Drugs That Treat Anxiety (Sedative and Amnesic Drugs)


Lorazepam - Used to treat seizures as initial therapy. Also useful in the ICU for sedation. Most often given as an IV form as needed. May also be given as a continuous infusion.

Midazolam - Midazolam is relatively short acting. Because of this it is a useful drug for many ICU procedures such as endoscopy or central venous catheter insertion. It has a calming effect and prevents the patient from remembering any uncomfortable moments during the procedure (amnesic effect). Midazolam is also used as a continuous intravenous infusion in the ICU for longer-term sedation.

Diazepam - Diazepam may be given as a tablet by mouth, or by intravenous or intramuscular injection. It is longer acting that midazolam.

Why is it given?

The doctor prescribes this drug to help the patient be more calm and comfortable. Ask the doctor or nurse whether or not the patient is receiving sedatives and if so, why.

How long is it used?

This drug is used only as long as the patient is anxious or uncomfortable. These drugs are commonly used on as needed basis only.

Does it have side effects?

Serious side effects are unusual. Some of these drugs lower blood pressure and the breathing rate. These are well known side effects that the doctor and nurse monitor regularly. Sometimes the sedative effect may extend for several days after the drug has been stopped.