What medication is usually prescribed for agoraphobia?

Miriam Calleja
Author: Miriam Calleja Medical Reviewer: Tayler Hackett Last updated:

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder often triggered by an intense fear of open spaces, crowds, or enclosed spaces. People with agoraphobia may also have a fear of having a panic attack in a situation where they cannot escape or get help. As a result, agoraphobia can severely restrict a person’s ability to live a normal life. The mental health condition is treated with therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. This article will explore medication options and briefly describe possible alternative medications. [1]

Agoraphobia medication

Medication is sometimes used as a standalone treatment for agoraphobia, but is often combined with psychotherapy and relaxation techniques.

The following is a list of possible treatment options:


  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, and by increasing its levels, SSRIs can help to reduce anxiety symptoms and improve mood. However, it’s important to note that it can take several weeks to feel the full effects of SSRIs.
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) increase the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. This can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety. They can help ease the agoraphobia symptoms when SSRIs have not worked.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) work by inhibiting the reuptake of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine. This action helps to regulate mood and affect. In the case of agoraphobia, it is thought that TCAs may work by reducing the fear response. This can help to lessen the symptoms of agoraphobia and improve the quality of life.

Anti-anxiety medications or sedatives

People with agoraphobia often experience a racing heart, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Anti-anxiety medications can help to reduce these symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with agoraphobia. The most common type of anti-anxiety medication is a benzodiazepine, which increases levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Benzodiazepines can be used on an as-needed basis for situational anxiety, but they are also used in long-term treatment plans for more severe cases of agoraphobia.

Beta-blockers such as propranolol treat high blood pressure as a result of agoraphobia. They can also reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid breathing, heart palpitations and dizziness.

Pregabalin is an anti-convulsant used for neuropathic pain that has been used successfully to treat agoraphobia. It binds to GABA receptors in the brain, which helps reduce anxiety symptoms. In addition, pregabalin effectively reduces the number of panic attacks experienced by people with agoraphobia. [2] [3]

Can alternative medications treat agoraphobia?

Herbal remedies claim to offer benefits to those with agoraphobia, but these do not work for everyone. Despite being natural, they may also have contraindications, drug interactions (specifically,  St. John’s Wort), and adverse effects, so you should always consult your doctor or health care provider before taking any alternative medication.

If you are doing well on medication, you should not stop it to switch to a herbal remedy without consulting your doctor.

These remedies include:

  • Passionflower
  • Skullcap
  • Valerian
  • Lemon Balm
  • Chamomile
  • Kava kava
  • John’s Wort
  • Lavender [4]

How else can agoraphobia be treated?

Agoraphobia can also be treated with psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), relaxation, and self-help techniques. This may include exposure therapy, which gradually increases your exposure to anxiety inducing situations. Those living with agoraphobia are encouraged to join support groups where peers can motivate each other.It is also important to build a support network of friends and family that understand agoraphobia, so that you can avoid isolation and move towards recovery.

  1. Agoraphobia Disease Reference Guide. (n.d.). Drugs.Com. Retrieved 4 November 2022, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987
  2. Agoraphobia DSM-5 300.22 (F40.00)—Therapedia. (n.d.). Retrieved 4 November 2022, from https://www.theravive.com/therapedia/agoraphobia-dsm–5-300.22-(f40.00)
  3. Treatment—Agoraphobia. (2021, February 12). Nhs.Uk. https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/agoraphobia/treatment/
  4. mlblevins. (2011, October 22). Natural Remedies for Agoraphobia. Psychologenie. https://psychologenie.com/natural-remedies-for-agoraphobia
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Miriam Calleja
Author Miriam Calleja Writer

Miriam Calleja is a pharmacist with an educational background from the University of Malta and the European Medicines Agency.

Published: Jan 10th 2023, Last edited: Oct 26th 2023

Tayler Hackett
Medical Reviewer Tayler Hackett BSc, PGCert

Talyer Hackett is a medical writer and researcher with 10+ years of experience, holding B.A. in Psychology from the University of Liverpool.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Jan 9th 2023