscles
  • Lorazepam is available as Ativan and functions similarly to combat anxious distress.

GABA enhancement takes effect within approximately 1-2 hours of oral administration.
For acute management of situational anxiety attacks or panic episodes, these rapid-acting anxiolytic drugs can offer valuable temporary assistance while under medical guidance.


What are the top 10 medications for anxiety?
We hope you got some info on the best medication for the anxiety and depression we have listed above.
Moreover, these listed medicines are according to recent searches.
The best way is to treat the anxiety is with the help of amental health professional rather than trying to handle yourself.
To get professional guidance and ever best treatment, please visit Healizm.


What is the best anxiety medicine with the least side effects?

Buspirone is generally considered one of the best anxiety medications with relatively mild side effects.
It lacks the addictive potential and sedative actions of benzodiazepines like alprazolam.

What is the best SSRI for anxiety?

Many clinicians consider escitalopram (Lexapro) to be the most effective and best-tolerated SSRI for anxiety disorders based on its pharmacological profile.
It has fewer side effects than other SSRIs like paroxetine and sertraline.

Which medication is used to treat both generalized anxiety disorder and depression?

Sertraline (Zoloft) is commonly prescribed to treat both generalized anxiety disorder and depression as it works to modulate serotonin levels in the brain, addressing symptoms of both conditions.

Can meclizine help with anxiety?

Meclizine is primarily used as an anti-nausea medication, but some studies have shown it can also help reduce anxiety symptoms.

What anxiety medication does not cause weight gain?

Buspirone is considered one of the best options for anxiety medication that is least likely to cause weight gain.
It does not act on the same receptors in the brain as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, which are more strongly associated with weight fluctuation.

Can urgent care give anxiety medication?

Urgent care clinics can prescribe short-term anti-anxiety medications for acute episodes.
A primary care doctor or psychiatrist generally manages the long-term treatment to ensure proper monitoring and follow-up.

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