Q. I have had anxiety attacks several times in the past 15 years. Always before I have been given Xanax and in several days I would be okay. Then I would take the pills as needed occasionally.
Last week when I went to the doctor and told him I was having anxiety attacks again, he prescribed the blood pressure pill atenolol. Have you ever known atenolol to be given for anxiety? When I tried it I developed an upset stomach and lost my appetite.
A. Atenolol has not been approved for anxiety. Such beta blockers are primarily prescribed for blood pressure and heart problems. Doctors sometimes prescribe propranolol or atenolol for the physical symptoms associated with stage fright, but these drugs are not appropriate for general anxiety (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Aug. 2006 Suppl.). Alprazolam (Xanax) is approved for anxiety and short-term use is often quite effective.