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Hyperventilation Syndrome Medication

  • Author: Brian Kern, MD; Chief Editor: Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD  more...
 
Updated: Sep 03, 2014
 

Medication Summary

Benzodiazepines are effective in reducing stress that may provoke hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) and are thought to reset the central nervous system (CNS) response to a variety of “panicogens.” Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been reported to reduce the frequency and the severity of episodes of hyperventilation.

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Anxiolytics, Benzodiazepines

Class Summary

Benzodiazepines are useful in the treatment of hyperventilation resulting from anxiety and panic attacks. By binding to specific receptor sites, these agents appear to potentiate the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and to facilitate inhibitory GABA neurotransmission and the actions of other inhibitory transmitters.

Alprazolam (Xanax, Niravam)

 

Alprazolam is indicated for treatment of anxiety and management of panic attacks.

Lorazepam (Ativan, Lorazepam Intensol)

 

Lorazepam is a sedative-hypnotic of the benzodiazepine class that has a short time to onset of effect and a relatively long half-life. By enhancing the action of GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, it may depress all levels of the CNS, including the limbic area and reticular formation.

Diazepam (Valium, Diastat)

 

Diazepam depresses all levels of the CNS (eg, limbic and reticular formation), possibly by increasing the activity of GABA. It is considered second-line therapy for seizures.

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Antidepressants, SSRIs

Class Summary

SSRIs are useful in treating hyperventilation associated with anxiety.

Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)

 

Paroxetine is the alternative drug of choice for HVS. It is a potent selective inhibitor of neuronal reuptake of serotonin and has a weak effect on neuronal reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Brian Kern, MD Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Detroit Medical Center; Clinical Assistant Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Brian Kern, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan College of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Adam J Rosh, MD Assistant Professor, Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency, Department of Emergency Medicine, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Wayne State University School of Medicine

Adam J Rosh, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, James H Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University

Ryland P Byrd, Jr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP Attending Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center

Paul Blackburn, DO, FACOEP, FACEP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, and Arizona Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Robin R Hemphill, MD, MPH Associate Professor, Director, Quality and Safety, Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine

Robin R Hemphill, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Edward J Newton, MD, FACEP, FRCPC Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Edward J Newton, MD, FACEP, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

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