The Management of Panic Disorder




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The evidence for benzodiazepines in panic disorder is compelling; along with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), they are a standard treatment for panic and other anxiety disorders. However, extended-release formulations of these agents may prove to be as effective as the immediate-release formulations, and extended-release agents have clinical benefits that may make them more attractive treatments than the currently available, shorter-acting benzodiazepines. Because of their longer duration of action, extended-release benzodiazepines can protect against breakthrough anxiety and need to be taken only once or twice a day, which may improve compliance in some patients. Because the other standard treatments of panic disorder, the SSRIs, have a slow onset of action, adding an extended-release benzodiazepine to the treatment regimen for the initial 6 to 8 weeks could serve as an effective bridge until the desired SSRI effect is realized.

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(suppl 14):17-21