Active Ingredients

Buspirone – Effect, Application & Risks


An anxiolytic drug is known as buspirone . It is used to treat anxiety disorders .

What is buspirone?

Buspirone is a drug that has an anxiolytic effect. In doing so, it interferes with the metabolism of the neurotransmitter serotonin . In contrast to other anxiolytic preparations such as benzodiazepines , buspirone only develops its positive effects after several weeks. However, the active ingredient has the advantage of not making you tired and dependent.

Buspirone was discovered in 1972 by a team of scientists working for the Mead Johnson Nutrition Company, a manufacturer of children’s foods. The patenting of buspirone took place in 1975. The drug was introduced to the American market in 1986 by the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. From 1996, buspirone was also allowed to be offered in Germany. Since patent protection expired in 2001, buspirone can also be sold as a generic drug .

Pharmacological action

Buspirone is effective in treating anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are persistent fears that often cannot be clearly justified and have a negative impact on numerous areas of life. This can be about professional life, social contacts or health . It is not uncommon for the people affected to suffer from physical problems such as tension , dizziness , palpitations , tremors , sleep problems , nausea or headaches . 

Anxiety medications, primarily benzodiazepines, can help relieve anxiety. Taking them can improve both mental and physical symptoms. However, most remedies of this type have the major disadvantage that they become dependent after a few weeks of use. If it then comes to a stop, the anxiety symptoms and their unpleasant side effects reappear intensified.

However, by taking buspirone, addiction can be avoided. After several weeks of use, the neuronal structures of the brain rearrange themselves . The wiring of the nerve cells (neurons) is changed by activating certain docking points, also known as receptors , on the messenger substance serotonin. For this reason, the positive effect of the anxiety reliever only becomes apparent after some time.

In addition to the so-called happiness hormone serotonin, buspirone also exerts its effect on dopamine and noradrenaline , which stimulate the mental drive. Unlike the benzodiazepines, buspirone has no effect on the GABA receptors , which are important for human sleep . Therefore, there are hardly any sedative effects from administering the drug.

The absorption of buspirone into the blood takes place rapidly after its ingestion via the intestinal wall. From there, the active substance is transported with the blood towards the liver . Around 95 percent of it is deactivated there. After 60 to 90 minutes, buspirone has reached its maximum level in the body. After just two to three hours, the level drops again by 50 percent. Buspirone is excreted from the body with urine and stool .

Medical Application & Use

Buspirone is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and states of tension. The remedy is also considered helpful for inner restlessness . Although taking buspirone does not cause addiction, the drug should only be used for a maximum of four months.

Buspirone can be administered in the form of tablets. The daily dose is divided into three individual administrations. They are taken independently of meals. In the initial stages of therapy, the patient only takes a small dose of buspirone. This consists of three times 5 milligrams a day. In the further course, the dose gradually increases, provided no undesirable side effects occur, to 10 milligrams, which the patient takes three times a day. In severe cases, a maximum dose of 20 milligrams is also possible.

Buspirone requires a prescription. The remedy can only be obtained from the pharmacy by presenting a doctor’s prescription.

Risks & side effects

Sometimes side effects appear when taking buspirone. These are mostly dizziness and sleepiness. Ten out of one hundred patients also experience unwanted side effects such as confusion , anger , blurred vision , profuse sweating , skin rashes , abnormal sensations , muscle pain , nasal congestion , sore throat , chest pain , tinnitus and nightmares . Gastrointestinal complaints , nausea, vomiting ,Concentration problems , dry mouth , eczema , numbness or sweaty hands . Mood swings , circulatory disorders in the brain, allergic reactions , serotonin syndrome , heart muscle diseases or even a heart attack are only very rarely a risk .Buspirone should not be used at all if the patient suffers from severe kidney or liver function disorders , muscle weakness , seizures or acute angle-closure glaucoma . During pregnancy , buspirone should only be administered with the approval of the doctor. The drug should be completely avoided while breastfeeding . Children under the age of 18 should also not take buspirone.

Interactions between buspirone and other drugs are also considered possible. For this reason, the patient should be monitored consistently if he or she is also taking high blood pressure medication , anxiolytics such as benzodiazepines, anticoagulant drugs , heart medication or birth control pills .

In addition, it is important not to administer buspirone at the same time as MAOIs. The reason for this is an impending crisis caused by high blood pressure . It is also not recommended to take erythromycin , nefazodone , verapamil , itraconazole or cimetidine at the same time . These drugs increase the effect of buspirone.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.