Medicine has a wide spectrum of application and utility, in general terms. They have created tools to cover many of our needs and even improve our quality of life. A clear example is anxiolytics.

In the following article, we will delve into what anxiolytics are, what is the great variety of their existence, what they are for, contraindications and possible side effects.

What are anxiolytics?

Anxiolytics are drugs that are mainly aimed at suppressing or, failing that, reducing symptoms in different types of anxiety .

The active principle of anxiolytics are benzodiazepines, which act on parts of the Central Nervous System (CNS) enhancing the inhibitory activity of components and which, based on their function, are aimed at mitigating the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. (1)

Important: These medicines should not be consumed without precaution or responsibility, their consumption should only be under medical prescription.

Types of anxiolytics

Anxiolytics are characterized by being classified based on their nature and composition. With this, it also influences its effect and severity of response in the organism. We will mention and describe them below.


Barbiturate anxiolytics come from barbituric acid and therefore act as a sedative in the Central Nervous System. They produce a mild effect and have a field of action in the area of ​​anticonvulsants.

They also produce relaxation and drowsiness in the body , and are recognized as the first medicines to be applied as anxiolytics.

Note: They tend to cause physical and psychological dependence due to their effect, in case of excessive and unsupervised consumption.


Benzodiazepines have a broad spectrum of action, have both anxiolytic and hypnotic, muscle relaxant (relax skeletal muscle) and anticonvulsant effects and mechanisms.

This drug acts depending on the dose supplied , being a reference the low doses for action on anxiety and high doses to induce sleep.

Pharmacokinetic factors also influence , such as its absorption and penetration into the CNS and the affinity of the patient’s organism with the anxiolytic. (two)


Anxiolytics and antidepressants have an action on pain processing in the CNS and the perception threshold. They are applied for pictures of stress, anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression.

To highlight: They tend to be oriented mainly on patients who present risks of psychiatric diseases. They are highly effective in studies carried out, especially due to their long-term effect, conditioning adverse effects and variations depending on the drug used in the treatment. (3)


Neuroleptics are tranquilizers and antipsychotics , which are often applied as alternative treatments for hallucinations. They are of synthetic origin and have the ability to influence higher activities of the Central Nervous System. (4)

They work because they are antidepressants and ß adrenergic blockers, which allows the correct orientation towards the control of stress and anxiety symptoms. They have been developed over the last 40 years in the pharmaceutical industry.


Antiepileptics are drugs that are prescribed in case of epileptic symptoms . The receptors and the affinity of its components allow the sedative and antiepileptic action to produce a muscle relaxation effect, which will then influence variably depending on the dose supplied.

Important: It is also necessary to highlight that drugs are used that are not used in recurrent treatments, due to the development of tolerance and the presence of side effects at the doses that tend to become dependent. (5)


Sympatholytic substances are those that are responsible for suppressing the activity of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), which translates as the reduction of impulses and the involuntary production and release of hormones.

Note: These medications are of reduced and supervised use with an anxiolytic orientation due to the adverse effects that they usually produce.


Neurosteroids have a neuromodulatory effect, which influences by acting as an anxiolytic. They also have anticonvulsant, sedative, muscle relaxant effects. The action of neurosteroids as anxiolytics is due to a neuroactive metabolite that has this type of properties.

What are anxiolytics indicated for?

Anxiolytics have an orientation for their indication , within which several types of specific disorders fit. They will be mentioned and described below for your consideration.


The main objective of anxiolytics is to control the symptoms of anxiety symptoms , reduce their appearance and also allow the inhibition of triggers present in other indicated medical treatments.

Note: The recommended doses should always come from medical supervision to prevent unnecessary excess and the creation of a dependency or tolerance in the body.


Because the active principle of anxiolytics is the depressant action of the Central Nervous System, it is also an indicated treatment for cases of stress or nervousness.

It is important to note that drugs help reduce symptoms, but do not solve the problem, so medical treatment is essential for pictures or disorders of this type.


Most anxiolytics, due to their nature, have a relaxing and drowsy action , so in addition to this, as anxiety disorders are often accompanied by insomnia, they are complementary treatments to reduce the effects they produce on the body and try to return the rhythm of life to a normal one.

