FDA-Approved Medications for Pediatric Anxiety

FDA-Approved Medications for Pediatric Anxiety – Overview

Anxiety is recognized as a significant mental health concern globally, affecting individuals of all ages, including children and adults. Everyone, from children to adults, faces this problem. This problem is increasing in kids rapidly due to the modern lifestyle.

FDA-approved pediatric anxiety medications help you understand what medications are good for your children to overcome this problem.

The Reason Behind Anxiety in Children

Children are in their developing-mind state where they study, learn new things, explore different places, and more. Anxiety in children can arise from various situations, including exams, social interactions, and public speaking, among others.

While the use of electronic gadgets is often cited, multiple factors contribute to anxiety in children, including lifestyle changes, social pressures, and environmental factors. As a result, they spend their time watching movies, playing games, and doing irrelevant things rather than going for a walk with their parents or doing some productive activities.

Parents with such kids always look for help as they don’t want their children to spoil their future themselves. Some medications available in the market can help such kids overcome this problem.

Types of Anxieties in Children

Medications for Pediatric Anxiety

Medications for Pediatric Anxiety – Types of Anxieties in Children

Most parents don’t pay attention to the changing behavior of their kids. It becomes problematic for them when they start affecting their kids’ social, educational, and other functions. If not treated, it can become a chronic disorder that remains lifelong.

There are many types of anxiety found in children. Each problem needs unique medication or treatment. Let’s check out the types of anxieties in Children first.

  • Social anxiety
  • General anxiety
  • Panic anxiety
  • Separation anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

These are the types of anxieties found in teens. Unfortunately, each type affects children’s minds differently, so their treatments are also different.

If your kids show any of these symptoms, you must start worrying about them.

#1. Some kids experience fatal accidents or incidents that they can’t forget. If they had an accident a few months ago, they would feel like exercising the same way again, so they refuse to get inside the car.

#2. Some kids think other people are looking at them, so they refuse to look up or eat anything, even if they go out to a restaurant. This is because they feel nervous looking up and staring at someone.

#3. In some cases, kids start experiencing panic attacks, so they don’t want to move out. They don’t want to go to school or the garden.

Studies have shown that over 60% of kids don’t get proper treatment for this problem. Well, the good news is it is treatable now. You can treat it with normal therapies or with medications. The FDA-approved medications for pediatric anxiety are listed below!

FDA-Approved Medications for Pediatric Anxiety

Finding the proper medication for your children to cure anxiety can be challenging. However, some medications can cure this problem. You can take any of these medications after consulting your kids’ pediatrician. However, you are advised not to take these medications without consultation.


Pediatricians commonly prescribe SSRIs to manage anxiety in children, working by affecting serotonin levels in the brain. SSRI stands for Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is the most prescribed medication by pediatrics to cure anxiety in children. SNRIs may be prescribed to children when SSRIs are not effective, affecting both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates worry, fear, and stress. After taking the prescribed medicines, this situation will not happen, and kids will start living normal lives as it regulates fear, stress, and worry.

Here’s the list of commonly prescribed medications that are part of SSRI.

  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)


SNRI stands for Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It is yet another commonly prescribed medication category to cure anxiety in kids. Similar, but also including the original part’s intent, as it is accurate but may imply a direct comparison in mechanism as the primary distinguishing feature.

  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine ER)

SNRIs are given to those children who cannot cure their anxiety with SSRIs. In addition, The choice between SSRIs and SNRIs is based on individual patient needs and responses, with consideration of potential side effects.

What Are the Most Common Side Effects Post Pediatric Anxiety Medications?

Side effects of SSRIs and SNRIs are just like any other medications. These medications have no specific side effects; however, they act differently on different people. Here are the most common side effects reported by kids on SSRIs and SNRIs.

  • Headache
  • Stomachaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss or weight gain due to impact on appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Drowsiness

Other Medications

Your physician may also prescribe other medications to treat anxiety. Some medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms of anxiety in children, including but not limited to the following. It’s critical to only use these medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional due to their effects on brain chemistry and potential side effects.


  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)


  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Abilify (aripiprazole)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)

Atypical Anxiolytics

  • Buspirone (Buspar)

Alpha Agonists

  • Catapres (clonidine)
  • Kapvay (clonidine)
  • Tenex (guanfacine)
  • Intuniv (guanfacine)


  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Atarax (hydroxyzine)
  • Vistaril (hydroxyzine)

Timing for SSRIs and SNRIs to Manage Anxiety Symptoms

As per the studies, medicines take up to 8 weeks to show their effects. Firstly, you will be prescribed medications for two weeks to reduce the effects of anxiety. The medication aims to control symptoms and prevent their escalation. After two weeks, you will be prescribed the same medicines for up to 8 weeks – 6 more weeks.

Your doctor will increase the dosage gradually to overcome anxiety without showing its side effects. Remember, one thing is that medication dosage may be different from child to child as it depends upon the age and body structure of the child.

Most doctors follow the standard method to treat anxiety- providing a mild dosage of the medicines and gradually increasing the dosage. It is recommended that kids should take these medicines for up to 1 year to overcome this problem.

The Bottom Line:

Before taking any of these medications, it is recommended to consult a physician (pediatrician) who will better understand your kid’s situation and prescribe the medicines accordingly.

The physician would first examine your kid and then ask you a few questions to study his anxiety level. Some pediatricians would prescribe medications, while others suggest you go for therapies, depending upon the situation.

While parental support and spending quality time with children are important, professional treatment may be necessary for managing anxiety effectively. In addition, parents should spend more time with their kids to help them overcome this problem faster.

See Also

FDA Approval Process

FDA Grants

Win Ratio DIAMOND Clinical Trial

Can I Take Medications Before a Fasting Blood Test

What Medications Disqualify You From Donating Blood

Current Version
November 2, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 17, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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