SSRIs vs. benzodiazepines: Which is better for treating panic? A 2003 study found that:
Despite efforts aimed at increasing the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in patients with panic disorder...only a modest increase in their use was found. Treatment patterns for psychotropic drugs appear to have remained stable over the past decade, with benzodiazepines being the most commonly used medication for panic disorder. In comparison, SSRI use throughout the follow-up period has remained low. Patients using an SSRI did not have a more favorable clinical course than those using a benzodiazepine, nor were there significantly better rates of remission in patients using SSRIs and benzodiazepines concomitantly.
This response asks whether there's anything wrong with the continued use of benzodiazepines, other than the fact that the pharmaceutical industry would prefer greater SSRI use.
And this response points out that benzodiazepines may be preferable for patients who suffer from panic only infrequently, due to lower cost and fewer potential side effects than regular SSRI use.