Buspar is a discontinued brand name version of the generic drug buspirone, which doctors may prescribe for anxiety. The withdrawal of Buspar from the market was not due to concerns regarding efficacy or safety.

Although Buspar is no longer available, people can take buspirone, which is chemically identical.

Buspirone may help individuals with anxiety feel more relaxed, think more clearly, and worry less. The medication may also help with feelings of irritability and other anxiety-related symptoms, such as an increased heartbeat, sweating, and difficulty sleeping.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Buspar for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in 1986. A doctor can diagnose a person with GAD if they have been experiencing excessive anxiety and worry on most days over a period of at least 6 months.

Although Buspar is no longer available, the FDA confirmed that its withdrawal from the market was not due to concerns regarding safety or effectiveness.

A person should only take buspirone as their doctor directs, as it can have side effects.

In this article, we provide more information on buspirone, including how to take it, common side effects, and whether it can make anxiety worse.

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Buspirone belongs to a class of medications called anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety medications. Doctors prescribe it to treat symptoms of anxiety disorders or the disorders themselves in the short term.

Buspirone works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. It is not an antidepressant, but older research suggests that it may enhance the action of antidepressant medication.

The drug does not have a link to other anti-anxiety medications, such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines.

People take buspirone by mouth, usually in tablet form, and they will generally need to take it twice a day. Although a person can take the drug with or without food, they should be consistent across doses and take it the same way each time.

It is important to take buspirone according to the instructions on the label and as a doctor has directed. A person should not take buspirone more or less often than their prescription states.

A doctor may start a person on a low dosage of buspirone and gradually increase it. It may take several weeks to determine the most effective dosage for a person.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that a person should not operate heavy machinery or drive a vehicle until they know how the medication affects them, as it may cause dizziness or tiredness. They should also avoid the use of alcohol, which can increase these symptoms.

It may take 3–4 weeks before a person starts to feel the benefits of buspirone, so they should not stop taking the medication without speaking with their doctor first.

If a person misses a dose, they should take it as soon as they remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, they should skip the missed dose and continue with their regular schedule. A person should not double dose to make up for a missed tablet.

Buspirone may cause several side effects. A person should speak with their doctor if the symptoms do not go away or are severe. Side effects can include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nervousness
  • weakness
  • increased sweating
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • excitement
  • feelings of anger or hostility
  • lightheadedness
  • numbness

Certain side effects can be serious, and they may sometimes be cause for concern. A person should speak with their doctor if they experience:

  • swelling by the mouth, throat, lips, tongue, or eyes
  • a rash
  • itching
  • a fast or irregular heartbeat
  • blurred vision
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • hives
  • agitation
  • fever
  • severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • hallucinations
  • loss of coordination
  • vomiting

A person needs to take buspirone continuously for several weeks for it to be fully effective.

If a person misses doses or abruptly stops taking the medication without consulting a doctor, they may feel more anxious.

There are no known problems associated with the long-term use of buspirone, and doctors consider it a safe and effective medication when a person uses it according to their prescription.

A person should seek immediate medical care if they or someone else has overdosed on buspirone.

It is also essential to call 911 immediately if a person:

  • has collapsed
  • is having trouble breathing
  • has had a seizure
  • is unresponsive to attempts to wake them

If someone has chest pain, changes in blood pressure, fainting, or muscle cramps, they should see a doctor as soon as possible. A person should also contact their doctor if they experience any serious or persistent side effects or notice symptoms of an allergic reaction. These symptoms might include swelling in the face or throat.

It is advisable for people to discuss all other medications that they are taking with their doctor, as certain medications, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, may interact with buspirone.

People should also seek medical advice before taking buspirone when pregnant or breastfeeding, as the drug may carry potential risks for them or the baby.

Buspar is a discontinued branded version of buspirone, an anxiolytic medication that treats anxiety disorders.

A person may need to take buspirone for 3–4 weeks before they feel the benefits of it. They should not stop taking the medication without consulting a professional.

Common side effects of the drug include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. Serious side effects may include a rash, hallucinations, uncontrollable shaking, and swelling around the mouth, throat, or eyes.

A person should contact a doctor if they overdose on buspirone or experience serious or persistent side effects or an allergic reaction.

Buspirone does not generally make anxiety worse, but missing doses or abruptly stopping the medication may have adverse effects.