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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: buspirone (Bu SPIRE own)
Brand name(s): BUSPAR
GENERIC: not available FAMILY: Other Sleeping Pills and Tranquilizers
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

No valid data are available for buspirone, as it was not tested properly in animal studies. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast-feeding Warning

Buspirone and its metabolites are excreted in milk. Buspirone should not be given to nursing women.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

The best way to reduce the risks from sleeping pills and tranquilizers is to avoid them if at all possible. Before taking one of these powerful medications, see the Sleeping Pills and Tranquilizers section of this site for nondrug alternatives to try before using either sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Buspirone is an antianxiety agent, which differs chemically from the benzodiazepine drugs and appears to lack the potential for addiction common to this family of drugs, such as Xanax and Valium. While buspirone is less apt than the benzodiazepines to cause drowsiness, drowsiness remains a common side effect. Although buspirone is preferred for older adults, compared to other drugs available,[1] information about buspirone is limited, and much is still unknown, including its long-term safety...

Buspirone is an antianxiety agent, which differs chemically from the benzodiazepine drugs and appears to lack the potential for addiction common to this family of drugs, such as Xanax and Valium. While buspirone is less apt than the benzodiazepines to cause drowsiness, drowsiness remains a common side effect. Although buspirone is preferred for older adults, compared to other drugs available,[1] information about buspirone is limited, and much is still unknown, including its long-term safety and effectiveness.[2],[3] Adverse effects are often paradoxical (drowsiness or insomnia, anorexia or weight gain). While buspirone is used for short-term anxiety, it takes a few weeks to work. In some people buspirone may increase anxiety, rather than alleviate it.[4] A decision to use buspirone should be reviewed periodically.

Anxiety is a universal emotion closely allied with appropriate fears.[5] No drug is useful for the stress of everyday living. Try nondrug therapies for anxiety first. Explore preventable causes of anxiety, such as overuse of caffeine, as well as medical/physical causes. Drugs may control but do not cure anxiety.

If you already take a benzodiazepine or antidepressant, your doctor should taper you off those drugs before trying buspirone. However, if you have already taken a benzodiazepine, the buspirone is less likely to be effective.[6]

A March 2014 study in the United Kingdom found an increase in the risk of death in people using tranquilizers or sleeping pills compared with people not using them. The results were similar to those from a 2012 study. Concerns about the effect of these drugs on premature mortality have been fueled by studies documenting increased risk of dementia, daytime fatigue, lack of coordination, falls, road traffic incidents, pneumonia and other infections.[7]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • allergies to drugs
  • alcohol or drug dependence
  • kidney or liver problems
  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Do not drink alcohol or use other drugs that can cause drowsiness.
  • Until you know how you react to this drug, do not drive or perform other activities that require alertness. Buspirone may cause blurred vision and drowsiness.
  • If you plan to have any surgery, including dental, tell your doctor that you take this drug.
  • Do not take other drugs without checking with your doctor first—especially nonprescription drugs for appetite control, colds, coughs, hay fever, sinus problems, or sleep.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Take the drug the same way each time, either with or without food.
  • Tablet may be broken in two but not chewed or crushed.
  • Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

Taking buspirone with any MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors may increase your blood pressure. Do not take buspirone for at least 10 days after stopping any of these MAO inhibitors: deprenyl, ELDEPRYL, furazolidone, FUROXONE, isocarboxazid, MARPLAN, MATULANE, NARDIL, PARNATE, phenelzine, procarbazine, selegiline, tranylcypromine.

Other interacting drugs are: CALAN SR, carbamazepine, CARDIZEM CD, COVERA-HS, DECADRON, dexamethasone, DILACOR XR, DILANTIN, diltiazem, EES, ERYTHROCIN, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, NIZORAL, NORVIR, phenobarbital, phenytoin, , rifampin, RIMACTANE, ritonavir, SERZONE, SPORANOX, TEGRETOL, verapamil.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • chest pain
  • confusion or depression
  • fast or pounding heartbeat
  • sore throat or fever
  • skin rash or hives
  • muscle weakness
  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in hands or feet
  • uncontrolled movements of the body
  • stiffness of arms or legs

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • anger, hostility
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness, lightheadedness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • sleep or dream disturbance[8]
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • involuntary movements
  • muscle pain, spasms, cramps, stiffness
  • nasal congestion
  • numbness
  • restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, nightmares
  • ringing isn ears
  • sweating
  • unusual weakness, tiredness
  • nausea

Signs of overdose:

  • dizziness
  • severe drowsiness
  • unusually small pupils
  • loss of consciousness
  • stomach upset including nausea or vomiting

If you suspect an overdose, call this number to contact your poison control center: (800) 222-1222.

Periodic Tests[top]

Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:

  • kidney function tests
  • liver function tests

last reviewed January 31, 2021