The People's Perspective on Medicine

Buspirone

Buspirone is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder.

Overview

Buspirone is an anti-anxiety agent that is unrelated to benzodiazepines or other anti-anxiety medicines. It is prescribed for the management of anxiety disorders or for short-term relief of symptoms such as jitteriness, tremor, restlessness, heart pounding, sweating, dizziness, worry, fear, rumination, distractibility, or insomnia.

Buspirone does not seem to cause tolerance or dependence. Some results may be seen after a week of treatment, but optimum benefit is seen only after three or four weeks.

Adverse Reactions

Side Effects

Side effects associated with BuSpar often may include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, headache, and nervousness.

Do not drive, operate machinery or undertake any activity that requires close attention until you are certain that BuSpar has not impaired coordination or judgment.

Other possible reactions include insomnia, dry mouth, fatigue, visual problems, weakness, digestive distress, diarrhea, constipation, lightedheadedness, confusion, anger, excitement, or depression. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Interactions

Buspirone must not be taken within two weeks of an MAO inhibitor such as phenelzine, isocarboxazid, procarbazine, tranylcypromine, transdermal selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) or the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox).

The tuberculosis drug rifampin or the herb St. John’s wort might speed elimination of buspirone from the body, which could reduce its effectiveness. Grapefruit, on the other hand, can boost blood levels and increase the risk of side effects.

Weight loss drugs such as lorcaserin or sibutramine could interact dangerously with buspirone to cause serotonin syndrome.

In general, buspirone should be taken by patients on medicines for psychiatric conditions (antidepressants, antipsychotics) only if they are followed very carefully.

Other Drugs That May Interact with Buspirone

  • amiodarone (Cordarone) for heart rhythm irregularities
  • antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), erythromycin or telithromycin (Ketek)
  • antifungal drugs such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), posaconazole (Noxafil) or voriconazole (Vfend)
  • blood pressure medicines such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilt-CD) or verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, Verelan)
  • HIV medications such as atazanavir (Reyataz), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase, Invirase) or tipranavir (Aptivus)

Check with your pharmacist and physician to make sure buspirone is safe in combination with any other medicines or herbs you take.

Taking the Medicine

BuSpar is taken three times a day. Food has some effect on the medicine, so be consistent in the way you take it.

The manufacturer suggests it is prudent not to drink alcohol while taking buspirone.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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