Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues that Americans face, affecting around 40 million adults each year.
In many cases, anxiety can be treated with medications that are designed to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. One of these medications is called buspirone.
However, like most prescriptions, buspirone can come with some uncomfortable side effects. It’s important to be familiar with these side effects and communicate with your doctor while on the drug.
Paying attention to your symptoms and side effects can help you, and your doctor find the best treatment for your needs. Learn more about buspirone and its side effects.
What Is Buspirone?
Buspirone is a prescription medication that’s sold under the brand name Buspar in the United States. It’s used to treat anxiety disorders in short-term therapeutic doses. It interacts with chemicals in your brain like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which have a variety of functions that are tied to motivation, reward, and energy levels. Buspirone is often used to treat generalized anxiety disorders; however, it takes longer to work than other medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It may take up to four weeks to experience the full benefit of buspirone therapy, so it may not be your doctor’s first choice for treatment.
Buspirone Side Effects
Like other psychoactive substances, especially benzodiazepines like Xanax, buspirone can cause some uncomfortable side effects. Buspirone is relatively well-tolerated by most people, but you may experience some common adverse effects. Some people may experience more severe side effects. For that reason, it’s essential to pay attention to new or worsening symptoms when you start a prescription medication. In many cases, it takes time to work with your doctor to adjust doses or change medication to find the best treatment for your needs. Some of the most common adverse effects of buspirone include:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
If you notice that these symptoms persist or get worse, let your doctor know. Medical professionals may be able to help you adjust your dose or change mediations to limit the adverse effects you experience.
Severe Side Effects Of Buspirone
Buspirone may come with a few rare side effects that can be severe.
For instance, most drugs that affect serotonin levels in the brain may cause what’s called serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome is a set of symptoms that are characterized by high body temperature, irritability, tremors, sweating, and violent behavior.
In some cases, serotonin syndrome can cause potentially dangerous side effects like suicidal thoughts, high fever, and irregular heartbeat.
Other severe and potentially dangerous side effects of buspirone include:
- Chest pains
- Fast heartbeat
- Bladder issues
- Blurred vision
- Movement disorders
- Facial swelling
- Tremors and shaking
- Loss of consciousness
What Is A Standard Buspirone Dose?
Buspirone side effects are more likely if you take doses of the drug that are too high. Your doctor may start you on a smaller dose of the drug and then gradually increase it over time. A typical starting dose may be around 10 to 30 milligrams daily. A safe maximum shouldn’t exceed 60 milligrams unless directed by your doctor.