Buspirone (Buspar)

Brand Name - BuSpar

  • Type of Drug: Minor tranquilizer; antianxiety drug.
  • Prescribed for: Anxiety. Buspirone may also be prescribed for the aches, pains, fatigue, and cramps of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Buspirone (Buspar) General Information

This drug is chemically distinct from the benzodiazepines, the most widely prescribed antianxiety drugs in America, but Buspirone has a potent antianxiety effect. Although it is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term relief of anxiety, it appears that Buspirone can be safely used for longer periods of time (more than 4 weeks). The exact way that Buspirone works is not known, but it seems to lack the addiction dangers associated with other antianxiety drugs, including the benzodiazepines. It does, not severely depress the nervous system or act as an anticonvulsant or muscle relaxant, as other antianxiety drugs do. Minor improvement will be apparent after only 7 to 10 days of drug treatment, but the maximum effect does not occur until 3 to 4 weeks after starting treatment.

Buspirone (Buspar) Cautions and Warnings

Do not take Buspirone if you are allergic to it.

Buspirone should be used cautiously by people with liver or kidney disease.

Buspirone does not have any antipsychotic effect and should not be taken for symptoms of psychosis.

Although Buspirone has not shown a potential for drug abuse, you should be aware of this possibility.

Buspirone (Buspar) Possible Side Effects

  • Most common: dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, nervousness, light-headedness, and excitement.
  • Common: heart palpitations, muscle aches and pains, tremors, skin rash, sweating, and clamminess.
  • Less common: sleeplessness, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, fainting, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, dream disturbances, difficulty concentrating, euphoria (feeling “high”), anger or hostility, depression, depersonalization or disassociation, fearfulness, loss of interest, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, claustrophobia, stupor, slurred speech, intolerance to noise, and intolerance to cold temperatures.
  • Infrequent: ringing or buzzing in the ears, a “roaring” sensation in the head, sore throat, red and itchy eyes, changes in taste and smell, inner ear problems, eye pain, intolerance to bright light, dry mouth, stomach or intestinal upset or cramps, diarrhea, constipation, stomach gas, changes in appetite, excess salivation, urinary difficulty, menstrual irregularity, pelvic inflammatory disease, muscle cramps end spasms, numbness, tingling in the hands or feet, bed-wetting, poor coordination, involuntary movements, slowed reaction time, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, chest congestion, changes in sex drive, itching, facial swelling or flushing, easy bruising, hair loss, dry skin, blisters, fever, feelings of ill health, unusual bleeding or bruising, and voice loss.
  • Rare: very slow heartbeat, high blood pressure, seizures and psychotic reactions, blurred vision, stuffy nose, pressure on the dyes, thyroid abnormalities, irritable colon, bleeding from the rectum, burning of the tongue, periodic spotting, painful urination, muscle weakness, nosebleeds, delayed ejaculation and impotence (men), thinning of the nails, and hiccups.

Buspirone (Buspar) Drug Interactions

  • The combination of Buspirone with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor drugs may produce very high blood pressure and can be dangerous.
  • The effects of Buspirone together with other drugs that work in the central nervous system are not known. Do not take other tranquilizers or antianxiety or psychoactive drugs with Buspirone unless prescribed by a doctor who knows your complete medication history.
  • The combination of Buspirone and Haloperidol results in high blood levels of Haloperidol, increasing the chances of Haloperidol side effects.
  • Studies show that Buspirone is not affected by alcohol, but this combination should still be used with caution because Buspirone causes drowsiness and dizziness.
  • The combination of Buspirone and Trazodone may cause liver inflammation.

Food Interactions

Food tends to double the amount of drug absorbed into the bloodstream, although it decreases the rate at which the drug is absorbed. This drug can be taken either with or without food, but for the most consistent results, always take your dose at the same time of day in the same way (that is, with or without food).

Usual Dose

15 mg per day in 3 divided doses to start. Dosage may be increased gradually to 60 mg per day.

Buspirone (Buspar) Overdosage

Symptoms of overdose are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, pinpointed pupils, and upset stomach. To date, no deaths have been caused by Buspirone overdose. There is no specific antidote for Buspirone overdose. Go to a hospital emergency room. ALWAYS bring the medicine bottle with you.

Special Information

Buspirone can cause nervous-system depression; drowsiness, and dizziness. Be careful while driving or operating hazardous equipment. Avoid other central-nervous-system drugs and alcoholic beverages because they will enhance Buspirone’s effects.

Contact your doctor if you become restless, or develop uncontrolled or repeated movements of the head, face, or neck, or have any intolerable side effects. About 1 out of 10 people who were included in drug studies had to stop taking Buspirone because of drug side effects.

If you miss a dose of Buspirone, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dose schedule. Do not take a double dose.

Buspirone (Buspar) Special Populations

Make sure your doctor knows if you are or are planning to become pregnant, or if you will be breast-feeding while taking this medicine.
Buspirone has not been found to cause birth defects. When the drug is considered essential by your doctor, its potential benefits must be carefully weighed against its risks.
It is not known how much Buspirone passes into breast milk. Consider the chance of drug side effects on a nursing infant.

Several hundred older adults participated in drug evaluation studies without any unusual problems. However, the effect of this drug in older adults is not well known, and special problems may surface in older adults, particularly in those with kidney or liver disease.