The ideal properties tor an antipanic agent include the ability to provide complete recovery from panic attacks, resolution of associated anxiety and avoidance behavior, relapse prevention, good tolerability, and efficacy in comorbid conditions including depression. We compared the properties of currently available treatment options for panic attacks, including the benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), with this ideal. Experimental approaches in the development of therapeutic agents of potential use against panic disorder were also examined. It is clear that SSRIs, such as paroxetine, are an effective treatment for panic disorder, and their antidepressant activity also allows concurrent treatment of comorbid depressive disorders, for which patients with panic disorder are at high risk. However, despite the availability of effective antipanic agents, some patients do not respond to treatment.