Mood disorders

They are mild tranquilizers, they are used to avoid resorting to antidepressants, so they positively influence the leveling of brain chemicals that allow us to reverse the effects of mood disorders. Reduce or at least control them.


As we have mentioned throughout the article, anxiolytics are closely related to drugs that are intended to prevent seizures , due to the nature of their composition and the effect they have on our body.

Note: That is why this type of medication can be prescribed to control these effects and allow the muscles to remain relaxed if necessary.

Contraindications of anxiolytics

Like all medicines and drugs with a high influence on our body, they have certain contraindications that must be taken into account to prevent unnecessary and avoidable adverse effects, so we will then mention and describe them if their recognition is necessary.

Component Sensitivity

Sensitivity to the components of a drug produces reactions in the body. That is why you should always consider and review their formulation and composition before consuming them.

They are the reaction to the interaction of antigen-body and is a consequence of the immune response to the drug or some substance that has been introduced into our body.

Pregnancy and lactation

Anxiolytics are drugs that should not be consumed during pregnancy or lactation, due to the influence they have on our body.

To highlight: There are studies where they determine that it is in the first three months of pregnancy where there is a greater risk, especially with genetic potential. (6)

Avoid consuming with alcoholic beverages

It happens that drinking alcoholic beverages during anxiolytic treatment increases the risk of possible accidents in the individual. The sum of both substances produces a disorienting effect, due to an intoxication that it produces in the brain.

In addition, the combination of these substances multiplies the effects on the body, so the mixture can lead to an overdose that slows down the body’s capabilities and even causes cardiac arrest.

Adverse effects of anxiolytics

Adverse effects are those unwanted effects that occur after the consumption of a drug or medication. Next, we will mention the side effects of anxiolytics to consider and take into account.


Anxiolytics are drugs that, thanks to their nature and the effect they have on the body, are prone to producing dependence on them. Even if the treatment is withdrawn unexpectedly, it produces withdrawal syndrome , nervousness and headache.


Anxiolytics produce discomfort, fatigue, reduced alertness, muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating. For that same reason, treatments should not be improvised or self-medicated.

Note: They should always be under the supervision of a medical professional.

gastrointestinal upset

There are studies that have focused on demonstrating how certain medications, such as anxiolytics, alter the intestinal flora, which influences the immune system and intervenes in the appearance of diseases that can affect different organs in our body. (7)

Cardiac and respiratory disorders

There are studies that prove how, apart from the addiction that can develop from these drugs, there are certain adverse effects in patients with the presence of cardiac and respiratory disorders. (8)

Especially due to the reduction in platelet activity and prolongation of tachycardia, arrhythmias and hypertension.

skin reactions

Skin reactions are considered one of the main problems and the most common adverse effects against medications or drugs. And there are many mechanisms that can produce or trigger these reactions, where only 10% of them have to do with allergic reactions.

behavioral disturbances

Behavioral disorders are usually the consequence of progressive intoxication by means of the drugs supplied. They are usually suppliers for depressant effects on the Nervous System, but as side effects they present unwanted alterations and a constant defensive state.

decreased libido

Due to the effects and principles that these drugs have, a response is produced that decreases libido and slows down the sexual response, which comes to mean the slowing down and even inhibition of orgasms.

menstrual irregularities

The consumption of medications such as anxiolytics, can produce an irregularity and imbalance in menstrual periods . They do not mean anything bad, they are only motivated by the action of these drugs in our body.

Key Findings

  • Anxiolytics are drugs that are aimed at reducing anxiety symptoms or their symptoms.
  • The active principle of anxiolytics is muscle relaxation and the inhibition and depression of responses of the Central Nervous System.
  • There is a wide range in the variety of anxiolytics based on the nature of their formulations. They have different strength and recommended dose depending on the indication.
  • One of the main contraindications of anxiolytics is that the patient consumes them without responsibility or medical supervision.
  • They are quite prone to create dependency and produce progressive poisoning in our body.
  • They can be oriented to reduce problems and disorders such as anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, among others.

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