Buspirone: uses, risks and recommendations

Anxiolytics are psychotropic drugs that help control anxiety symptoms. The effectiveness of buspirone is scientifically proven.

Last update: September 15, 2021

Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric pathologies worldwide. It usually causes a feeling of unexplained fear or worry, with physical symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. Fortunately, there are medications such as buspirone, which help control symptoms.

Buspirone is a compound belonging to the group of non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics. It is very useful when treating anxiety disorders and other pathologies. The drug works by altering the concentration of certain substances in the brain, called neurotransmitters.

One of the main advantages of this medicine is that has a different chemical structure than other anxiolytics. In this way, it does not generate drowsiness or affect people's memory. However, taking buspirone can cause serious side effects.

What is buspirone for?

The drug in question is a partial agonist of serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in the brain, that is, it briefly inhibits them. The action of the compound on these receptors allows the concentration of the neurotransmitter to be regulated throughout the brain.

Buspirone is especially useful in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is characterized by excessive and difficult-to-control worry about certain events or specific activities. Serotonin activates the brain pathways responsible for these responses.

People should note that the drug should only be used in the treatment of anxiety disorder diagnosed by a psychiatrist. In this way, it is not useful if you want to relieve the stress generated by daily activities.

On the other hand, some studies show that Buspirone can also be used to treat other psychiatric and neurological disorders.. One of the pathologies that can be treated with the drug is depression, provided it is combined with other drugs.

Possible benefits have been established for the following conditions:

  • Parkinson's disease.
  • Ataxia.
  • Social phobia.
  • Dementia.
  • Alterations in behavior after a brain injury.
  • Attention deficit disorder.
Buspirone has its main indication in generalized anxiety disorder.

How is buspirone administered?

Buspirone is only available to be taken orally in tablet form.. The dose necessary for the treatment of the different disorders may vary, depending on each particular case. In this sense, the compound is available in tablets ranging from 7.5 milligrams to 30 milligrams.

This anxiolytic should only be used under strict medical prescription and following the instructions provided by the specialist. The tablets should be swallowed whole, without crushing or chewing. Also, intestinal absorption can be delayed with food intake.

The recommended starting dose for treating anxiety in adults is 15 milligrams daily. It should be divided into intakes of 7.5 milligrams every 12 hours.. The doctor may increase the dose by 5 milligrams every 2 to 3 days to a maximum of 60 milligrams daily.

Specialists recommend taking the tablets every day at the same time for best results. Fortunately, some studies show that buspirone is well tolerated by children and adolescents. In this way, the drug can also be used in the treatment of GAD in these patients, although with lower doses.

Side effects of buspirone

Generally speaking, buspirone is a safe compound. It does not have the ability to produce a rebound effect or worsening of symptoms after stopping its use. The risk of developing tolerance, dependence or even an overdose is very low.

Despite all the advantages of the drug, it can cause the appearance of side effects in multiple people. The most common adverse reactions are usually mild.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects are very common during the first days of treatment.however, they disappear on their own after the first week.

Among the minor unwanted effects, the following stand out:

  • Vertigo.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances.

Serious side effects

Buspirone can also cause serious, life-threatening side effects. These reactions are very rareHowever, it is necessary to know them.

One of the serious side effects that can appear is serotonin syndrome when taken with certain antidepressants. It is characterized by hallucinations, confusion, increased heart rate, fever, dizziness, seizures, and muscle stiffness.

People should also be alert to the presence of cardiovascular alterations. In this regard, it is necessary to seek medical attention if you have any of these symptoms after ingesting buspirone:

  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain.
  • Increase or decrease in blood pressure.
  • Fainting.

Finally, studies show that the drug is capable of causing movement disorders. Thus, taking buspirone can lead to dyskinesias, akathisia, clonus, dystonias, and a Parkinson's-like tremor.

Movement disturbances are not common with buspirone, but they are an adverse effect to consider.

Contraindications and precautions of buspirone

The consumption of buspirone is totally contraindicated in those allergic to the active principle or to the excipients of the drug. Pregnant or breastfeeding women cannot take the drug either. to avoid side effects on the baby.

Alcohol can increase the depressant effect of the drug on the central nervous system. On the other hand, some antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals increase their serum levels.

Liver and kidney diseases also interfere with the blood concentration of the drug, so the doctor must readjust the dose administered in these cases. Lastly, some foods, such as grapefruit juice, can inhibit liver enzymes, increasing the blood level of the compound.

A safe and useful drug in the treatment of GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a disease that can make life difficult for people. Fortunately, buspirone is a very useful anxiolytic that allows to control symptoms in a short time. It is also useful in other pathologies, such as depression and behavioral disturbances.

The safety of this compound has been demonstrated through different studies. However, there is the possibility of developing serious side effects that affect the nervous system or the heart. The drug should only be consumed under strict medical prescription and this article should only be taken as a source of information.