BuSpar is the brand name for the prescription drug buspirone. It is used almost exclusively for the treatment of anxiety disorders. One of the major benefits of taking BuSpar is that although it is an anti-anxiety medication, unlike other popular anti-anxiety medications (like benzodiazepines), BuSpar is not potentially habit forming.
BuSpar is prescribed primarily from those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.8 million Americans suffer from GAD. Symptoms of GAD include excessive worrying, inability to relax, insomnia and difficulty in concentration. BuSpar may be prescribed for people who are suffering from anxiety who cannot take benzodiazepines due to the possibility of addiction. BuSpar is in a class of drugs called azapirones. BuSpar is not fast-acting; the NIMH reports that BuSpar can take up to 2 weeks to take effect.
BuSpar works on the serotonin receptor in the brain and thus eases symptoms of anxiety. People with anxiety should begin to feel the effects within 1 to 2 weeks; however, Dr. Brian Brennan of McLean Hospital warns that the full effects of BuSpar may not be achieved for 4 to 6 weeks.
When BuSpar was first approved by the FDA in 1986 as a treatment for anxiety, it was a major medical breakthrough because up until then, there were no anti-anxiety medications except benzodiazepines. Anxiety disorders take many different forms, and for some people, fast-acting medication is necessary (for example, those suffering from panic attacks). However, when anxiety is the GAD type, BuSpar is a welcome alternative for those who need relief from anxiety and yet cannot or do not want to risk addiction.
BuSpar comes in pills containing 5, 10 or 15 mg. A form of BuSpar called Buspar Dividose is scored and meant to be broken into one or more doses.
Typical BuSpar side effects include drowsiness, upset stomach and restlessness. More serious side effects for people who may be allergic to BuSpar include difficulty breathing and swelling. Talk to your doctor about other side effects that may occur while taking BuSpar.
People who are taking BuSpar should not eat grapefruits or drink grapefruit juice; this can seriously interact with the drug. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctors before taking BuSpar. BuSpar also interacts with drugs including Thorazine, Haldol and some antibiotics. Always tell your doctor about all drugs, over-the-counter medicines and herbs you are taking when you are prescribed BuSpar.