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Intuniv for Anxiety: Is It Effective?

Intuniv for Anxiety: Is It Effective?
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs. Read more

Anxiety is a common mental health issue among adults of all ages in the United States. Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on someone’s quality of life, including their physical health, relationships, and ability to function in everyday life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health [1*] , over 30% of adults in the USA have experienced any anxiety disorder at least once during their life.

To treat anxiety, mental health professionals recommend attending therapy or taking medicines. In this article, we will discuss how Intuniv medication works, how it can help those suffering from anxiety, and its potential side effects. We will also look at the research that has been done on the effectiveness of Intuniv in treating anxiety.

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A General Review of Intuniv

Intuniv is a brand name for the generic drug guanfacine, which belongs to an alpha-2A adrenergic receptor agonist class. It works by stimulating certain receptors in the brain to decrease the release of noradrenaline. This helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as feeling overwhelmed or worried.

Intuniv is a non-stimulant medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is usually prescribed to children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years old. There have not been any studies regarding the effect of prescribing Intuniv for anxiety in adults. Nonetheless, there are effective FDA-approved medications that can be prescribed for anxiety in adults, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Zoloft (sertraline)Prozac (fluoxetine)Lexapro (escitalopram), and benzodiazepines like Xanax (alprazolam), etc.

Intuniv for Anxiety

Intuniv Dosage

The recommended starting dose of Intuniv for patients with anxiety is 1 mg taken once daily (in the morning or evening). This dose may be increased up to 7 mg if necessary, and it is the maximum recommended daily dose. Also, patients should not crush the tablets.

Since Intuniv is not a stimulant, it can have a slower onset of action and may take up to 4-8 weeks to reach its full effect. It should be taken as prescribed by your doctor, and if you decide to stop taking Intuniv, consult with your doctor first to know how to do it right and get another medication prescribed if needed.

Intuniv Side Effects

Intuniv is generally considered to be very safe, with few side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Increase in appetite
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain

In most cases, these side effects may resolve on their own over time.

Additionally, Intuniv can also cause more serious side effects. Your doctor needs to know immediately if you get any of these:

  • Hypotension
  • Fainting
  • Unusually slow heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Skin rash or face swelling

Recommendations and Warnings

If you use Intuniv, your healthcare provider should monitor your heart rate and make sure your blood pressure is not too low. Intuniv can also interact with other medications, so let your doctor know about any other meds or supplements that are being taken. Intuniv should also not be taken with alcohol, as it can increase the risk of side effects.

Guanfacine for anxiety may cause a decrease in concentration, mental clarity, and reaction time. Abstain from dangerous activities like driving or using machinery until the body gets used to the medication. If these symptoms persist after a few days, it is best to contact your doctor.

If you’ve been taking Intuniv for some time, abruptly ceasing its use may result in a “rebound” effect, leading to high blood pressure. Other withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, accelerated heart rate, nausea, chest tightness, or feelings of nervousness or unease. To avoid such issues, try to never miss a dose and do not stop taking Intuniv without first consulting with your MD. They can assist you in safely and gradually discontinuing the medication.

Finally, guanfacine may elevate the risk of abnormal heart rate. If you’re using drugs to manage your heartbeat, discuss it with your doctor since they may have to alter the dosage of your meds or give you an alternate drug.

Intuniv is not a cure for anxiety, but it can help to reduce symptoms and improve overall functioning. Note that Intuniv is not intended to replace therapy or other treatments for anxiety.

Intuniv for Anxiety

Bottom Line: How to Treat Anxiety?

Overall, it is recommended to use Intuniv for ADHD treatment. However, it is also a safe and effective medication for treating anxiety [2*]  in children and teenagers, but not in adults. The FDA-approved medications for anxiety in adults are Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Xanax (alprazolam), Lexapro (escitalopram), and others.

If you want to get hold of your anxiety symptoms, consult a certified medical healthcare specialist at MEDvidi. During an online visit, they will screen your condition and assess your symptoms. Your doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan and prescribe the best drugs right for you.

Get your symptoms evaluated by a professional and relieve your condition with individually chosen medications


2 sources
  1. Any Anxiety Disorder
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  2. Extended Release Guanfacine in Pediatric Anxiety Disorders: A Pilot, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. (2017)
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.