Avoiding the Inappropriate Use of Antipsychotic Medication in Anxiety Disorders 

February 9, 2024

Most antipsychotic medications aren’t approved for the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Because antipsychotics can have adverse effects, we encourage prescribing providers to carefully assess symptoms, risks and benefits in prescribing medications for our members with anxiety disorders.

Our Behavioral Health Clinical Practice Guidelines have evidence-based information from nationally recognized sources. These are intended to provide a framework for patient care but not substitute for clinical judgment in individual cases. Following are guidelines related to anxiety disorder:

For more information on medications in behavioral health care, see our Quick Reference on Potential Side Effects.

Closing Gaps in Our Members’ Care

People with serious mental illness who use antipsychotic medications are at increased risk of diabetes, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Regular screening for diabetes is important for detecting, monitoring and in the treatment of the disease. We track the NCQA quality measure Diabetes Screening for People With Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder Who Are Using Antipsychotic Medications. SSD tracks the number of people 18 to 64 years old with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who were dispensed an antipsychotic medication and had an annual diabetes screening.

The above material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own best medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the best course of treatment. References to other third-party sources or organizations are not a representation, warranty, or endorsement of such organization. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their member contract or member guide for more details, including benefits, limitations, and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider