Anxiolytics (Encyclopedia of Neurological Disorders)
Anxiolytics are prescription drugs used to treat and prevent anxiety disorders. Anxiety is an emotional state in which fear dominates a person's life. Drugs that are often prescribed to manage anxiety episodes are known as benzodiazepines. Probably the best-known example of a benzodiazepine is the anxiolytic diazepam. In the United States, diazepam is sold under the brand name Valium.
All together, there are six other anxiolytics approved for use in the United States. All of these medications are similar to diazepam in their chemical structures and the way they exert their beneficial anxiolytic effects. However, these drugs differ from one another in several important ways. Some drugs work faster than others, while other drugs continue their anxiolytic effects for longer periods of time. Additionally, some anxiolytics differ from one another in the way that they are eliminated from the body, and others are involved with more drug-to-drug interactions than others. In 2002, the two most commonly prescribed anxiolytics were the drugs lorazepam, sold under the trade name of Ativan, and alprazolam, sold under the brand name of Xanax.
Diazepam and other anxiolytics reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of anxiety symptoms in individuals who have medical or psychiatric disorders...
(The entire section is 1197 words.)
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