May 12, 1976

The rational use of anxiolytics

The New Zealand Medical Journal
G N Bianchi


The prescribing of anxiolytics is often a hit-and-miss process. Current knowledge is examined to encourage a more rational use of such drugs. Because the common symptoms occur in a great array of illnesses, diagnosis is of first importance. For the transient situational disturbance drugs may be unnecessary or may be used merely for a day or two. If the anxiety state persists for a month or so the illness might be termed an anxiety neurosis and if there is no accompanying depression, a short course of benzodiazepine may be of value. With depression present to more than a mild degree as part of the neurosis the tricyclic antidepressant doxepin usually achieves better results than a benzodiazepine. Imipramine can be helpful for the phobic anxiety syndrome and monoamine-oxidase inhibitors can be of separate utility. If the anxiety and depression occur in the context of alcoholism, thioridazine and amitriptyline have certain advantages. There is very little place for phenothiazines or other antipsychotic agents in low doses in the therapy of anxiety except for thioridazine in the above indication.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Antipsychotic Effect
Anti-Anxiety Effect
Alcohol Abuse
Benzodiazepine [EPC]
Antipsychotic Agents
Phobia, Social

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