Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug that belongs in the drug classification of anxiolytics.  It is most often prescribed to treat the symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), such as tension, dizziness, fear, pounding heartbeat, and other symptoms people might feel. It is considered to be less sedating than other drugs that treat anxiety symptoms. The medication is well-tolerated and is not known to cause tolerance or chemical dependence or addiction.

Buspirone Method of Action

Buspirone belongs in the azapirone medicine class, which includes other anti-anxiety (anxiolytics) and antipsychotic drugs. It affects the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain, meaning it increases the action of serotonin receptors, which helps lessen anxiety. It may be prescribed if other drugs are ineffective or have too many side effects.

Anxiolytics target specific chemical messengers in the brain (serotonin and dopamine), which is thought to lessen abnormal excitability. The drug can also be prescribed for depression, insomnia, panic disorder, itching, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, seizures, nausea, and vomiting.

X-ray images of a human brainA 2008 medical report from ABC News (U.S.) relays that buspirone is thought to “work through its binding and activation of a certain type of serotonin receptor in the brain — specifically the 5HT1A receptor — and it’s through this activity that buspirone is thought to have its anti-anxiety effects.”

The bottom line is that it is an effective drug that lacks the side effects and complications of other anti-anxiety medicines if taken in the dose prescribed.

Side Effects of Buspirone

Some side effects may be felt when taking buspirone. The most commonly reported ones are nervousness, restlessness, or unusual excitement. Side effects that are less common include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping, having nightmares or vivid dreams
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Sweating or clamminess
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Decreased concentration
  • Diarrhea
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Unusual weakness
  • Muscle spasms, pains, stiffness or cramping

Always consult with your doctor if you experience any side effects. They can work with you to change the dose or discuss the option of trying another type of medication.

Buspirone With Other Anti-Anxiety Medications

Buspirone is usually prescribed with other medications to complement them. Some of the other types of medicine that doctors may prescribe to treat anxiety or depression are:

  • Antidepressants
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft)
    • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (Effexor, Cymbalta, Pristiq)
    • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (Elavil, Anafranil, Sinequan, Tofranil, Norpramin)
  • Benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Serax)
  • Anticonvulsants (Lyrica)
  • Antihistamines (Vistaril)

Buspirone or its brand Buspar are not known to cause tolerance, dependence, or addiction in human or animal studies.

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