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  • Buspirone (brand name BuSpar) is an anxiolytic and anti-anxiety prescription drug used to help treat symptoms of anxiety for those suffering from certain anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

    Is BuSpar A Controlled Substance?

    According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), BuSpar is not considered a controlled substance. This means the drug is unlikely to be abused or lead to addiction.

    What Type Of Drug Is BuSpar?

    BuSpar is an anxiolytic medication, which means it’s an anti-anxiety drug.

    However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states BuSpar is unrelated to other anxiety medications and antidepressants such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates

    BuSpar binds to dopamine receptors in the brain and can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain providing relief for those suffering from anxiety.

    Side Effects Of BuSpar

    Although BuSpar may not be considered a controlled substance, it has common side effects.

    Common Side Effects

    According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the common short-term side effects of buspirone may consist of:

    • dizziness
    • sedation
    • lightheadedness
    • drowsiness
    • nausea
    • dry mouth
    • headache
    • nervousness

    Rare Side Effects

    Rare side effects may include:

    • tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements)
    • weight fluctuations
    • changes in blood pressure
    • fainting
    • serotonin syndrome which may cause hallucinations or seizures

    Adverse Effects

    A number of adverse effects can occur in those who take BuSpar, including allergic reactions and worsened medical conditions.

    An allergic reaction may take place in those with a hypersensitivity to buspirone hydrochloride. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may lead to serious side effects such as chest pain, blurred vision, and an irregular heartbeat.

    Those with certain medical conditions, including pregnancy, should seek the medical advice of their healthcare provider before taking BuSpar. Women who are breastfeeding should also speak with their doctor to determine the risk to the child if the drug can be passed through breast milk.

    Patients with renal impairment should also avoid taking this prescription medication.

    BuSpar Drug Interactions

    Various drug interactions may take place if BuSpar is combined with any of the substances or medications listed below:

    • itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
    • certain vitamins or supplements
    • diltiazem (Tiazasc, Dilacor, Cardizem)
    • benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
    • haloperidol (Haldol)
    • sleeping pills
    • muscle relaxants
    • nefazodone (Serzone)
    • grapefruit juices
    • erythromycin (E-Mycin, Erythrocin)
    • alcohol
    • verapamil (Covera, Verelan, Calan)
    • opioids
    • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
    • anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) and phenytoin (Phenytek, Dilantin)
    • sedatives
    • serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine (Effexor)
    • barbiturates
    • trazodone (Desyrel)

    Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

    Those taking BuSpar should also avoid taking MAO inhibitors. Examples of these inhibitors include:

    • phenelzine (Nardil)
    • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar, Eldepryl)
    • methylene blue
    • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

    Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

    The use of buspirone with SSRIs can lead to serious mental health concerns. SSRIs include:

    • fluoxetine (Sarafem, Prozac, Selfemra)
    • fluvoxamine (Luvox)
    • paroxetine (Pexeva, Brisdelle, Paxil)
    • sertraline (Zoloft)

    Serotonin syndrome may occur during long-term use. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if the prescription drug is stopped abruptly when combined with other medications, causing a person to experience irritability, insomnia, and tremors.

    If you or a loved one struggles with prescription drug use, contact us today for information on our treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - BuSpar
    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Buspirone (BuSpar)
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Buspirone
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Buspirone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on October 21, 2022
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