Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication used for short-term treatment.
What is buspirone?
Buspirone is a medication used as a short-term treatment for anxiety disorders.
It should not be used as an antipsychotic.
How does buspirone work?
It is not entirely known how buspirone works to relieve anxiety, but experts believe that it decreases the amount of actions of serotonin in certain parts of the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that enables neurons to communicate with one another.
It is one of the brain’s regulators of sleep, appetite, and mood.
How is buspirone taken?
Buspirone is an oral tablet that is usually taken twice daily.
If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember, but skip the missed dose if your next scheduled dose is coming up soon.
Do not take any extra buspirone to make up for your missed dose.
How do I know if I should take buspirone?
Do you have irrational fears or worries that interfere with your everyday life?
Do you ever get hot flashes, feel dizzy, lightheaded, or out of control for no apparent reason?
Do you avoid certain situations altogether out of intense fear? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they have lasted for at least six months, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Don’t worry though, anxiety disorders are extremely common, with around 1 person out of every 13 suffering worldwide.
With the proper medication regimen in combination with therapy, you can effectively manage your anxiety disorder symptoms and live a relatively normal life.
Be sure not to confuse normal every day anxiety with an anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing a problem at work, big exam coming up, or an important decision, you are probably having a normal anxious reaction to life stressors.
Anxiety disorders, however, are chronic and usually center around irrational fears and worry.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder, to name a few.
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Symptoms of GAD usually include:
· Feelings of restlessness or on edge
· Difficulty concentrating and racing thoughts
· Muscle tension
· Trouble sleeping
· Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
· Easily fatigued
Anti-anxiety medications are commonly prescribed to people suffering from panic disorder because the calming effects help subside panic attacks. Symptoms of panic attacks include:
· Heart palpitations or accelerated heartrate
· Sweating, trembling, shaking
· Shortness of breath
· Feelings of impending doom
Phobia-related disorders are another set of anxiety disorders that are characterized by an intense fear or aversion to specific situations or objects.
This fear is usually out of proportion to the actual danger imposed by the situation or object.
Symptoms of phobia-related disorders include:
· Irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
· Intentional avoidance of feared object or situation
· Intense and immediate anxiety upon exposure to the object or situation
Specific phobias can be related to situations such as flying or heights, or related to animals such as spiders.
Some people also have phobias of receiving injections or blood.
Agoraphobia is another type of anxiety disorder where people have an intense fear of two or more of the following situations:
· Being in open or enclosed spaces
· Standing in lines
· Crowded areas
· Using public transportation
· Being outside of their home
People with agoraphobia often avoid these situations out of fear that they will not be able to escape.
Some have an intense fear that they will panic or have other embarrassing symptoms.
In severe cases, people may avoid leaving their house altogether.
If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, do NOT start taking buspirone from a non-reputable source such as a friend, consult a psychiatrist immediately.
Buspirone should be taken in combination with the right kind of psychotherapy, such as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
These therapies teach the patient active coping mechanisms to manage anxiety symptoms.
To get more insight into anxiety disorders, click here.
What are the side effects of buspirone?
Buspirone can cause the following side effects:
· Dizziness or lightheadedness
· Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, diarrhea)
· Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
· Feelings of anger or hostility
· Excessive swearing
Buspirone can also cause more serious side effects. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
· Skin problems indicating an allergic reaction such as rash, hives, or itching
· Swelling of the face, eyes, mouth, throat, tongue, or lips
· Fast or irregular heartbeat
· Blurry vision
· Shaking uncontrollably in a part of the body
· Loss of coordination or balance
Is it possible to overdose on buspirone?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on buspirone.
If you or someone you know is experiencing the following symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately:
· Collapse, loss of consciousness
· Trouble breathing
· Blurred vision
· Upset stomach
What is some important information to know before taking buspirone?
Buspirone is not approved for anyone under the age of 18. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking buspirone.
Notify your doctor if you are currently taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (brand name Marplan), linezolid (brand name Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (brand name Nardil), selegiline (brand names Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (brand name Parnate).
If you stop taking buspirone, your doctor will most likely tell you to wait at least two weeks before starting to take an MAOI.
Using buspirone with the following medications is not recommended.
If you are taking one of these medications, discuss with your doctor because your dose or usage regimen for buspirone may change.
· Methylene Blue
· Morphine Sulfate Liposome
· Sodium Oxybate
Before using buspirone, tell your doctor if you are taking any antidepressants (including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or trazadone).
