Buspar: use, side effects, dosage, precautions


Buspar (buspirone) is an oral medication used to relieve anxiety symptoms and to treat anxiety disorders , including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) . It is classified with other anxiolytics or sedatives, but is not chemically related to benzodiazepines , sedatives, or any other anxiety medications.

Buspar is available in tablet form. It is believed to increase serotonin activity in various areas of the brain by acting as an agonist (activator) of serotonin 5-HT1A receptors.

It takes two to four weeks to see the clinical effects of Buspar. For this reason, you can count on taking this drug for about a month before you can determine if it works for you.

Buspirone is the general form of Buspar. Other brands of buspirone include Buspar Dividose and Vanspar.

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Buspirone was synthesized in 1968 and patented in 1975. It is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of GAD, as well as for the relief of short-term anxiety symptoms.

Unlike some anxiety medications, Buspar is not addictive and has low toxicity. This makes it an alternative that is considered a treatment for people with GAD who do not respond to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In addition to prescription medications, anxiety symptoms can also be managed with psychotherapy and lifestyle changes. Talk to your doctor about the plan that best suits your needs.

Use not indicated on the label

Buspar can be used off-label to treat irritability, aggression, and other symptoms in adult patients. It is also used as a medicine to treat anxiety disorders in children, although there is not enough research to confirm the dosage.

Buspar can also be prescribed as a complementary medication to be taken with SSRIs in the treatment of depression and may reduce the sexual side effects of SSRIs.

A 2012 study found that low-dose buspirone and melatonin were antidepressants when used in combination, but not antidepressants when used alone.

Before drinking

Before prescribing Buspar, your healthcare provider usually determines your anxiety disorder based on diagnostic criteria, such as the criteria used to diagnose GAD.

Buspar is generally prescribed as a second-line drug after trial SSRIs because it is not as effective. If you've been taking SSRIs to treat your anxiety and have had excruciating side effects or haven't had an adequate response, your healthcare provider may recommend Buspar.

Talk to your doctor about all the medications, supplements, and vitamins that you are currently taking. Some medications may have a lower risk of interaction, while others may have clear contraindications.

Precautions and contraindications.

The absolute contraindications to taking Buspar include:

  • Allergy or sensitivity to buspirone hydrochloride
  • Concomitant use of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)

Taking Buspar together with MAOIs can raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, thus increasing the likelihood of a stroke.

Buspar should not be used to treat withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or alcohol. If you have taken benzodiazepines before for anxiety or another condition, the effect of buspirone will be reduced.

People with impaired liver or kidney function are also advised to take Buspar with caution, as the drug is metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys.

There have been no well-controlled studies of the use of buspar in humans during pregnancy, but observational reproduction studies in rats and rabbits at 30 times the recommended dose have shown no side effects. Buspirone is recommended during pregnancy only if there are clear indications.

It is also not recommended that people who are breastfeeding take Buspar. Studies in rats show that buspirone is excreted in milk, but excretion in human milk has not yet been studied.


Buspar is available as a tablet for oral administration in doses of 5 milligrams (mg), 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, or 30 mg. The tablet is white, egg-shaped.

A 5 mg tablet is priced and can be halved at a 2.5 mg dose. A 10 mg tablet is also being evaluated and may be halved to a 5 mg dose. The 15 mg and 30 mg tablets can be cut in half or half.

The recommended starting dose of Buspar is 7.5 mg twice a day. At intervals of two to three days, the dose can be increased by an additional 5 mg as needed until an ideal response is achieved. The maximum recommended daily dose is 60 mg.

All indicated doses are indicated by the manufacturer of the drug. Check your prescription and talk to your doctor to make sure you are taking the correct dose.

How to take and store

Buspar should be taken continuously with food or continuously without food to maintain constant absorption.

During the course of treatment with Buspar, you should avoid consuming large amounts of grapefruit.

When taking Buspar, it is recommended to be careful when driving or working with mechanisms, especially at the beginning of the course of treatment. Buspar is less likely to cause sedation than other sedatives, but patients are advised to be careful about possible sedation until they know how Buspar affects them.

Symptoms of a Buspar overdose include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and an upset stomach. You should seek emergency help if you have overdosed on Buspar. Health professionals will monitor your vital signs, relieve symptoms, and may require gastric lavage.

Side effects


The most common side effect reported in the initial Buspar study was dizziness. Dizziness occurs in 12% of people taking this drug.

Additional side effects reported in these studies, which occur in 1 to 10% of people taking Buspar, include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Tinnitus
  • Chest pain
  • Congestion
  • Throat pain
  • Acne
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pains
  • Shaking
  • Soft spot
  • Central nervous system symptoms including confusion, drowsiness, headache, paraesthesia , agitation, and abnormal dreams.

The side effects of Buspar often decrease over time. Increasing the dose gradually, rather than quickly, under the direction of your healthcare provider, can also minimize potential side effects.

Severe form

The most serious and rare side effects of Buspar include akathisia and serotonin syndrome .

Akathisia is a movement disorder characterized by anxiety and a constant need to move.

Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening disease if it is not treated. It is caused by excess serotonin in the brain and includes symptoms ranging from tremors and rapid heartbeat to delirium, muscle stiffness, and sudden fluctuations in blood pressure.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of serotonin syndrome.

Warnings and interactions

Buspar interacts with many other medications. You should discuss the medications you are taking with your doctor and together make a plan based on your doctor's clinical judgment.

Medications that may interact with Buspar include:

Buspar may also interfere with the clinical metanephrine / catecholamine urinalysis. These tests are commonly used to diagnose certain types of tumors. It is recommended that you stop taking Buspar at least 48 hours before having this test performed to ensure an accurate result.

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