Highlights for buspirone

  1. Buspirone oral tablet is available as a generic drug. It’s not available as a brand-name drug.
  2. Buspirone comes only as a tablet you take by mouth.
  3. Buspirone is used to relieve anxiety.

Important warnings

  • Mental alertness warning: You’re at increased risk of being drowsy and less alert while taking buspirone. Use caution while driving a car or using machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

  • Benzodiazepine withdrawal reactions warning: If you’ve been taking a benzodiazepine drug (such as clonazepam, alprazolam, or lorazepam) for anxiety long term (a month or longer), talk with your doctor. They will likely have you slowly stop taking the benzodiazepine drug before you start taking buspirone. Or, your doctor may slowly decrease your dosage of the benzodiazepine while increasing your dosage of buspirone over several weeks. If your current benzodiazepine medication is stopped suddenly and replaced with buspirone, you may have withdrawal reactions. These may include feeling irritable or nervous, trouble sleeping, tremor, cramps, vomiting, sweating, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Delayed effect warning: When taking this drug, you may see a decrease in your anxiety within 2 weeks. However, you likely won’t see the full effect of the drug until 3–6 weeks after you start taking the drug.

What is buspirone?

Buspirone is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a tablet you take by mouth.

Buspirone is only available as generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name versions.

Buspirone may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Buspirone is used to help relieve anxiety.

How it works

It’s not fully known how buspirone lowers anxiety levels. It decreases some of the activity of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. This decrease is thought to affect anxiety.

Buspirone side effects

Buspirone oral tablet causes drowsiness. It can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of buspirone include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • nervousness
  • lightheadedness
  • excitement

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart or cardiovascular effects. Symptoms can include:
    • fast heart rate
    • palpitations (feeling like your heart is skipping a beat)
    • chest pain
    • low or high blood pressure
    • fainting
  • Trouble with coordination (controlling your movements)
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
    • large pupils (the black centers of your eyes)
    • fast heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • fever
    • excessive sweating
    • rigid muscles
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • seizures

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Buspirone may interact with other medications

Buspirone oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with buspirone are listed below.

Antibiotics

Taking certain antibiotics with buspirone can increase the levels of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs. Examples of these antibiotics include:

  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin
  • telithromycin

Antidepressant drugs

Taking certain drugs used to treat depression with buspirone can increase the levels of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • nefazodone
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which can also increase your risk of high blood pressure. Do not take buspirone with an MAOI. Examples of these drugs include:
    • selegiline
    • isocarboxazid
    • phenelzine
    • tranylcypromine

Taking other drugs used to treat depression with buspirone raises your risk of serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of this condition can include rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Examples of these antidepressant drugs include:

  • fluoxetine
  • paroxetine
  • escitalopram
  • citalopram
  • sertraline
  • amitriptyline
  • mirtazapine

Antifungal drugs

Taking certain drugs used to treat fungal infections with buspirone can increase the levels of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs.

Examples of these antifungal drugs include:

  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • fluconazole
  • voriconazole

Antiseizure drugs

When taken with buspirone, certain drugs used to treat seizures can lower the amount of buspirone in your body. This can make buspirone less effective, and it may not work as well to treat your anxiety. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs.

Examples of these seizure drugs include:

  • carbamazepine
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin

High blood pressure drugs

Taking certain blood pressure drugs with buspirone can increase the levels of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs.

Examples of these blood pressure drugs include:

  • diltiazem
  • verapamil

HIV drugs

Taking certain drugs used to treat HIV with buspirone can increase the levels of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with one of these drugs.

Examples of these HIV drugs include:

  • ritonavir
  • atazanavir
  • darunavir
  • lopinavir/ritonavir

Other drugs

Rifampin is used to treat tuberculosis and other infections. When taken with buspirone, rifampin can lower the amount of buspirone in your body. This can make buspirone less effective, and it may not work as well to treat your anxiety. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with rifampin.

Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid drug. It’s used to treat conditions such as immune disorders and skin, eye, or respiratory problems. When taken with buspirone, dexamethasone can lower the amount of buspirone in your body. This can make buspirone less effective, and it may not work as well to treat your anxiety. Your doctor may change your dosage of buspirone if you’ll be taking it with dexamethasone.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Buspirone warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Buspirone can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives (itchy welts)
  • rash

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Food interactions warning

During your treatment with buspirone, avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice or eating large amounts of grapefruit. Grapefruit can increase the amount of buspirone in your body. This raises your risk of side effects. Most people can consume small amounts of grapefruit or grapefruit juice (1 serving 2–3 times per week) without problems.

Alcohol interaction warning

Buspirone can cause drowsiness. Drinking alcohol while taking this drug can cause slowed reflexes, poor judgment, and sleepiness, which can be dangerous.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with severe kidney damage: You should not use buspirone. Your kidneys clear buspirone from your body. If they’re not working well, the amount of buspirone in your body can increase to dangerous levels.

For people with severe liver damage: You should not use buspirone. Your liver processes buspirone in your body. If it’s not working well, the amount of buspirone in your body can increase to dangerous levels.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Buspirone is a category B pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals hasn’t shown a risk to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in humans to show if the drug poses a risk to the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Animal studies don’t always predict the way humans would respond. Therefore, this drug should only be used in pregnancy if clearly needed.

For women who are breastfeeding: It’s not known if buspirone passes into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

For children: There is no information available on how safe or effective buspirone is for long-term use in children. Don’t use this drug in children younger than 18 years.

How to take buspirone

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Dosage for anxiety disorders

Generic: Buspirone

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 30 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: 15 mg daily (7.5 mg twice per day).
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dosage 5 mg per day every 2–3 days.
  • Maximum daily dosage: 60 mg.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

There is no information available on how safe or effective buspirone is for long-term use in children. Don’t use this drug in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Buspirone oral tablet is used for short-term or long-term treatment. The length of therapy depends on the condition being treated. This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all: Your anxiety may continue or worsen.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • seizures
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: Your level of anxiety should decrease.

Important considerations for taking buspirone

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes buspirone for you.

General

  • You can take buspirone either with or without food. Be sure to take it the same way each time.
  • Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
  • Buspirone tablets can be crushed or cut.

Storage

  • Store buspirone at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.