Behavioral health conditions

Use of medications to manage anxiety PRINT BACK

The medication your provider prescribes depends on a variety of factors including your symptoms and their severity, how you responded to particular treatments in the past, and your personal preference. Your treating practitioner will review treatment options with you and determine a treatment plan that can best address your personal needs.

Before starting medications

When meeting with your doctor to discuss potential use of medications to treat your anxiety, remember to tell your doctor about:

  • Any allergies you have to medications
  • All medications you are currently taking
  • Which medication(s) worked for you in the past
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

This information is important when your doctor is making decisions about which anxiety medication to prescribe.

Questions to ask

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about the medication(s) used to treat your anxiety. Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • How does the medication work? What is its potential benefit?
  • Is there a generic or formulary equivalent? (Your health plan can give you a formulary list that includes covered medications and costs.)
  • How and when do I take the medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • What are the potential side effects?
  • How long will I have to take the medication, and how will I stop taking it?

Cautions needed when taking medications

  • Medications are most effective when taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you find yourself needing more and more medication to achieve the same effect, talk to your doctor immediately.
  • Do not stop taking your medications without talking with your doctor first. If you and your doctor decide to discontinue your medication, your doctor may recommend a gradual reduction rather than abrupt termination. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to avoid discomfort.

Tips for making the best use of medications

  • Check with your doctor frequently during the first three months of treatment to address side effects, monitor progress and ask any questions you may have. Monthly or more frequent appointments may be of benefit to you; talk to your doctor about how often he/she advises you to have an appointment.
  • If you have problems remembering to take your medication as prescribed, try taking it at the same time you engage in another daily routine activity such as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. You can also try using a seven-day pill box or writing reminder notes to yourself.
  • Keep a log that monitors which of your symptoms have improved, which have not improved, and what side effects you are experiencing. Take the log to your appointments to use when you talk with your doctor.


This article is for your information only. It is not meant to give medical advice. It should not be used to replace a visit with a provider. Magellan does not endorse other resources that may be mentioned here.