BuSpar, or buspirone, typically takes about 2-4 weeks to start working to improve anxiety symptoms. Although buspirone may help after the first dose, it usually does not have maximum benefits until several weeks after starting the medication.
Learn how BuSpar works and what precautions to take with it.
What is BuSpar?
Buspirone is a medication used to treat generalized anxiety disorder or provide short-term anxiety relief in adults.
Although the brand name BuSpar has been discontinued, the drug is still available in its generic form—buspirone. Many people still use BuSpar and buspirone interchangeably to refer to this medication.
How does BuSpar work to relieve anxiety?
Buspirone belongs to the azapirone class of drugs, which includes other anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medications.
Buspirone acts on the neurotransmitters of the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine are responsible for managing anxiety. The drug increases the action of serotonin receptors. It also has a mild affinity for dopamine receptors, thereby increasing their activity.
Buspirone is never given as the first line of treatment for treating anxiety and depression; rather, it is typically given as an adjuvant to other mainstream anti-anxiety drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Who should avoid BuSpar?
People with the following conditions should avoid BuSpar:
- Allergy to buspirone
- Preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes
- Compromised liver function (liver enzymes mediate the elimination of buspirone, so it should be avoided to prevent the dangerous accumulation of the drug in the body)
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding (buspirone can be excreted in breast milk, so its use should be restricted in breastfeeding women)
What are the side effects of BuSpar?
Buspirone has a relatively low side effect profile. However, there are some side effects associated with this drug.
Common side effects of buspirone include:
- Dizziness or light-headedness (the most common side effect that disappears after a few weeks of taking the medication)
- Fatigue or weakness
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased sweating
Serious and rare side effects of buspirone include:
What precautions should you take with BuSpar?
For safe and effective use of buspirone, you should follow these instructions:
- Notify your physician about any prescription or nonprescription medications you are currently taking or planning to take during your treatment.
- Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding while taking BuSpar.
- Avoid driving a car or operating potentially dangerous machinery while taking this drug, as it may cause sedation similar to other benzodiazepines.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice while on the drug.
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