CNS Drugs

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 397–414 | Cite as

Future Prospects for the Pharmacological Treatment of Anxiety

  • Sheila Handley
Review Articles Drug Therapy


Recent advances have been made in understanding the neurobiology of fear and anxiety, and elucidating the nature of the neurotransmitters involved in these processes. These findings are, at last, improving the prospect of alternatives to the benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Selective serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have a wider profile of activity than the benzodiazepines across anxiety disorders, while candidate anxiolytics are being found among serotonin antagonists and partial agonists. Future prospects include agents that act selectively at receptors for cholecystokinin, neuropeptide Y, corticotrophin releasing factor and excitatory amino acids.

Further developments are also likely to stem from studies of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)A-receptor/benzodiazepine/chloride channel complex. Benzodiazepine receptor partial agonists have been developed that have more anxio-selective profiles than those of full agonists. Ligands of the neurosteroid binding site associated with this complex may, in future, be anxiolytic drug candidates.


Adis International Limited Panic Disorder Partial Agonist Buspirone Anxiolytic Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Handley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological SciencesAston UniversityBirminghamEngland

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