Pharmacotherapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Sanjay J. Mathew and Ellen J. Hoffman

in Oxford Handbook of Anxiety and Related Disorders

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195307030
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Pharmacotherapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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  • Clinical Psychology



In this chapter, we review the evidence from double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials for the pharmacotherapy of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are considered first-line medications in the treatment of GAD. There is also evidence for the use of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. While benzodiazepines have the advantage of rapid onset of action, they lack antidepressant effects and may result in dependence. While there is evidence for the efficacy of the tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors in anxiety and depressive disorders, their use is limited by their less favorable side-effect profile. Other medication classes that are utilized in GAD include 5-HT1A agonists and anticonvulsants, and recent studies have investigated atypical antipsychotics as adjunctive medications in GAD.

Keywords: anticonvulsant; antidepressant; anxiety; benzodiazepine; experimental therapeutics; pharmacotherapy; serotonin reuptake inhibitor

Article.  7333 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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