Buspirone (Buspar)


Clinical Information


HALF-LIFE: 2-3 hours

METABOLISM: Primarily by CYP3A4




> Initial 5mg PO TID
> Increase by increments of 5mg/day every 3 days
> Target dosing range 20mg-30mg/day
> Many patients tolerate and benefit from higher doses
> Max dose 20mg PO TID

PREGNANCY: Minimal data on safety.

BREASTFEEDING: Minimal data on safety.

Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Sedation/Drowsiness
  • Jitteriness
  • Headache

FDA Indications

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Off Label Uses: Reduce Sexual Side Effects of SSRIs, Drug Dependence, OCD, Adjunct for Depression

Mechanism of Action

  • Partial agonist at postsynaptic 5HT-1A receptors (Increases serotonin neurotransmission to the temporal lobe)

Additional Information

What is buspirone (Buspar) used to Treat?

  • Buspirone (Buspar) is used to treat anxiety and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • In controlled trials, Buspirone (Buspar) has only demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Buspirone (Buspar) is used “off-label” to treat a variety of other psychiatric disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Depression. 
  • Buspirone (Buspar) is also used as an add-on medication (called augmentation) for depression.
  • When used as an add-on medication, the purpose of adding on Buspirone (Buspar) may be to “boost” another medication such as an SSRI (e.g. sertraline, fluoxetine, escitalopram) or reduce side effects

How does Buspirone (Buspar) work?

  • Serotonin is an important molecule within the brain that has many roles, including regulation of mood
  • Buspirone (Buspar) boosts serotonin in important areas of the brain by mechanisms that are still poorly understood

How long does it take for Buspirone (Buspar) to work?

  • While everyone is different, it usually takes 2-6 weeks for the medication to work

Do I have to take Buspirone (Buspar) everyday?

  • Buspirone should be taken consistently every day as prescribed by your physician
  • Buspirone is not an “as needed” medication

Is Buspirone (Buspar) Addictive?

  • No. Buspirone does not induce tolerance or dependence and is not considered to have addictive potential



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