Also discuss with your doctor if you are currently taking haloperidol or drugs that slow down the metabolism of buspirone by affecting certain liver enzymes (i.e., azole antifungals such as itraconazole and ketoconazole, and ritonavir, nefazodone, and diltiazem.)
The following drugs speed up the removal of buspirone from the body, so it is imperative to discuss with your doctor if you are taking any of the following: rifamycins (rifampin, rifabutin) corticosteroids, (i.e., dexamethasone) and certain anti-seizure medications such as phenytoin or phenobarbital).
Certain drugs that cause drowsiness will interact with buspirone and amplify this effect.
These include the following:
· Opioid pain or cough relievers (codeine, hydrocodone)
· Sleep or anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines such as alprazolam, lorazepam, or zolpidem)
· Muscle relaxants (carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine)
· Antihistamines (cetirizine, diphenhydramine)
Buspirone may interfere with the results of some laboratory or medical tests including brain scans for Parkinson’s disease.
Make sure your doctor knows you are currently taking buspirone before undergoing a medical test.
Discuss with your doctor any preexisting medical conditions especially kidney disease, liver disease, or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
You should not suddenly stop taking buspirone, even if you feel better.
Talk to your doctor if you would like to taper off of buspirone and he or she can gradually lower your dose and figure out a better treatment plan for you.
If you do suddenly stop taking buspirone, you may experience the following unpleasant withdrawal symptoms:
· Increased anxiety
· Burning or tingling feelings
· Muscle cramps
Excessive fatigue or weakness
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.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about buspirone:
1. Are Buspirone and Xanax the same thing?
Although buspirone and Xanax both work to treat anxiety, they are part of different classes of drugs.
How does buspirone make you feel?
Buspirone may help you feel less jittery and irritable and may help you sleep better.
Other symptoms that buspirone might help with are sweating and a pounding heartbeat.
3. How long does it take for buspirone to work?
Buspirone usually takes 1-2 weeks to have an initial effect and about 4-6 weeks to have its full clinical effect.
What is buspirone used to treat?
Buspirone is prescribed to patients with anxiety and it can relieve symptoms such as fear, tension, irritability, dizziness, and pounding heartbeat.
5. Does buspirone work immediately?
No, buspirone does not work immediately. It usually takes anywhere from 1-6 weeks to show effects.
Does buspirone make you sleepy?
Buspirone may make you feel sleepy as well as increasing your reaction time.
Do not take buspirone if you need to drive or operate machinery until you know how it affects your level of drowsiness.
7. Does buspirone make you feel weird?
Unlike Xanax, buspirone does not cause feelings of euphoria, however abuse of this medication can result in extreme sedation.
Sometimes people with anxiety will take large doses of buspirone to induce sedation.
Discuss the proper dose for you with your doctor before taking buspirone, and take it exactly as your doctor prescribes.
Want to learn more about buspirone? Try these books!
BUSPAR (buspirone): Treats Anxiety Disorders, or Short-Term Treatment of Symptoms of Anxiety, But not Anxiety or Tension caused by the Stress of Everyday Life
This book by James Lee Anderson provides information about bupropion in paperback form.
It discusses what buspirone is prescribed for, how it works, and how it should be taken.
He gives a very powerful quote: “Although your health condition may impact your everyday life, do not let it define who you are”.
Buspirone Hydrochloride; A Complete Guide
G. J. Blokdijk goes into detail on the appropriate questions you should be asking your doctor about buspirone.
Some questions include: do vitamins interact with buspirone hydrochloride medications?
Can natural products be just as effective as buspirone hydrochloride prescription medications?
What happens if I am willing to try new medications if the current buspirone hydrochloride regiment is not working?
This guide will help you formulate the right questions to ask your doctor and includes room for notes so you can jot down important information during your appointments.
In addition, if you are a healthcare provider and want to make sure you can answer every question your patient has, then this guide book is for you as well.
I am not in recovery. I am in discovery: Journaling my mental illness
Journaling is a great way to help process and keep track of your experiences and feelings while you are going the debilitating symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
This journal contains 94 daily templates to aid in your discovery process.
Questions or comments about buspirone? Post below!
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- 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 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.
- With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.
- 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.
Buspirone.Medline Plus. April 15th, 2019.
Buspirone: (Oral Route).Mayo Clinic. November 1st, 2019.
Buspirone HCl.WebMD. 2019.
Facts & Statistics: Anxiety Disorders.Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 2018.