The duration of treatment of GAD is uncertain. Several authors have suggested that patients be treated with the lowest effective dose and re-evaluated for medication discontinuance at 6-month intervals.
Approximately 50% of patients successfully treated with either clorazepate or Buspirone will relapse upon drug discontinuation at 6 months.
This indicates that about one-half of GAD patients can benefit from short-term treatment, while the rest require more prolonged therapy. However, patients treated with benzodiazepines have twice the recurrence of anxiety symptoms or need further antianxiety treatment than do those treated with nonbenzodiazepine medications. Some experts suggest that medications that do not produce euphoria and sedation, such as Buspirone or antidepressants, may allow the patient to make more progress in coping skills and anxiety-management behavior than with benzodiazepines.
Revision date: June 11, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD