Anxiety is a natural and unavoidable part of life. It is a stress response that might be useful in some circumstances. It can warn us about impending dangers and assist us in strategizing and paying more attention. (1)
However, some people suffer long bouts, which can harm their health. Anxiety disorders develop when anxiety and stress are frequent and intrusive.
There are several options available for treating anxiety disorders. Given the high prevalence of anxiety disorders, medication is a prominent therapy choice for anxiety. Prescriptions for anxiety and depression have increased significantly.
Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax, Wellbutrin, and Seroquel are commonly used for anxiety.
Buspar is one of the anti-anxiety medications that work well for many people. (2) Although it is less known, it has grown in popularity in recent years due to its fewer adverse effects than other anti-anxiety drugs. Buspar was intended to treat psychosis in the first place. However, it has been discovered to be more beneficial in treating generalized anxiety disorder. (3)
Buspar is a reasonable alternative to explore if you want to help someone with anxiety or eliminate it. Keep reading if you or a loved one is considering taking an anti-anxiety medication like Buspar to learn more about what it is used for, how it works, the possible harmful effects it might cause, and other crucial details.
What is Buspar?
Buspirone hydrochloride is a generic medication with the brand name Buspar. Buspar was created by Bristol-Myers Squibb, a well-known multinational biopharmaceutical corporation, and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1986 to treat generalized anxiety disorder. (4)
Buspar is an azapirone, which is a class of drugs. Unlike other anti-anxiety medications, Buspar does not act as a muscle relaxant. It also has no sedative properties. Buspar appears to bind to specific serotonin receptors. These cells attach to serotonin, which helps regulate and boost mood. (5)
It treats anxiety disorders and anxiety-related physical symptoms, including dread, tension, irritability, dizziness, and a racing heart. It may simplify life by helping you relax, worry less, and increase self-awareness in your daily life.
Other anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines or other sedatives, are chemically and pharmacologically distinct from Buspar because these drugs were conventionally used to treat anxiety symptoms. Still, they have numerous adverse reactions, are highly habit-forming, and can be abused. (6) The best part about Buspar is that there is no chance of becoming addicted to it, and there are no withdrawal symptoms or rebound anxiety if you quit consuming it.
Does Buspar help with depression?
The FDA has licensed Buspar for the treatment of GAD. Buspar is also being researched for its potential use in treating depression, even though it is usually taken for anxiety. Researchers examined whether Buspar could benefit those who showed some gain from SSRI or SNRI antidepressants but still required a little additional aid in these trials.
According to one research, almost one-third of persons who did not obtain enough alleviation from an SSRI antidepressant benefited from the inclusion of Buspar. (7) However, several trials have shown conflicting results, indicating that Buspar should be used off-label medication.
When is Buspar prescribed for anxiety?
Antidepressants such as SSRIs and SNRIs are the first line of treatment for GAD; because they are effective for a broad spectrum of anxiety disorders and have been thoroughly researched. (8)
Sometimes, when the prescribed dosages are ineffective, healthcare practitioners may consider increasing the SSRI or SNRI dose. Buspar can be placed on top for a more powerful impact if it does not work.
However, it is not the only method buspirone is used to alleviate anxiety; this is attributable to the fact that treatment approaches might change depending on the findings of various studies.
Like SSRIs and SNRIs, Buspar is regarded by the American Academy of Family Physicians as a first-line treatment option. (9) According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Buspar is a secondary therapeutic option for anxiety. (10)
In any instance, consult a doctor if you are considering taking anti-anxiety medication. They can assist you in deciding which alternative is the most suitable for you.
How does it work?
Buspar belongs to the azapirone class of drugs. According to the FDA prescription instructions for Buspar, the actual mechanism of action has yet to be entirely understood.
Buspar has been shown to affect chemical messengers in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. Studies have demonstrated enhanced activity at serotonin receptors in the brain. Because these receptors have a role in various neurological processes, including anxiety and depression, Buspar can help with anxiety. (11)
It affects the brain’s serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters, causing them to become more active and consequently reduce anxiety.
