If you feel anxious often, you are not alone. There are millions of people who suffer from anxiety disorders every year. The best thing about anxiety disorders is that they are treatable and manageable.
Anxiety disorders lower markedly the quality of life. They often present with fear, worry, and other symptoms of anxiety.
The treatment of anxiety disorders commonly used today is psychotherapy, medications, and symptoms management/ home remedies for anxiety disorders. In most cases, psychiatrists will recommend a combination of the three treatment options.
For home remedies, the best exercise for anxiety, mindful meditation, diet, and avoiding alcohol besides other drugs are the common methods used.
One of the many medications used to treat anxiety disorders is buspirone whose brand name is Buspar. Buspar production was stopped but generic buspirone is available in the market today.
The drug is quite effective in the management of anxiety and its associated symptoms in generalized anxiety disorders.
You can also explore non-medical products like the best supplements that help in anxiety disorders and other methods to deal with anxiety like massage and other home remedies. For massage, you can use one of these excellent massagers for anxiety. Check also the best books for anxiety.
In this article, we will try and comprehensively take the different querries about buspirone including: Does buspirone work immediately, the side effects like anger, overheating, weight and insomnia, withdrawal, effectiveness among others.
You can also use the products below to manage your anxiety or take care of buspirone side effects.
What is Buspirone (Buspar)?
Buspirone HCL is an anxiolytic. It was initially developed as an antipsychotic but is preferred for anxiety because of fewer side effects as compared to the other anxiety medications. It is used to treat anxiety disorders especially generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).
The drug is offered as a second line to SSRIs or SNRIs or used in combination with an antidepressant. This is because the antidepressants are extensively studied as compared to buspirone and also because the antidepressants work for a wide range of anxiety disorders.
Some psychiatrists also recommend buspirone as an augmentation agent to minimize the sexual side effects of SSRIs.
The drug is prescribed to give you clearer thoughts, relaxation, less anxiety, and reduce irritability. It is, therefore, useful to give you a chance to enjoy life every day. In addition, it helps in conditions where you have sleep problems, have a pounding heart, and are sweating more than normal.
In an ‘of label way’ some psychiatrists have been prescribing buspirone for pediatric anxiety disorders. The dosage for children has not yet been well established.
Other than buspirone, anxiety disorders can be treated with other medications. Anxiety disorders can also be treated using psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.
There are no proven episodes of dependence to buspirone as compared to SSRIs and other antidepressants.
Does Buspirone Work immediately?
Buspirone (Buspar) effects are felt initially within two weeks. However, the full therapeutic/ clinical effects of buspirone (Buspar) are felt after four to six weeks.
For this reason, Buspar should not be taken when you want quick relief from anxiety. There are some more quick-acting medications for anxiety. The effects of buspirone for anxiety in the short-term are very mild like a mild calming effect.
For people who want some fast relief from anxiety symptoms as they wait for buspirone to work, you can discuss with your doctor to prescribe a benzodiazepine (Xanax) or hydroxyzine. These medications work faster for anxiety but have more side effects.
The elimination half-life for buspirone in its unchanged form is 2 to 3 hours when a single dose of between 10 to 40 mg is taken.
How does buspirone make you feel?
Buspirone is an excellent anxiolytic for generalized anxiety disorder. It takes some time to work as discussed above but once the full effects kick in, the anxiety disorder symptoms are minimized.
How does buspirone make you feel? Buspirone will make you feel as follows:
- Reduce the jittery
- Make you less irritable
- Give you better sleep
- Reduced sweating
- Reduce the pounding of the heart associated with anxiety
- Reduces the fear associated with anxiety
Also, every drug has side effects although, for buspirone, the side effects are mild. In most people the buspirone (Buspar) side effects go away within a few days.
Since only a fraction of persons taking buspirone experience side effects, buspirone makes you feel better, but some people also feel weird or have the side effects below.
Common side effects of buspirone
The following are the common side effects of buspirone:
- Some people claim to feel weird. This is because 10% of the population using buspirone experience dizziness, lightheadedness, sleepy, and reduced alertness.
