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Antianxiety Medicines for Schizophrenia

Antianxiety medicines are often used with antipsychotic medicines to help treat people having a relapseĀ of schizophrenia. The medicines include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)

  • Diazepam (Valium)

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

These can help calm you and relieve anxiety and nervousness. In higher doses, they may make you sleepy. They can be used to shorten an episode of psychosis or agitation that comes with psychosis. In rare cases, taking an antianxiety medicine can make the symptoms of psychosis worse.

When antianxiety medicines are taken with an antipsychotic, it is important to be careful about the amount of medication you are taking.

Side effects of antianxiety medicines include fatigue, balance problems, and sleepiness. These can lead to falls and accidents. For this reason, antianxiety medicines are used with caution in older adults and people who have problems with balance and coordination.

Antianxiety medicines also can be habit-forming. Alprazolam may be more habit-forming. You need to take it several times a day. It may be best not to use this medicine unless you also have a panic disorder.

Antianxiety medicines should never be stopped suddenly. This can cause symptoms such as weakness, severe confusion, and seizures.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on clonazepam. This medicine has the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not advise that people stop using this medicine. Instead, people who take clonazepam should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take clonazepam and who are worried about this side effect should talk with a health care.

Do You Have Thoughts About Suicide?

If you or a loved one has thoughts about death or suicide, call 911 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) and press 1, or use other emergency services. Or you can chat with a trained counselor online at

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 8/19/2010
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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