Generic name: Buspirone Hydrochloride
Brand Name: Buspar
Buspar is referred to as a minor tranquilizer and has become very popular in providing relief from anxiety. Buspar is most often used to treat anxiety disorders, but is also prescribed at times for the aches, pains, fatigue, and cramps of premenstrual symptom (PMS). However, this and other anxiety medications are not usually prescribed for treating the anxiety or tension caused by the stress of everyday life.
Buspar: Basic General Information
Buspar or buspirone hydrochloride is a potent anti-anxiety medication that has become increasingly popular since its approval by the FDA for the relief of anxiety. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the short-term treatment of anxiety, but it has been used safely for more than four weeks at a time, as contrasted to several of the other popular anxiety drugs. It is not actually known how Buspar works at the present time, but has become very popular due to the lack of addiction and some of the other dangerous side effects frequently associated with other anti-anxiety medications, such as the benzodiazepines. It is believed to work by decreasing the amount and actions of the neurotransmitter serotonin in certain parts of the brain. It is not believed to depress the nervous system nor act as an anticonvulsant or muscle relaxant, as some of the other anti-anxiety medicines do. Minor improvement will frequently be apparent after about 7 – 10 days of starting treatment with Buspar, but its maximum effect usually does not occur for approximately three to four weeks. This medication is only available by doctor’s prescription in an oral form (tablets) in both Canada and the United States.
What are some of the special precautions and warnings?
You should not take Buspar if you have ever had any history of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to this drug. It should be used with caution by people with kidney or liver disease. It does not have any antipsychotic effects and should never be taken when experiencing symptoms of psychosis. Although it is not believed to have much potential for abuse, you should always be aware of this possibility. If you believe you will be using Buspar for a prolonged period of time, your physician should check your progress at regular visits to make sure the medicine does not cause unwanted side effects.
Other Considerations When Taking Busbar
When taking this or similar anti-anxiety medicines, you obviously will need to weigh the risk against the good it may possibly do. This is a decision you and your doctor will need to make. Before starting Buspar, the following factors should be considered:
Allergies and Reactions:
You should tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reactions to Buspar. You should also tell your doctor or nurse if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other substances such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
This medicine has not been studied for use with pregnant women. However, this drug has not been shown to cause birth defects or other similar problems in animal studies.
It has not been determined whether Busbar passes into the breast milk of humans.
Studies of this medication have been done only in adult patients, and it has not been determined whether it should be used in children under the age of 18.
This anxiety medication has only been tested in a limited number of older adults and has not been shown to cause side effects any different than those experienced by younger adults.
In some cases, certain drugs should never be used with other medications, while in other cases, two medicines may be taken together although an interaction might occur. In these cases, your physician may want to change the dosage, or take other precautions as necessary. If you are taking Buspar, it is very important that your doctor or nurse know if you’re taking any of the following medications:
• Itraconazole (e.g. Sporanox) -higher blood levels of Buspar may occur, increase the chance of side effects. Your physician may want to change the dosage of this anti-anxiety medication.
• Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s) (Marplan, Nardil, Parnate) taking Buspar when your taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors may cause high blood pressure.
Other medical Concerns:
The presence of other medical issues may affect the use of Buspar. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical problems:
• Kidney disease
• Liver disease-Buspar may be removed from your body more slowly, which may increase the risk of side effects. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage.
What are some of the Buspar side effects?
The side effects of Buspar cannot really be anticipated, but if any should occur or increase in intensity you should notify your doctor immediately. If you anticipate taking this anti-anxiety medicine for a long period of time, your physician will need to monitor its effectiveness as well as for its side effects. Buspar can make some people feel dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy or less alert than they normally feel. You should always make sure you know how you react to this medication before driving, operating machinery or any other activities that require concentration and being alert. Below are some of the major busbar side effects.
Along with the wanted effects, this medicine will cause some related side effects. Although not all of these Buspar side effects may occur, if they do, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Rare Buspar Side Effects:
Chest pain; confusion; fast or pounding heartbeat; fever; lack of coordination; mental depression; muscle weakness; numbness, tingling, pain, weakness in hands or feet; skin rash or hives; stiffness of arms or legs; sore throat; uncontrolled movements of the body.
There are other Buspar side effects which may occur that usually do not require medical attention. They may go away during your treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, you should check with your doctor if any of the side effects continue or become bothersome.
Common Buspar Side Effects:
Lightheadedness and dizziness, especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position; headache; nausea; restlessness or excitement
Less Common or Rare Side Effects:
Blurred vision; sweating; decreased concentration; diarrhea; drowsiness (more common with doses of more than 20 mg. per day); dryness of the mouth; muscle pain, spasms, cramps or stiffness; ringing in the ears; trouble sleeping, nightmares, or vivid dreams; unusual tiredness or weakness.
There are some other Buspar side effects not listed above which may also occur in some individuals, however, if you notice any unwanted effects you should check with your physician immediately.
Buspar Dosage: What is the proper amount?
Your dosage of Buspar should be taken as directed by your doctor. You should never take more than your physician recommends. Also, you should never take it for a longer period of time than your physician has prescribed. Doing so may increase the risk of unwanted side effects.
After you begin taking buspar (buspirone), you should probably give it at least one to two weeks to feel some anxiety relief.
Buspar Dosage: General Information:
The Buspar dosage will vary for different patients. You should always follow your physician’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information refers only to the most common Buspar dosage. If your dose of Busbar is different however, you should not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. The number of tablets you take depends upon your specific requirements.
Buspar Dosage Oral Form (tablets):
Usually start at 5 mg. two or three times a day, or 7.5 mg. two times a day. Your physician may increase your Buspar dosage by 5 mg. a day every few days if needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg. per day.
Children up to 18 years of age.
The use and dosage must be determined by your doctor.
Usually start your dosage of Busbar at 5 mg., two or three times a day, or 7.5 mg. two times a day. Your doctor may increase your individual dosage by 5 mg. a day every few days if necessary.
If you miss your dosage of Buspar you should take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for you to take your next dose, you should go back your regular dosing schedule. You should never take two doses of Buspar.
Symptoms of Overdosage from Busbar:
Lightheadedness or dizziness; drowsiness (severe) or loss of consciousness; stomach upset, including nausea or vomiting; very small pupils in the eyes.
Any medication taken in excess of the dosage recommended can have serious side effects. If you suspect an overdose of Busbar you should seek medical attention immediately.
You should obviously keep Busbar out of the reach of children. Store it away from heat and direct light, and try not to store it in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink or other damp places. Heat or moisture has been known to break this medicine down.
You should never keep outdated medicine or medication that is no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.
Information adapted from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs and the Consumer Reports Consumer Drug Reference
Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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