NHS Dudley Health Economy Medicines Formulary
Home > 4 Central nervous system > 4.1 Hypnotics and anxiolytics > 4.1.2 Anxiolytics

4.1.2 Anxiolytics

General guidance

  • Benzodiazepine anxiolytics can be effective in alleviating definite anxiety states. Although there has been a tendency to prescribe these drugs to almost anyone with stress-related symptoms, unhappiness, or minor physical disease, their use in many situations is unjustified.
  • They are not appropriate for treating depression, phobic or obsessional states, or chronic psychosis.
  • In bereavement, psychological adjustment may be inhibited by benzodiazepines.
  • Anxiolytic treatment should be limited to the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.
  • Dependence is particularly likely in patients with a history of alcohol or drug-abuse and in those with marked personality disorders.

Please see the prescribing guidelines for Benzodiazepines in Adults

Recommended drugs



Drug Traffic Light Key:

Green – On Formulary

Amber – Restricted use, see local guidelines      

Purple – Specialist use/initiation

Red – Non Formulary


Relative Costs Key (where indicated):

£££££ - high

£££ - moderate

£ - low

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