According to a 2008 medical report, Buspar is thought to work by binding and activating a specific type of serotonin receptor in the brain, the 5HT1A receptor. (12) Buspar is expected to exert its anti-anxiety benefits through this activity. (13)
Efficacy of Buspar
People with GAD experience excessive anxiety and concern that is difficult to regulate. This anxiety and worry might be over various things in your life, impairing your strength to deal with daily duties and causing you great distress.
Buspar has been demonstrated to be helpful in the treatment of GAD. (15) It is not usually prescribed as a first-line treatment for GAD but rather as a supplement to other medications you might already be on, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Buspar may also be recommended if you have discovered that other drugs you consume are not functioning or causing too many adverse effects.
Buspar can also benefit those not diagnosed with GAD or older people with anxiety and dementia. However, Buspar may not be a viable option for acute anxiety since it takes two weeks to notice any results. Buspar can help you relax, concentrate, and fully participate in daily life. It may also help you feel less nervous and agitated and manage symptoms such as insomnia, sweat, and a rapid heartbeat.
Buspar may also be useful for persons who suffer from performance anxiety. In some studies, Buspar has been demonstrated to lower sexual risk-taking in cocaine users (16) and women with a chronic lack of sexual desire. (17)
Dosage of Buspar for anxiety
Buspar tablets are available in 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg. To begin with, a daily dosage of 15 mg is advised. A 7.5 mg pill is usually taken twice daily, whereas a 5 mg tablet is given thrice daily. However, you must follow your provider’s directions for how much and when to take it.
Your doctor may increase your dose by 5 mg every three to four days to ensure you get optimal results. If you require a lesser amount of the drug, Buspar tablets are occasionally marked so you may split them into two or three pieces.
A dosage of 15mg to 30mg works well for most people. The maximum daily dose should be at most 60 mg. Amounts for the elderly, children and adolescents, and persons with liver or renal disorders may differ.
Buspar has a greater efficacy when taken with meals. However, you can take it with or without meals, but you must take it regularly one way or the other, and you must take your doses at the same times every day. Buspar will only function if it is taken regularly and consistently.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions and the directions on the information sheet that comes with your pills while taking your prescription. If you forget to take a dosage, take it as soon as you remember. If your next dosage is approaching, omit the missed dose and continue your usual dosing regimen.
Do not double your dose to make up for a missing one since this might lead to a Buspar overdose. Overdosing on a drug can result in a medical emergency and a negative impact on your body’s processes. In that case, see your doctor right away.
How to take Buspar?
You may take this medicine with or without meals at the amounts suggested by your doctor, but you must pick one method and stick to it so that the quantity of drug absorbed remains consistent.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink its juice while taking Buspar without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Grapefruit can make this drug more likely to cause adverse effects. Furthermore, avoid consuming alcohol while on buspirone. When the two are combined, you might feel very sedated and drowsy.
Your medical condition and therapeutic response determine dosage. When you first start taking this drug, your anxiety symptoms may get severe before they get better. It might take up to a month or more for this drug to reach full action.
How long does Buspar take to work for anxiety?
Buspar, like many anti-anxiety drugs, does not function immediately. It usually takes 2 to 4 weeks for most people to notice any benefit. When you are waiting for buspirone to take effect, make sure to inform your doctor if you need anxiety relief in the meanwhile. Depending on your situation, they may prescribe a benzodiazepine or hydroxyzine for you. These drugs are intended to provide relief from anxiety symptoms more promptly.
Xanax vs. Buspar for anxiety
The first drug that springs to mind when anxiety strikes is Xanax. Xanax belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. (18). Both Xanax and Buspar are used to treat a wide range of conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual syndrome, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, etc.
In the past, people with anxiety frequently used Xanax for relief. However, newer and safer drugs are now being recommended. As time passes and research succeeds. Both Buspar and Xanax are shown to be equally beneficial in combating anxiety symptoms; however, Buspar was reported to have less detrimental consequences and symptoms of withdrawal than Xanax. (19)
There is also no known danger of becoming physically dependent on Buspar. According to research, Buspar and Xanax work well for anxiety but have fewer side effects and a reduced risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Side effects of Buspar
After using Buspar, most people do not face any significant side effects. However, all drugs have the potential for adverse effects. The most prevalent Buspar side effects are nausea, sleepiness, nervousness, and headache. When you start taking Buspar, you may notice that your anxiety symptoms are exacerbated; however, this is usual and will pass in two weeks as your body adjusts to the drug.
