Buspar (A brief guide)

Here we will discuss what Buspar is, treatment benefits and side effects. 

Buspar: What is it?

Buspar (Buspirone Hydrochloride)is an anxiolytic or anti-anxiety drug that works by affecting the release of certain chemicals in your brain (normally used to treat anxiety).

It will help you feel more relaxed, think more clearly, relax, less worried and take part in everyday life activities. 

Moreover, it might help you feel less irritable and jittery, if you are having trouble sleeping, sweating excessively, and will reduce your heart rate. 

It is the preferred medication to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder and it is not chemically or pharmacologically related to other anti-anxiety meds (benzodiazepines or other sedatives)

To back the effectivity of Buspar for GAD, a study in 1993 showed improvement of anxiety symptoms for 17 patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, after using buspirone for 12 weeks.  

How to use BuSpar

This medication is usually taken by mouth 2 or 3 times a day (or as indicated by your doctor) and you may take it with or without food.

It will normally come in a tablet that can be split, if needed, to get the correct dose.

Always follow the manufacturer’s Patient Instruction Sheet or ask your pharmacist how to split the tablet to get your dose.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice (since it can increase the chances of side effects) while taking this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. 

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.

To help you remember, use it at the same time each day. 

Be aware that when you start using this medication, symptoms of anxiety may sometimes get worse before you can start seeing an improvement (it may take up to a month or more to get the full effect of this medication).

Buspar Side Effects: common and severe

Some of the most common Buspar side effects are listed below:

  • Dizziness, 
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping 

If any of the above-listed effects tend to persist or get worse, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Some of the not so common effects or rare side effects can involve:

  • Shakiness (tremors), 
  • Muscle stiffness
  •  Mask-like facial expression
  • Jerky walking movements
  • Tardive dyskinesia. 

In some cases, these conditions may become permanent.

A with the common side effects, tell your doctor right away if you develop any unusual/uncontrolled movements (especially of the face, mouth, tongue, arms, or legs). 

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs.

Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include:

  • Rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Interactions with other drugs

  • Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for severe side effects. 
  • Taking MAO inhibitors combined with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction.
  • Avoid taking MAO inhibitors as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine, while using this medication.
  • Antidepressants: SSRIs such as fluoxetine, tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline/nortriptyline and trazodone).
  • Azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), ritonavir, nefazodone, diltiazem, rifamycins (such as rifampin, rifabutin)
  • Corticosteroids (such as dexamethasone)
  • Anticonvulsants (such as phenytoin, phenobarbital).
  • Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended:
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Linezolid
  • Phenelzine
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Using this medicine with any of the following medicines on the list is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases:
  • Alfentanil
  • Almotriptan
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzhydrocodone
  • Benzphetamine
  • Bromazepam
  • Bromopride
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol
  • Cannabidiol
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Ceritinib
  • Cetirizine
  • Clorgyline
  • Clozapine
  • Cobicistat
  • Codeine
  • Conivaptan
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Dihydrocodeine
  • Dolasetron
  • Doxylamine
  • Duloxetine
  • Duvelisib
  • Escitalopram
  • Esketamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Flibanserin
  • Fosnetupitant
  • Granisetron
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Hydroxytryptophan
  • Idelalisib
  • Iproniazid
  • Ivosidenib
  • Larotrectinib
  • Lasmiditan
  • Lefamulin
  • Levomilnacipran
  • Levorphanol
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Lithium
  • Lofexidine
  • Lorcaserin
  • Lorlatinib
  • Loxapine
  • Lumacaftor
  • Meclizine
  • Meperidine
  • Metaxalone
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methylene Blue
  • Metoclopramide
  • Midazolam
  • Mirtazapine
  • Moclobemide
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Nalbuphine
  • Netupitant
  • Nialamide
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Palonosetron
  • Pargyline
  • Pentazocine
  • Periciazine
  • Procarbazine
  • Remifentanil
  • Scopolamine
  • Selegiline
  • Sertraline
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Sufentanil
  • Tapentadol
  • Toloxatone
  • Tramadol
  • Trazodone
  • Vilazodone
  • Vortioxetine
  • Ziprasidone
  • Zolpidem
  • Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk from the list of Buspar Side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. 
  • Diltiazem
  • Erythromycin
  • Fluoxetine
  • Ginkgo
  • Haloperidol
  • Itraconazole
  • Nefazodone
  • Rifampin
  • St John’s Wort
  • Verapamil

What happens if you miss a dose or Overdose?

