Buspirone hydrochloride tablets are an antianxiety agent which is pharmacologically and chemically unrelated to benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other sedative or anxiolytic drugs. While it is a very useful drug, talk to your local pharmacist about the risk of potential buspirone side effects before deciding if this medication is right for you.
The benzodiazepine class of drugs including Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium are highly addictive and sedative. They have much more severe side effects than buspirone, so if you have limited or moderate generalized anxiety, ask your doctor about buspirone. Buspirone also improves depression symptoms in patients with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder).
What Is Buspirone?
Buspirone is an antianxiety medication which is not a replacement for an antipsychotic medication. Tablets are easily scored for accurate dosage. To break a tablet, hold it between your index fingers and thumbs near the desired score (groove). With the tablet score facing you, apply pressure and snap the segments of the tablet apart.
- Buspirone Dosage
- Buspirone Overdose
Buspirone normally comes in 15 or 30-milligram tablets. Your pharmacist may recommend you take doses of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 mg per day. Psychologists usually start adults off at 10 to 15 mg per day in two or three doses. If this is ineffective, the dosage will be increased by five milligrams every two to four days until an effective dose is found.
If you forget a dose of buspirone, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is close to the time of your next dose, consult your local pharmacist or psychiatrist. If you or a loved one experience signs of an overdose such as unconsciousness or difficulty breathing, call 911.
Tell your pharmacist or doctor if you are allergic to buspirone or have any other allergies. You may be allergic to inactive ingredients in this medication. Your pharmacist will have more details. Do not use this medication if you have certain medical conditions.
This medication may make you drowsy or dizzy. Let your doctor know before taking this medication if you are taking anything which could compound these side effects such as alcohol or marijuana. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery or engage in any other tasks which require full alertness until you know how this medication will affect you.
Consult your doctor before breastfeeding while on this medication. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk in humans. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant and only use it when necessary. She can inform you of the risks and benefits of such a choice.
Besides buspirone side effects, you need to take care to avoid complications. Taking buspirone hydrochloride tablets at the same time as an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) may pose a hazard to the extent of fatality.
Before taking buspirone hydrochloride, tell your pharmacist or doctor of all prescription and nonprescription or herbal products you are using. Particularly, warn your pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. Do not start buspirone within two weeks of ending your treatment of these medications. Antidepressants include SSRIS such as fluoxetine and tricyclic antidepressants such as trazodone and amitriptyline or nortriptyline.
Azole antifungals affect certain liver enzymes which slow down the removal of buspirone in your body, increasing your risk of an overdose. These include itraconazole and ketoconazole. Drugs which affect certain liver enzymes speeding up the removal of buspirone from your body reduce the medication's effectiveness. These include rifamycins such as rifampin and rifabutin, corticosteroids such as dexamethasone and some anticonvulsants like phenytoin and phenobarbital.
Opioid cough or pain relievers such as hydrocodone and codeine, alcohol, marijuana, and insomnia or anti-anxiety medications such as zolpidem, lorazepam, and alprazolam may cause drowsiness when taken with buspirone. Other medications which increase the risk of drowsiness include muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine and carisoprodol and first-generation antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and cetirizine.
Let all laboratory personnel know you are taking buspirone. It may interfere with certain laboratory or medical tests including the brain scan for Parkinson's disease and may lead to false test results.
There are many good side effects of taking buspirone. It makes you relax, worry less, think more clearly and actively take part in life. It helps you feel less irritable and jittery and controls symptoms such as excessive sweating, insomnia, and a pounding heartbeat. It affects neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin to normalize your emotions.
As with any medication, there are negative side effects you risk experiencing when taking buspirone. There are common, uncommon and rare side effects.
Negative Buspirone Side Effects
Common buspirone side effects include:
- A headache
Less common but still significant buspirone side effects include:
- Unsteady gait
- Extreme excitement
- Skin rash
Rare, serious side effects of buspirone include:
- Inability to urinate
- Chest pain
- Extrapyramidal reaction
- Fast heartbeat
- Giant hives
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling and numbness
- Parkinson symptoms
- Throat pain
Rare, less serious side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Unfocused thoughts
- Chronic insomnia
- Dry mouth
- Throbbing or pounding heart
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Night terrors
- Ringing ears
- Stuffy nose
- Sudden, uncontrollable, painful muscle spasms
Buspirone is a much safer anti-anxiety medication which is not meant to replace your anti-psychotic medication. It is also not very effective for the treatment of OCD, panic disorders or severe anxiety. It is much safer than benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium as it is neither addictive nor sedative.
If you would like to report any side effects for research purposes to the FDA, call 1-800-FDA-1088. If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from an overdose of buspirone, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers immediately at 1-800-222-1222. Then, seek medical attention. Bringing your medication with you is helpful.
Buspirone side effects can be common, uncommon or rare, moderate or serious. Common buspirone side effects include dizziness, nausea, headache, nervousness, lightheadedness, excitement, and insomnia. Your doctor will start you on 10 to 15 milligrams of the drug per day taken two to three times per day.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant, nursing or taking any drugs which increase the risk of certain buspirone side effects. These include MAO inhibitors which can increase blood pressure and alcohol and marijuana which may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Let your doctor know of all herbal, nonprescription and prescription medications you are taking. Be sure to tell them those that cause drowsiness such as muscle relaxants, antihistamine and antidepressants and those which affect the rate at which your liver processes this medication.
If you follow all of your doctor's instructions and are completely honest about your medical history and current drug use, buspirone is a very safe, non-sedative, non-addictive short-term antianxiety medication effective for treating depression and mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder.