Buspirone is an anxiolytic medication indicated for the treatment of anxiety. Initially developed as an antipsychotic medication but found to be ineffective in treating psychosis, it functions by influencing certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which leads to a reduction in anxiety symptoms.
This medication can promote clearer thinking, relaxation, reduce worry, and enhance participation in daily activities. It may also alleviate symptoms such as jitteriness, irritability, insomnia, excessive sweating, and rapid heartbeat. This drug is designed to help manage symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.
Off-label usage of buspirone has been observed for augmenting unipolar depression. Its popularity has risen in recent years due to its favorable side effect profile compared to other anxiolytics.
Uses and Dosage
Buspirone should be administered orally, typically two or three times daily or as directed by a physician. The medication may be taken with or without food, however, take it consistently in the same manner in order to maintain consistent absorption of the drug. The tablet form of buspirone can be split to obtain the appropriate dose. Patients should refer to the manufacturer’s Patient Instruction Sheet or seek guidance from a pharmacist on proper tablet splitting techniques.
Consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice should be avoided while taking buspirone, unless otherwise instructed by a physician or pharmacist. Grapefruit has the potential to increase the likelihood of adverse effects associated with the medication.
The prescribed dosage of buspirone is determined by a patient’s medical condition and response to therapy. Regular use of the medication is essential for optimal benefit. To enhance adherence to therapy, patients should take buspirone at the same time(s) each day. During the initiation of treatment, symptoms of anxiety may temporarily worsen before improvement is observed. It may take several weeks or more to fully experience the therapeutic effects of buspirone.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- blurred vision
- unusual excitement
- clamminess or sweating
- decreased concentration
- dryness of the mouth
- muscle pain, spasms, cramps, or stiffness
- ringing in the ears
- trouble with sleeping, nightmares, or vivid dreams
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- chest pain
- fast or pounding heartbeat
- mental depression
- muscle weakness
- numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet
- skin rash or hives
- sore throat
- stiffness of the arms or legs
- uncontrolled movements of the body
Buspirone should not be utilized in conjunction with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors such as isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), selegiline (Eldepryl®), or tranylcypromine (Parnate®) as it may result in severe hypertension.
Buspirone may amplify the effects of other central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, prescription pain medications, barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics. Patients are advised to consult with their medical doctor or dentist prior to using these medications while taking buspirone.
Some individuals may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, or reduced alertness while taking buspirone. Patients should be aware of their reaction to the medication before engaging in activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery. Alcohol consumption should be avoided while taking buspirone.
Patients should not abruptly discontinue use of buspirone without first consulting their doctor. A gradual reduction in dosage may be necessary to minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Form and Strength
Buspirone is available in the following forms and strengths:
How soon do you feel the effects of BuSpar?
After you begin taking buspirone, 1 to 2 weeks may pass before you begin to feel the effects of this medicine.
Does buspirone affect sleep?
This study suggests that buspirone, in addition to being free of sedating and respiratory depressant side effects when prescribed for anxiety in humans, may be a respiratory stimulant whose effects persist in sleep.