- Trouble in getting sleep (Insomnia)
- Blurred vision
If buspirone (Buspar) side effects do not go away within a few days contact your doctor. How long does it take for buspirone/ Buspar insomnia to go away? Talk to your doctor for advice on what to do to for Buspar insomnia to go away if you still get it after a week. It is also recommended that you take buspirone in the morning if you are getting insomnia.
It’s also important to contact your doctor if you get an allergic reaction to buspirone. The allergic reaction comes with a rash, itchiness, dizziness and breathing problems.
Do not drive or work on machinery while taking buspirone. The side effects and also some of its actions may increase the risks of accidents.
Alcohol may increase the side effects of buspirone. It is
therefore important to avoid alcohol while taking buspirone to ensure it does
not potentiate dizziness and drowsiness.
It is important to contact your doctor in case you develop serious side effects that feel life-threatening or are having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects of Buspirone/Buspar
The serious side effects are rare. The following are the serious side effects of buspirone:
- Heart problems including increased heart rate and palpitations, hypotension, or hypertension.
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Getting easily bruised or bleeding
- Coordination problems which include muscle stiffness or jerky walking styles
- Uncontrolled movements in the mouth, face, and tongue. This may lead to mask-like facial expression.
- Uncontrollable buspirone side effect of anger
- Serotonin syndrome presents with confusion, dilated pupils, fast heart rates, hypertension, overheating, fever, nausea, emesis, seizures, sweating, and muscle stiffness.
Can Buspar cause a heart attack? Some of the side effects described here are similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. It is important to, therefore, see a doctor in case you develop any of these serious side effects.
Does buspirone cause weight gain or weight loss?
From the studies on buspirone and according to the packaging information, changes in weight is a side effect that occurs infrequently. It occurs in between 0.1 % to 1 % of the people under buspirone medication.
In most of the people, buspirone is unlikely to cause a clinically relevant gain or loss in weight. Clinically relevant weight change is defined as having a change of 7% of weight from the baseline in a period.
In the rare event of weight gain, people associate it with the effects of the medication. The hypothetical explanations center around:
- Changes in moods
- Improvement in cognitive function
- eating habits
- Change in resting metabolic rate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hormonal changes affecting prolactin and growth hormone
- Gastrointestinal reactions and change in gut bacteria. This may cause diarrhea and constipation.
With improvement in anxiety symptoms where one ends up feeling better, relaxed, and stress-free as a result of taking buspirone may cause weight gain. This feeling may cause an increase in appetite thus causing a change in weight. This is because anxiety affects appetite.
Thus, in some people, anxiety causes them to eat more while in others it causes them to eat less.
Anxiety also causes a change in brain activity may reduce the body regulation on appetite and meal planning. Treating anxiety also reduces the impairment of cognitive function associated with anxiety causing a possible alteration of appetite.
Some people may also experience craving of foods especially carbohydrates. This occurs due to the intake of drugs that affect the brain activity. Buspirone affects the activity of serotonin thus leading to carbohydrates craving.
Buspirone overheating may be as a result of fever as a side effect of buspirone or can be associated with serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome is a group of side effects that can occur when taking medications/ drugs that cause serotonin accumulation in the body. This is caused by taking too much or combining two medications that affect serotonin absorption in the body.
Examples of drugs/ medications that may cause serotonin syndrome include antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs, Tricyclic antidepressants, opioid pain medications, lithium, Cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and some herbal supplements like St. John’s wort, nutmeg and ginseng.
Also, some drugs used for the treatment of nausea, migraines, cough, and colds can cause serotonin syndrome if combined with another drug.
In addition to overheating, for diagnosis of serotonin syndrome, the following symptoms are accessed in addition to the history on drug use:
- Sweating profusely
- Restlessness and agitation
- Having dilated pupils
- Pounding heartbeat and rapid heart rate/ palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Loss of coordination in the muscles thus having
muscle rigidity and twitching
Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal and thus in case you feel most of those symptoms it is advisable that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss the way forward. Having seizures, overheating (temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius/ 103 degrees Fahrenheit), unconsciousness, and palpitations are some of the signs of severe serotonin syndrome and a doctor should be contacted immediately.
How does buspirone work?
Buspirone mechanism of action is that it affects both 5HT1a and 5HT2 receptors on a high and weak affinity respectively. In 5HT1a receptors, it works as a partial agonist possibly leading to the majority of the effects of the drug.
