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Ask the Experts


None of the old or new anti-depressenants worked for me for panic/social anxiety. But I was prescribed Klonopin 1mg 2x a day and [my panic/social anxiety] lifted and I am so happy. I am a little tired about 2 hrs after taking the medication, but it goes away. If GABA is supposed to work with anti depressants and Klonopin, why did it only work with klonopin? Also if sold as a supplement wouldn't GABA work for anxiety/panic alone instead of a benzo? TL

Answered by: Franklin Schneier

The story you describe is not unusual. Klonopin (generic name clonazepam) differs from old and new antidepressants in that it directly affects receptors for the neurotransmitter GABA. Antidepressants may affect GABA indirectly. Clinically, the result is that some persons with anxiety do better with "antidepressants" and some do better with a medication like Klonopin. GABA supplements might sound like a good idea, but the problem is that they get broken down in the gut and do not make it to the anxiety receptors in the brain. There is no evidence that they are helpful for anxiety.