Nursing Student
New Grad

04.01 Antianxiety Meds

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  1. Anti-anxiety meds (anxiolytics) depress CNS which increases GABA, therefore producing a relaxation effect.  
    1. Most common = Benzodiazepines

Nursing Points


  1. Benzodiazepines
    1. Reduce anxiety
    2. Anticonvulsant
    3. Sedative effect

Nursing Considerations

  1. General interventions
    1. Caution:
      1. Elderly
      2. Avoid ETOH – enhances sedative effect
      3. Glaucoma
      4. Increases fall risk
    2. Safety first – sedative effects
    3. Drug-drug Interactions
      1. Notify MD before starting OTC meds
    4. Do NOT abruptly stop
      1. Taper down over weeks
  2. Watch for signs of withdrawal and toxicity
  3. Withdrawal
    1. Irritability
    2. Sleep disturbances
    3. Tremors, usually hand
    4. Nausea, vomiting
    5. Cramping
    6. Restlessness
    7. Seizures


  1. Toxicity
    1. Antidote: Flumazenil (Romazicon) IV
    2. Symptoms:
      1. Confusion and ↓ LOC
      2. Impaired balance and motor function
      3. CNS depression
    3. Possible paradoxical (opposite) reaction:
      1. Hallucinations
      2. Aggression
    4. Can progress to coma, death

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  • Question 1 of 2

A client with bipolar disorder has been prescribed carbamazepine to control symptoms. The nurse should anticipate using which intervention to control the side effects of this drug?

  • Question 2 of 2

A client has overdosed on a benzodiazepine. The nurse has given the client flumazenil as the antidote, and begins to monitor for which type of reaction from the effects of the antidote?

Module 0 – Pharmacology Course Introduction
Module 3 – Disease Specific Medications

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