For 5HT2 receptors, it works as a weak antagonist on dopamine D2 auto-receptors.
The action on the two increases the serotonin levels in the brain especially in the amygdala and other brain areas especially the ones associated with fear. Serotonin increase in the brain causes a reduction of the fight-or-flight mode in the brain and body thus reducing anxiety.
What is buspirone dosage and best time of day to take it?
For generalized anxiety disorder the oral tablets of buspirone are taken. The strengths of the oral tablets are 5 mg, 7.5 mg. 15 mg and 30 mg.
In adults, the buspirone is taken twice or thrice a day because of the short half-life. Most psychiatrists start the patient with 5 mg tablets taken three times a day (TID). However, sometime the starting dose may not work and thus the dose may be increased progressively at 5 mg per day every two to three days.
No one should take more than 60 mg of buspirone in a day (24hours). In elderly people the maximum dose is 30 mg in a day. For the elderly, the liver and kidney function are not as effective as in adults and children and may not tolerate a very high dose.
The medication should be taken at almost the same time when the first dose was taken. Being a medication that is taken twice or thrice a day the times will always include a morning and an evening.
Food may reduce the absorption rate for buspirone but concomitant food and buspirone intake can increase its bioavailability. Therefore, it is recommended that you should either take the medication with or without food. However, the trend has to be sustained; if you take buspirone with food, then ensure you take it with food and vice versa.
In case you forget to take the medication at any time, take it as soon as possible if it is not less than 6 hours to the next dose. Do not double dose buspirone because this can lead to serious side effects.
For people who want buspirone insomnia to go away, doctors may only prescribe the morning dose. This way the drug may wear off by the time you are going to sleep.
Buspirone withdrawal symptoms
Buspirone is safe and effective even for use for a long time when used as prescribed by your doctor. It as less side effects as compared to other anxiety medications.
There is no available evidence that this medication is habit-forming. However, abrupt reduction of dosage or quitting buspirone altogether may lead to the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Stiffness in the neck
- Muscle twitching and spasms
- Mental functioning difficulty
Kindly notify the doctor before lowering the dose or before quitting buspirone.
Buspirone contraindications/Drugs interactions
This drug increases serotonin levels in the brain. Also, buspirone has some distinct side effects. Any drug that increases the serotonin levels or potentiates the side effects of buspirone should be avoided. In addition, if you have a history of hypersensitivity to buspirone then buspirone has to be avoided.
The following drugs/ medications are contraindicated when
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors: It is recommended that you avoid these drugs for 14 days before or after taking buspirone to reduce the risk of developing serotonin syndrome.
- Other antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs should be taken with direction from a doctor to prevent excessive serotonin in the body.
- Antifungal drugs like ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and vericonazole. These may increase side effects of buspirone in the body.
- Antiseizure drugs like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin may reduce the effects of buspirone in the body. This may lead to fewer effects on anxiety.
- Hypertension drugs like diltiazem and verapamil may increase the effects of buspirone in the body. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your doctor if you are taking these medications.
- Some antiretroviral drugs for HIV like ritonavir, atazanavir, darunavir, and lopinavir may increase the effects of buspirone in the body that risking side effects.
- Antibiotics like rifampin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, and telithromycin may increase the effects of buspirone in the body. This may lead to more side effects of buspirone.
- Dexamethasone may also reduce the effects of buspirone in the body thus reducing the action on anxiety. Inform your doctor if you are taking dexamethasone for the doctor to adjust the dose of buspirone accordingly.
Facts about buspirone
- Buspirone does not cure the anxiety disorder but it helps you to control the occurrence and symptoms of anxiety attacks.
- Do not take alcohol or grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking buspirone. Alcohol may interact with buspirone causing more dizziness and drowsiness.
- Do not take buspirone if you have severe kidney or liver damage. This is because this may lead to reduced elimination of the drug from the body thus leading to dangerous levels in the body.
- Only take buspirone when pregnant or when breastfeeding if the benefits far outweigh the effects and as recommended by the doctor.
- A doctor may change your medication depending on symptoms and benefits. The are other medications for anxiety that are effective, while other medications offer relief fast.