People with certain anxiety disorders may be prescribed to take buspirone, an anti-anxiety medication that works to balance chemicals that are naturally present in the brain. The medication, also called buspirone hydrochloride and sold under the trade name BuSpar, offers short-term relief of physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety, such as:
- A racing or pounding heartbeat
- Trouble sleeping
Buspirone belongs to a class of medicines called azapirones, which treat the effects of anxiety disorders without having strong depressant effects on the central nervous system. They are also viewed as beneficial because they aren’t as potent as benzodiazepines, another class of medicines that are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety but come with higher addiction potential.
Still, how buspirone works to relieve anxiety symptoms isn’t fully understood, the Mayo Clinic says. It goes on to explain that, “Buspirone is thought to work by decreasing the amount and actions of a chemical known as serotonin in certain parts of the brain.”
Can Buspirone Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Drug screenings typically don’t test for buspirone. The drug is not on the list of substances that tests usually screen for, and it is not a controlled substance in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean some medical tests won’t detect it. According to Drugs.com, “This medication can cause false-positive results with certain medical tests. A false-positive test result means that a condition has been detected that isn’t actually there, as LiveScience explains.
U.S. Pharmacist lists buspirone as a central nervous system agent that can bring forth false-positive results on urine drug screenings. It reports that false readings on these kinds of tests can have consequences, including people who take a urine drug screening for an employer or prospective employer or as part of a program that monitors prescription drug use.
How Long Does Buspirone Stay in the Body?
If you or someone you know uses buspirone on prescription, there might be some concern about how long it stays in your system, particularly if you must take a drug test. Knowing the drug’s half-life, which is the amount of time it takes to reduce by half in your bloodstream, can help determine if its presence in the body will be a concern where the urine drug screening is concerned.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s report on this medication says a single-dose study that used 14C-labeled buspirone found that “29 percent to 63 percent of the dose was excreted in the urine within 24 hours, primarily as metabolites; fecal excretion accounted for 18 percent to 38 percent of the dose. The average elimination half-life of unchanged buspirone after single doses is about two to three hours.”
To prepare for the possibility of a false result showing up after taking this medication, Drugs.com says users may need to stop using the medicine for at least 48 hours before their test. “Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using buspirone,” it writes.
Be Careful With Buspirone Use
As with all drugs, practice safety when taking buspirone and alert your doctor if you are concerned about your prescribed dosage. Buspirone is an oral tablet that can be prescribed in standard dosages of 5 milligrams (mg), 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg. RxList says the maximum daily dosage should not exceed 60 mg. The drug’s addiction potential is considered low, but recreational use is not safe.
Misuse of the drug is also possible, even among those who take it under a doctor’s supervision. Using the drug in larger quantities or more frequently than prescribed and taking it for longer than directed are all considered misuse of the drug. Recreational use can lead to addiction and overdose.
This includes any use that changes the drug’s form, such as crushing it up to snort or smoke, or mixing the crushed powder with water to inject into the body intravenously. It is also dangerous to mix the drug with alcohol or other substances, which can lead to addiction, overdose, or death.
Buspirone is taken orally when used as directed, and those who use it will take it by mouth two or three times a day or as directed by a doctor. It can be taken with or without food. Those who take it are advised to choose which way they want to take it to ensure that the proper amount of the drug is always absorbed consistently.
Do not take this medication with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. The risk of side effects increases if it is taken with it because it increases the amount of buspirone in the body, Healthline writes. You can find what other drugs the medication can interact with here.
This drug does have side effects, which can increase if it is used incorrectly or abused recreationally. Those side effects include:
- Unusual excitement
- Restlessness, nervousness
- Impaired concentration
- Blurred vision
- Sweating and clammy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Muscle aches, pains, spasms, and cramps
- Ringing sounds in ears
- Insomnia, nightmares, or vivid dreams
If a buspirone overdose is suspected on this medication, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or visiting the nearest hospital emergency room. Overdose symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Stomach pain