- What Are They
- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Buspirone vs. Xanax differences between side effects and uses
- Buspirone and Xanax (alprazolam) are medications used to treat anxiety.
- Xanax is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, while buspirone is not chemically related to benzodiazepines and works differently than other anxiolytics.
- The brand name of buspirone called BuSpar is discontinued in the U.S. Buspirone is available as a generic drug.
- Side effects of buspirone and Xanax are different.
- Side effects of buspirone include dizziness, nausea, headache, nervousness, lightheadedness, excitement, and insomnia.
- Side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, fatigue, memory problems, speech problems, constipation, and changes in weight.
- Both buspirone and Xanax may interact with itraconazole, nefazodone, and rifampin.
- Buspirone may also interact with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, trazodone, warfarin, grapefruit juice, and erythromycin.
- Xanax may also interact with ketoconazole, cimetidine, fluvoxamine, alcohol and medications that can make you sleepy (such as barbiturates and narcotics), and carbamazepine.
- Suddenly stopping Xanax after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue.
What are buspirone and Xanax?
Buspirone is used for the treatment of anxiety. Its mechanism of action is not clearly understood but may involve effects on the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
- Buspirone may work by stimulating serotonin type 1A receptors on nerves, thereby altering the chemical messages that nerves receive.
- Unlike medications for anxiety of the benzodiazepine class, buspirone does not cause sedation.
Xanax (alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and flurazepam (Dalmane).
- Xanax and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA inhibits activity in the brain. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may cause anxiety or other psychiatric disorders.
What are the side effects of buspirone and Xanax?
Buspirone side effects
The most common side effects associated with buspirone are:
Other important but less frequent side effects include
- unsteady gait,
- skin rash, and
Xanax side effects
The most common side effects of Xanax taken at lower doses are:
Other side effects include:
- Memory problems
- Speech problems
- Changes in weight
- Addiction (dependency)
Addiction is more likely to occur at high doses given over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of alprazolam after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as:
Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. Consequently, patients on alprazolam for extended periods of time should slowly taper the medication under a doctor's supervision rather than abruptly stopping the medication.
What is the dosage for buspirone vs. Xanax?
- The usual starting adult dose is 10-15 mg daily given in 2 or 3 doses. The dose may be increased by 5 mg every 2 to 4 days until an effective dose is found.
- The maximum adult dose is 60 mg daily, but most patients respond to 15-30 mg daily.
- Although food increases the amount of buspirone that is absorbed, the importance of this effect is not clear. Buspirone can be taken with or without food but preferably on a consistent basis.
- The starting dose for treating anxiety is 0.25-0.5 mg 3 to 4 times daily using immediate release tablets. The dose may be increased every 3-4 days to a maximum dose of 4 mg daily.
- The starting dose for treating panic attacks is 0.5 mg 3 times daily. Doses can be increased every 3-4 days but by no more than 1 mg daily.
- The effective dose for preventing panic attacks may be as high as 10 mg daily for some patients. The starting dose when using extended release tablets to treat panic disorder is 0.5 mg once daily and the average dose is 3-6 mg once daily.
- Alprazolam may be taken with or without food.
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What drugs interact with buspirone and Xanax?
Buspirone drug interactions
- Buspirone may interact with drugs called monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and procarbazine (Matulane) which are used in psychiatric disorders. The use of buspirone with these drugs can cause increased blood pressure. A similar reaction may occur if buspirone is combined with linezolid (Zyvox), an antibiotic that is also an MAO inhibitor. The combination of buspirone and trazodone (Desyrel), an antidepressant, may cause abnormal liver enzymes in the blood.
- The combination of buspirone and warfarin (Coumadin), a blood thinner, may accentuate the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. Patients taking buspirone should not drink grapefruit juice, since the juice (even well after a dose of buspirone is taken) can increase the amount of buspirone in the blood, possibly leading to side effects.
- Inactivation and removal of buspirone is mediated by liver enzymes. Drugs (for example, erythromycin, itraconazole [Sporanox], nefazodone [Serzone]) that inhibit these liver enzyme increase blood concentrations of buspirone, and drugs (for example, rifampin) that enhance these enzymes decrease blood concentrations of buspirone. Increased blood concentrations may increase side effects while decreased blood concentrations may reduce efficacy.
Xanax drug interactions
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), nefazodone (Serzone), cimetidine (Tagamet), and fluvoxamine (Luvox) increase concentrations in the blood of alprazolam and therefore may increase the side effects of alprazolam.
- Alprazolam interacts with alcohol and medications (for example, barbiturates, and narcotics) that suppress activity in the brain by suppressing activity more and causing sedation.
- Carbamazepine and rifampin reduce the effect of alprazolam by increasing metabolism and elimination of alprazolam in the liver.
Are buspirone and Xanax safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding?
- There are no adequate studies of buspirone in pregnant women.
- It is not known if buspirone is secreted in human breast milk. Because buspirone is secreted in the breast milk of animals, however, it should not be used by women who are nursing infants.
- Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used in pregnancy.
- Alprazolam is excreted in breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, it should not be used by women who are nursing.
Buspirone and Xanax (alprazolam) are both used to treat anxiety and depression. Xanax is a sedative in the benzodiazepine family, while buspirone is chemically different. Xanax is habit forming and sudden stoppage can cause withdrawal symptoms.
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Medications & Supplements
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- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Buspar (buspirone)
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Top Buspirone vs. Xanax Related Articles
alprazolam (Xanax)Alprazolam is a member of the benzodiazepine family, which are sedatives that cause dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks, which cause unrealistic worry and apprehension, restlessness, aches, trembling, shortness of breath, smothering sensation, palpitations, sweating, cold clammy hands, lightheadedness, flushing, exaggerated startle responses, problems concentrating, and insomnia.
It is important to be aware of the drug interactions related to alprazolam, effects on pregnancy and nursing mothers, as well as common side effects on the user.
AnxietyAnxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Ativan vs. Xanax
Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam) medications that belong to the drug class "benzodiazepines." Ativan is used to treat
- anxiety disorders,
- panic attacks,
- seizures, and
- to prevent nausea and vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy.
While Xanax is prescribed only for the treatment of
- anxiety disorders and
- panic attacks.
Both drugs may be habit forming, and can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms it is discontinued abruptly after prolonged use. Both have similar side effects. Drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that cause drowsiness and are used to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety disorders, nervousness, panic disorders, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, status epilepticus, premenstrual syndrome, and as sedation during surgery. Narcotic (opioid) analgesics are used to treat moderate to severe pain. Both benzodiazepines and narcotics (opioids) are common drugs of abuse.
Buspirone (Buspar is Discontinued brand in the US) is a medication prescribed for the treatment the short-term symptoms of anxiety, especially in people with limited or moderate generalized anxiety. Researchers do not know exactly how buspirone works (mechanism of action), but they believe it involves neurotransmitters in the brain. Busipirone not very effective in individuals with panic disorders, severe anxiety, or OCD.
DepressionDepression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
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Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) vs. buspirone (Buspar)Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) and buspirone (Buspar) are used to treat anxiety. An antihistamine with anticholinergic and sedative properties, hydroxyzine is also used to treat itching caused by allergies, to provide sedation prior to anesthesia, and to treat nausea, vomiting, and alcohol withdrawal. An azapirone anti-anxiety medication that does not cause sedation like benzodiazepines, buspirone is used to provide short-term relief of anxiety symptoms and improve symptoms of depression in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)Klonopin (clonazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are prescription drugs that belong to the drug class of benzodiazepines. Even though both of these drugs are benzodiazepines they are prescribed slightly differently. Klonopin and Xanax are both prescribed to treat anxiety disorders; however, Klonopin also is prescribed to treat certain types of seizures and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
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