If the side effects are minor, they may fade away in a matter of days or weeks. However, you should speak with your doctor if you encounter troublesome side effects while taking Buspar.
As previously stated, adverse symptoms such as dizziness or drowsiness may appear when you initially begin taking buspirone. Similarly, if the dosage increases, these adverse effects become more intense.
However, your body will acclimatize to these symptoms with time, and they will likely fade. You must understand how Buspar influences you before you drive or handle any duties that need attention. Before doing anything else that might be harmful if you are dizzy or unaware, be sure you know how you respond to this drug.
Though rare, serotonin syndrome may develop when Buspar is used alongside other antidepressants. This disorder occurs when the body’s serotonin levels are excessively high and can be deadly if left untreated. (20) If you are in this situation, you may suffer from tight muscles, a racing heart, a fever, anxiety, or disorientation.
With Buspar, withdrawal symptoms are less probable, but they can still occur. It might cause irritation, nausea, or muscular pains, and it can happen if you stop taking medicine quickly. (21) If you wish to discontinue taking Buspar, talk to your doctor to avoid this. They will work with you to gradually reduce your dosage.
Interactions of Buspar with other drugs
Be informed of potential drug interactions before starting a new prescription while on Buspar. The following are some of the most common drugs that can react with Buspar:
Buspar with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Buspirone interacts the most with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), treating depression and Parkinson’s disease. Both these drugs, when combined, can produce serotonin syndrome by drastically raising serotonin levels. (22) MAOIs should be discontinued at least 14 days before taking Buspar to avoid a possible interaction.
When taken orally, erythromycin can elevate Buspar levels in the bloodstream. When the body’s Buspar levels are high, the chances of having adverse effects increase. (23)
Buspar should not be used with opioid pain relievers since there is a higher risk of drowsiness, respiratory depression, and overdose, which can be lethal. If no other treatment options are available, the patient should be given both medications in the smallest dose and for the shortest time feasible while being continuously observed. (24)
An enzyme called CYP3A4 processes Buspar. CYP3A4 inhibitors prevent Buspar from being metabolized, resulting in an accumulation of the drug and increased adverse effects. (25)
Anti-seizure drugs such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, and phenobarbital can decrease Buspar levels in the body. As a result, its influence can be weakened.
This list does not contain all possible medication interactions but only a handful of the most prevalent ones. Before prescribing Buspar, ensure your doctor knows of any other drugs you are taking. While on Buspar, tell your doctor if you begin or stop taking any over-the-counter drugs or vitamins.
Who should not take Buspar?
Buspar is not recommended for everyone with GAD or other anxiety symptoms. You should avoid using it if you have an allergy or a known sensitivity to buspirone HCL. Your doctor will need to review your medical history before prescribing this medication.
If you have diabetes, you should avoid Buspar since it might impact your blood sugar levels.
If your liver is not functioning correctly, it will not break down Buspar as effectively as it should. This will result in an accumulation of the drug in your blood, which might result in various undesirable side effects. The same condition can also be caused if you have renal problems that prevent you from adequately excreting the medicine.
Buspar should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding a baby since there is no proof of its safety during pregnancy, and it may be released into breast milk.
Buspar shows promising results in treating anxiety. It is most typically used to boost the effectiveness of an antidepressant such as an SSRI or SNRI. Some health experts believe it is first-line therapy, while some think Buspar is a backup plan if other anti-anxiety drugs do not work.
Compared to other common anti-anxiety medicines, it has fewer adverse effects and a reduced risk of dependence. As a result, Buspar is becoming a more popular anxiety therapy alternative.
If you are considering starting Buspar for anxiety, talk to your doctor and pharmacist first to get the most out of the medicine while avoiding potential side effects and drug interactions.