Antianxiety Medicines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Topic Overview

Antianxiety agents (benzodiazepines) are used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. For some people, these medicines may be appropriate for occasional, short-term use to help relieve anxiety that is making the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) worse. These medicines may not be as useful for long-term use, because they may interact with other drugs and they may be habit-forming.

Here are some examples of antianxiety medicines. Your doctor may give you one that is not in this list.

  • Alprazolam (such as Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (such as Valium)
  • Lorazepam (such as Ativan)

Buspirone (such as BuSpar) is not a benzodiazepine, but it is sometimes used to treat anxiety and IBS.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on clonazepam (Klonopin) and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend 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 to a doctor.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised April 26, 2012

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