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Buspar® (buspirone)

Brand name:


  • Tablets: 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 30 mg

Generic name: buspirone (byoo SPYE rone)

Medication class: anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)

What is BUSPAR® and what does it treat?

Buspirone is in a class of medications called anti-anxiety medications. Buspirone is not related to other anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates or other sedative/ anxiolytic drugs. It is approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) occurs when a person experiences excessive anxiety or worry for at least six months. Other symptoms include

  • Restlessness

  • Fatigue (low energy, feeling tired all the time)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Irritability

  • Muscle tension

  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night)

What is the most important information I should know about BUSPAR®?

Alcohol may increase any drowsiness or dizziness when taken with buspirone. You should avoid the use of alcohol while taking buspirone.

It may take 3 to 4 weeks before you start to feel better. Initially you may begin to notice a decrease in irritability and worry. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your healthcare provider first. Only your healthcare provider can determine the length of buspirone therapy that is right for you.

Unlike other anti-anxiety medications, buspirone has very low abuse potential.

Are there specific concerns about BUSPAR® and pregnancy?

If you are planning on becoming pregnant, notify your healthcare provider to best manage your medications. People living with anxiety disorders who wish to become pregnant face important decisions. It is important to discuss this with your doctor and caregivers.

Regarding breastfeeding, caution is advised since it is unknown whether buspirone passes into breast milk.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking BUSPAR®?

  • Symptoms of your condition that bother you the most

  • If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself

  • Medications you have taken in the past for your condition, whether they were effective or caused any adverse effects

  • If you experience side effects from your medications, discuss them with your healthcare provider. Some side effects may pass with time, but others may require changes in the medication.

  • Any other psychiatric or medical problems you have

  • All other medications you are currently taking (including over the counter products and herbal and nutritional supplements) and any medication allergies you have

  • Other non-medication treatment you are receiving such as talk therapy or substance abuse treatment. Your provider can explain how these different treatments work with the medication.

  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding

  • If you drink alcohol or use drugs

How should I take BUSPAR®?

Buspirone should be taken twice a day with or without food.

Your healthcare provider will determine the dose that is right for you based upon your response.

Use a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication. You may also ask a family member a friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication.

What happens if I miss a dose of BUSPAR®?

If you miss a dose of buspirone, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.

What should I avoid while taking BUSPAR®?

Avoid drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs while you are taking buspirone. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase the adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication.

What happens if I overdose with BUSPAR®?

If an overdose occurs call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

A specific treatment to reverse the effects of buspirone does not exist.

What are the possible side effects of BUSPAR®?

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea, headache, or changes in dreams

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

Rare Side Effects

Changes in weight or appetite, fainting, changes in blood pressure, muscle cramps or spasms, and redness or itching of eyes

Serious Side Effects

Allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; hives; swelling of your lips, tongue or face); chest pain or an irregular heartbeat; slurred speech; confusion or blurred vision; numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, arms, or legs; depression; or uncontrollable movements of your arms, legs, tongue, or lips.

Are there any risks for taking BUSPAR® for long periods of time?

To date, there are no known problems associated with the long term use of buspirone. It is a safe and effective medication when used as directed.

What other medications may interact with BUSPAR®?

If you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, such as phenelzine (Nardil®), isocarboxazid (Marplan®), selegiline (Eldepryl®, EMSAM®) or tranylcypromine (Parnate®), within the past 2 weeks, do not take buspirone. The use of buspirone with these agents can cause a severe increase in your blood pressure.

The following medications may increase the levels and effects of buspirone:

  • Diltiazem (Cardizem®, Dilacor®, Tiazac®)

  • Verapamil (Calan®, Covera-HS®, Isoptin®, Verelan®)

  • Erythromycin (E-Mycin®, E.E.S.®, Ery-Tab®, Eryc®, others)

  • Grapefruit juice consumption can also increase the effects of buspirone

The following medications may decrease the levels and effects of buspirone:

  • Rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®, Rifampicin®, others)

How long does it take for BUSPAR® to work?

It may take 3 to 4 weeks of taking buspirone every day before you start to feel better.

Provided by the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists

(January 2013)

Related Resources

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
A new toll-free number and Web site provide help to those who lack prescription coverage or cannot afford their medications.

Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs
Some pharmaceutical companies offer medication assistance programs to low-income individuals and families. This chart includes most psychotropic medications covered by such programs, as well as contact information for the pharmaceutical companies.

Related Links

Food and Drug Administration Label Insert for Buspar

Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist #4
I have been taking my antidepressant medication for about 5 months now. I feel great. All of my symptoms seem to be gone. Is it OK for me to stop taking my medication?

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