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  • Common side effects of buspirone, or BuSpar, include dizziness, lightheadedness, and sleeping problems. 

    Buspirone can cause harmful drug interactions with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. Patients with kidney or liver problems, as well as other medical conditions, may wish to speak to their doctor before taking BuSpar.

    BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) is a brand name anxiolytic, or anxiety relief medication. It can be prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, and symptoms of anxiety. Compared to benzodiazepines, a mainstream anxiety medication, buspirone can have less severe side effects.

    Despite its lower perceived risk, the use of buspirone can still lead to serious side effects. Taking BuSpar as directed can minimize your health risk.

    Side Effects Of BuSpar

    BuSpar’s intended effects include a relaxed mood and reduced irritability. BuSpar can also cause common side effects, including:

    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • nausea
    • headache
    • lightheadedness
    • nervousness
    • dry mouth
    • sleeping problems

    Severe adverse effects, such as skin rash, hives, changes in heart rate, blurred vision, and chest pain may be less common.

    Drug Interactions With Buspirone

    Buspirone can cause dangerous interactions with monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressants, also known as MAOIs or MAO inhibitors. 

    Taking both MAOIs and BuSpar can lead to serotonin syndrome and high blood pressure, and may not be recommended for patients suffering from both depression and anxiety.

    Other prescription drugs that can interact with buspirone include:

    • CYP3A4 drugs (diltiazem, verapamil, itraconazole, rifampin, nefazodone)
    • haloperidol
    • diazepam
    • cimetidine

    Buspirone can also interact with grapefruit juice, which can increase the concentrations of existing buspirone in the bloodstream. This can effectively increase the dose taken. Patients may be advised to avoid large amounts of grapefruit juice while taking BuSpar.

    Buspirone Warnings

    Before prescribing BuSpar, your doctor may discuss proper buspirone use and your existing medical conditions, some of which can affect the viability of BuSpar.

    General guidelines for BuSpar use from healthcare professionals may include storing the drug at room temperature, taking BuSpar with food, and avoiding “doubling up” a missed dose of buspirone when taking the next dose.

    Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

    Patients who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines may require anxiety relief while undergoing detox. 

    Buspirone may not alleviate benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, and patients may need additional help to relieve their anxiety while going through treatment.

    Patients With Kidney & Liver Problems

    Patients with liver or kidney problems may have trouble metabolizing buspirone. Doses of buspirone that are approved in healthy patients may be risky for patients with forms of liver or kidney damage.

    Patients with a medical history of these conditions may wish to inform their doctor before starting buspirone.

    Pregnant & Nursing Mothers

    Buspirone can be found in the breast milk of nursing mothers, which can then be consumed by breastfeeding infants. The effects of buspirone on infants has not been studied fully, though some reports of serious side effects exist.

    Pregnant and nursing mothers may wish to avoid taking buspirone after a discussion with their healthcare provider.

    Drug Abuse & Dependence

    Buspirone is not a controlled substance, and studies suggest that long-term use of buspirone on its own carries little to no health risks. However, it is possible to overdose on buspirone. Patients should still take BuSpar as directed, and for the duration of their prescription.

    Patients taking buspirone may also struggle with mental health issues and withdrawal symptoms from anxiety medications such as alprazolam. These patients may benefit from dedicated treatment programs where they can focus on their physical and mental health.

    If you would like to learn about our treatment options, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration - BuSpar
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Buspirone
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - StatPearls — Buspirone

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