Don’t panic, simply take the missed dose as soon as possible.

However, is you missed a dose and it is almost time to take the other one just skip the missed dose and continue as regular. 

Even though there are no known reported deaths so far due to Buspar it is important to keep track of overdose symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, and stomach upset.

How does Buspar work?

Buspirone comes from the azapirone class of medications, which actually includes several other anxiety and antipsychotic medications. 

BuSpar affects neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine.

Being a serotonin receptor agonist it increases action at serotonin receptors in your brain, which in turn helps to alleviate anxiety.

Dosage Forms & Strengths

Tablet:

  • 5mg
  • 7.5mg
  • 10mg
  • 15mg
  • 30mg

Comments from Users reviewing Buspar on Drugs.com:

Suzi QNovember 28, 2019

“Taking 15 mgs twice a day caused insomnia x 1 week, now I have broken sleep, only 2 – 3 hrs a night, with hypnic jerking that jars me out of even falling asleep. I cut down to 7.5 mg twice a day, so we will see how that works.”

WapoIts·Taken for 6 months to 1 year November 27, 2019

“It’s an excuse drug for doctor’s to write because, because the drugs that actually work are controlled substances. Buspar does very little for anxiety and, depression. I feel you are better off smoking or drinking to calm you down. Thanks to government regulations everyone has to suffer.”

November 26, 2019

“I was prescribed 5mg buspirone 3 times a day for anxiety. I understood that the medication would take up to a month to start having an effect. This is due to the need for buspirone to build up in your brain’s receptors. I had a great improvement with my overall generalized anxiety after about 3 weeks. This is not a medication that will give you a “high” effect. Sure everyone’s chemical makeup is different but this is not the reason you see so many negative reviews about buspirone. “

GirlinNM·Taken for 1 to 6 months November 21, 2019

“Horrible! Was almost working and then boom! Hyped up my anxiety and ocd, worry and panic. My doctor said to stay with it a few more weeks. Started to get depressed and very sad. Beware! It might work for some, but for the ones it doesn’t, it is a dangerous drug!”

Wapo·Taken for 6 months to 1 year November 19, 2019

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

“Taking Buspar at a dose of 10mgs 3 times a day for anxiety does very little. It’s a substitute to shut you up because your doctor’s hands are tied to right prescriptions that work. Like Xanax and Valium.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for Buspar

Is BuSpar good for anxiety?

This medication is used as an anti-anxiety treatment and it may help with the symptomatology by making you think more clearly, feel relaxed, less worried and make you feel like you can participate in everyday activities without worry.

Buspirone is an anxiolytic or anti-anxiety drug that works by affecting the release of certain chemicals in your brain

Is buspirone and Xanax the same thing?

No, Xanax is a Benzodiazepine while buspirone is not chemically related to benzodiazepines and  works in the Brain a different way.

The brand name “BuSpar” is discontinued in the U.S. but Buspirone is still available as a generic drug. Moreover, the reported side effects of buspirone and Xanax are different.

Does buspirone work immediately?

Buspirone won’t have an immediate effect on anxiety symptom relief.

In fact, it may take between 3 to 4 weeks for you to start seeing the expected results.

What is BuSpar used to treat?

BuSpar (buspirone) is used as an anti-anxiety medicine to treat anxiety disorders or symptoms of anxiety such as fear, tension, irritability, dizziness among other physical symptoms.

What are the most common side effects of BuSpar?

The most common side effects of Buspar include but are not limited to: dizziness, nausea, headache, nervousness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, feeling tired and blurred vision.

Why is this blog about Buspar important?

This blog is important because it provides detailed information on what Buspar is, how it helps to treat anxiety, common and severe side effects, recommended dosage, possible interactions with other substances and some recommendations. 

Remember always to consult with your doctor about any questions or concerns you might have regarding Buspar Side effects or related questions.

We would like to hear from you so please feel free to comment or ask any questions in the comments section below!

Recommended Reading

  1. Medication Fact Book for Psychiatric Practice, Fifth Edition
  2. Buspirone Hydrochloride; A Complete Guide
  3. B U S P A R (Buspirone): Treats Anxiety Disorders, or Short-Term treatment of Symptoms of Anxiety, but not Anxiety or Tension caused by the Stress of Everyday Life
  4. The Medication Fact Book for Psychiatric Practice
  5. Buspirone: Mechanisms and Clinical Aspects

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

References

WebMD

Drugs.com

Mayo Clinic

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