Use And Side Effects of Buspar (Buspirone)

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Anxiety disorders are characterized by fearfulness, pounding heartbeat, dry mouth, feeling edgy, restlessness, irritability and poor concentration.  However, it should be noted that this medication is not effective for day to day anxieties, eventhough it is used for anxiety disorders.

How Buspar works?

Anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by neurotransmitter problems in the brain, especially serotonin. Buspar is a partial agonist of the serotonin 5HT1A receptor. This means, it partially stimulates the 5HT1A receptor and prevents serotonin from attaching itself to the receptor. This action causes reduction in neurotransmission and change in gene expression in certain brain regions. This treats anxiety and augment anti depressant drug action in resistant depression.

What are the serious side effects that need immediate medical help?

Allergic reactions to this medication can occur rarely and they can progress into an anaphylactic reaction. Widespread hives, shortness of breath, chest tightness and pallor are common features. If present you need to get emergency medical help.

Other than that, cardiac rhythm abnormalities can occur with this medication. Symptoms of rhythm abnormalities are chest pain, faintness and irregular heartbeat.

In addition, some patients may get depressed with this medication and can commit suicide. Other than that, few patients can get lack of balance or coordination with this medication. If you got any of the above problems, make sure to call your doctor.

This medication has several dangerous interactions with a drug class called MAOIs. Examples are Aurorix, Nerusil and Nardil. So make sure to tell the doctor about your complete medical and drug history including over the counter as well as herbal medications.

What are the common but less dangerous side effects?

Most common side effects are lightheadedness, nervousness and headache. Blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, excitability, headache, nausea, and vomiting are also common side effects. See your doctor if these side effects are troublesome.

What the doctor should know before prescribing Buspar?

If you have following problems then you must discuss with your doctor before taking Buspar.

* Liver diseases

* Kidney diseases

* Epilepsy

* Acute porphyria

In addition to above conditions, the doctor must know the complete medical history, over the counter drugs, herbal medications and recreational drugs you are on.

 What the patient should know before taking Buspar?

Buspar is known to impair your concentration ability and cause drowsiness. So it is advised to be cautious when operating machinery or driving until you know how your body reacts to this drug. In addition, you should not take alcoholic beverages during therapy, because this drug is known to increase adverse effects of alcohol. Since this drug is a prescription medication, patients are advised not to share with others.

In addition, if you are having surgery/dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are on Bupar.  

  You can take Buspar without regard to meals. In addition, you should take this medication without crushing to avoid side effects with full glass of water. Also keep this medication out of reach of children. It is important to note that this drug should not be taken with MAO inhibitors.

 How Buspar in pregnancy and lactation?

Buspar is not safe in pregnancy. So your doctor will change this drug to another drug during pregnancy, because it can harm your unborn baby. In addition, the doctor also will not prescribe this medication during breast feeding, because this drug is present in breast milk.


Buspar is a medication prescribed in anxiety disorders and SSRI resistant depression. Main side effects are drowsiness and stomach upset. Buspar is not habit forming unlike benzodiazepines such as Xanax, which are also prescribed in Anxiety.  


British National Formulary

Oxford short text book of psychiatry

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