What Buspar Is

Buspar is a brand name of buspirone, an anti-anxiety medication used for treating a range of anxiety disorders, in particular, generalized anxiety disorder. The substance is a serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist, which means that it activates this particular type of serotonin receptor, improving its uptake and re-establishing the proper chemical balance in the brain. Buspar can eliminate such symptoms as irritability, tension, fear, dizziness, pounding heartbeat, and other physical symptoms, if they are caused by underlying anxiety. It can be used for other purposes as well; however, it is not effective for treating psychosis and cannot substitute an antipsychotic drug.

Recommendations for Use, Dosage, and Overdose

Buspar is administered orally. Take the drug in the exact dose as prescribed for you; do not change the dose or duration of treatment on your own. Only your doctor may occasionally adjust your dose according to your response to treatment. Take the drug in strict accordance with your prescription.

Buspar may be taken with or without food but it is strongly advised to take it always at the same time.

Sometimes if you were prescribed a smaller dose than the pill contains, you may have to break it into smaller fractions. Usually the pill has special marks where to break it for convenience. If you have broken the pill incorrectly into uneven pieces, do not use them. Follow your doctor’s orders strictly.

When you are finishing Buspar treatment or if you are switching to it from another anti-anxiety drug, you may need to do it gradually, by slowly decreasing the dose of the medication you’ve been taking rather than stopping abruptly. Certain anti-anxiety medications tend to cause withdrawal symptoms when dropped suddenly after long-term use.

Buspirone can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell your diagnostician or physician that you are taking Buspar. You may need to temporarily stop using the drug (for about 48 hours) before the test.

If you accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost the time for your next one, skip it. Do not take two doses at a time or take extra pills to make up for the missed dose.

If you accidentally overdose the drug, seek urgent medical help. The symptoms of overdose include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and upset stomach.

Precautions and Contraindications

If you have an allergy to buspirone, unfortunately, you cannot use Buspar for treatment.

Another reason why Buspar might not be a suitable option for you is if you are taking MAO inhibitors or have taken it during the past 14 days. This is because MAO inhibitors have a dangerous drug interaction with buspirone. If you still need Buspar therapy, you might have to discontinue MAO inhibitors and wait 14 days.

To ensure that Buspar treatment is safe for you, inform your doctor about any condition that you have or have had in the past (in particular, severe liver or kidney disease), any drugs you are taking or have recently taken and other special circumstances, such as allergies, pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Generally Buspar is considered safe during pregnancy and is not expected to cause any harm to an unborn baby. However, the studies of the effect of the drug on the fetus may be insufficient, so discretion is advised. Tell your doctor in advance if you are pregnant or if you’ve become pregnant while on treatment.

The data about buspirone treatment during breastfeeding is not enough to make a valid conclusion about whether or not the drug passes into breast milk or if it may potentially cause harm to a baby. You may have to discontinue breastfeeding if you have to take buspirone. In any case, you should inform your doctor about your breastfeeding status.

Buspirone is not intended for children and is not approved for use by patients younger than 18, even though it has been used for children and adolescents in rare cases under close medical supervision. Therefore, do not give buspirone to children without doctor’s prescription.

Interactions with Other Drugs and Substances

Certain medications and substances cannot be used at the same time as they may interact and cause side effects or influence each other’s effectiveness. Buspar interacts with the following drugs:

  • MAO inhibitors (linezolid, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, rasagiline, tranylcypromine, and methylene blue injection);
  • Diazepam;
  • Amitriptyline;
  • Haloperidol;
  • Trazodone;
  • Nefazodone;
  • Diltiazem or verapamil;
  • Triazolam or flurazepam;
  • Antifungals, like itraconazole;
  • Antibiotics, like erythromycin and rifampin;
  • Antacids such as cimetidine.

Buspar can also interact with other drugs that work on the nervous system such as sleeping pills, pain killers, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, other anti-anxiety medication, anti-psychotics, and anti-epileptics.

Other drugs not listed here (both prescription and over-the-counter medicines such as vitamins and herbal products) may potentially interact with buspirone. Inform your doctor about all medications and substances you are currently using or have used recently.

Side Effects

Buspirone is comparatively well-tolerated and does not normally cause cognitive and psychomotor impairment, sedation, muscle relaxation, anticonvulsant effects or physical dependence. It also does not cause euphoria and is not a drug of abuse. The most common side effects associated with buspirone include headaches, dizziness, nausea, nervousness, and, in rare cases, paresthesia.

Get urgent medical help if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction to Buspar such as hives, shortness of breath, swelling in your face, tongue, lips, or throat.

Inform your doctor about any other disturbing side effects, especially:

  • Chest pain;
  • Dizziness, fainting;
  • Shortness of breath.

Other Buspar side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness;
  • Headache;
  • Insomnia;
  • Upset stomach, nausea;
  • Irritability, agitation.

This list of side effects is not complete; other reactions may occur. Be vigilant about your state and any bodily reactions, and inform your doctor about them at once.

Keep in Mind

Provide your doctor with full and accurate information about your medical history, any currently taken drugs, or any special circumstances such as allergies, breastfeeding, pregnancy, etc.

Do not recommend or share your medications with any other person, even if their symptoms are similar to yours.

Keep the pills away from children’s reach. Store them in a dry ventilated place away from sunlight and moisture.

Inform your doctor about the progress of treatment and any bodily response you experience. If you have any strong side effects, call your doctor immediately!