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Disclaimer: This is not meant to be medical advice, and always discuss with your care manager, prescriber or other doctor before making any medication changes or taking action, unless otherwise indicated. Please refer to the package insert included with your medication.

What is Buspirone (BuSpar®)? 

Buspirone is a medication that helps with anxiety. It is also used in the treatment of depression. It works by acting on serotonin in a way that is different than SSRIs. Buspirone is an excellent choice for the treatment of anxiety because it is considered a very safe medication with very few side effects. 

How does Buspirone (BuSpar®) work?

The exact relationship between Buspirone's mechanism of action and its anti-anxiety effects is a subject of continued scientific investigation. It is thought to work principally through the activation of specific serotonin receptors.

How long does it take for Buspirone (BuSpar®) to work?

Buspirone generally takes about 2 to 4 weeks to improve anxiety symptoms. If you’re not feeling a benefit by 8 weeks, your Mantra-affiliated provider will work with you to find the right dose.

How do I take Buspirone (BuSpar®)?

Buspirone is usually prescribed as a twice a day medication. You can take Buspirone with or without food. 

What if I miss a dose of Buspirone (BuSpar®)? 

If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to taking at your normal time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses. If you find yourself consistently missing your medication, let your care manager or prescriber know. 

Can I take Buspirone (BuSpar®) while drinking?

It is generally best to avoid while on Buspirone. One reason is that Buspirone can occasionally cause sedation in certain patients. Alcohol, since it is also sedating, can worsen this sedation. Additionally, excessive alcohol use can be a contributor to anxiety and depression, and may contribute to the symptoms you are trying to treat with Buspirone.

Can I take Buspirone (BuSpar®) with other medications?

You can take most medications with Buspirone, though there are certain interactions for your prescriber to be mindful of. Please always let your Mantra-affiliated provider and other doctors know all of the medications and supplements you are taking.

Important Safety Information

All medications have risks. While most of the side effects from Buspirone are either mild or very rare, you should discuss the risks and benefits of the medication. If you experience any side effects, please notify your provider immediately. If you have a serious side effect, contact your in-person health care provider immediately. If you are having an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. 

 

How should this medicine be used?

Buspirone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken twice daily and must be taken consistently, either always with food or always without food each time. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take buspirone exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of buspirone and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every 2 to 3 days. It may take several weeks before you reach a dose that works for you.

Before taking Buspirone:

  • Tell your Mantra-affiliated prescriber, doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to buspirone, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in buspirone tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue, phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take buspirone. If you stop taking buspirone, you should wait at least 14 days before you start to take an MAO inhibitor.
  • Tell your Mantra-affiliated prescriber, pharmacist, and doctor what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: Anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenobarbital, and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); dexamethasone; diazepam (Valium); diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin, others); haloperidol (Haldol); ketoconazole; itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); muscle relaxants; nefazodone (Serzone); pain medications or narcotics; rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); ritonavir (Norvir); sedatives; selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft); serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) such as desvenlafaxine (Khedezla, Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), milnacipran (Savella), and venlafaxine (Effexor); sleeping pills; tranquilizers; trazodone (Desyrel); and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with buspirone, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.

Other special precautions to follow before taking Buspirone?

  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking buspirone, call your doctor.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking buspirone.
  • You should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
  • Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug. Do not drink alcohol while taking buspirone.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Buspirone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • excitement
  • confusion
  • fatigue
  • nervousness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • feelings of anger or hostility
  • lightheadedness
  • headache
  • weakness
  • numbness
  • increased sweating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, eyes, mouth, throat, tongue, or lips
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • blurred vision
  • uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • agitation, fever, sweating, dizziness, flushing, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, seizures, hallucinations, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose:

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • blurred vision
  • upset stomach

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice while taking buspirone.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What other information should I know?

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to buspirone.
  • Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking buspirone.
  • Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
  • It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Tell your healthcare providers

Telemedicine does not replace your primary care physician. It is important to keep your primary care physician, other healthcare providers, and pharmacist informed of all medications you are taking, including those prescribed by your Mantra-affiliated provider, as they can interact with other medicines you may be taking.

Additional Resources

Medline Plus: Buspirone

FDA Access Data: Buspirone