Buspirone is a drug available only by prescription to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Buspirone is not at all pharmacologically or chemically related to benzodiazepines or other sedative drugs. The effectiveness in treating generalized anxiety disorder has been well-established for buspirone, but how does it work in the brain?
How Buspirone Works In The Brain (Method Of Action)
Buspirone comes from the azapirone class of medications, and these include other antipsychotic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications. Buspirone affects the neurotransmitters in our brain that include dopamine and serotonin. It is specifically a serotonin receptor agonist, which indicates it increases action on serotonin receptors. The effect is meant to alleviate your worst anxiety symptoms.
Buspirone is commonly prescribed in conjunction with other medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat anxiety or depression. It is not always used as a first-line treatment.
Buspirone may also be prescribed when other medications prove ineffective or contain too many side effects. The drug is most commonly prescribed by doctors to treat generalized anxiety disorder.
How To Use Buspirone
You should always consult with a physician to determine proper dosage, but the medication must be taken consistently with or without food. Your doctor will likely have you taking the drug two or three times a day.
The initial dose will be low and will be increased by 5 mg every two to three days before reaching the peak. Most patients will notice results of around 15 to 30 mg. The drug is slow-acting, and it will likely take several weeks before you feel the effects.
As you get into a routine of using buspirone, your doctor will monitor your results to see how you respond to the medication. It will allow them to pinpoint an optimal length of time that you should use buspirone.
In most scenarios, the medication is used for several months, but in some cases, it may last up to a year. When your doctor decides that you should stop using buspirone, they will gradually reduce your dose, which helps avoid the potential side effect of withdrawal.
Who Shouldn’t Use Buspirone?
Buspirone should not be taken by individuals who have a hypersensitivity to the medication. Drug hypersensitivity refers to immune-mediated reactions to a drug, which causes symptoms that range from mild to severe. In the event of hypersensitivity, your doctor will discontinue treatment immediately.
Buspirone should also be taken with caution in those with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised liver function. Enzymes mediate the removal of buspirone in the liver, and there may increase blood concentrations of the drug if the liver does not function normally. Since buspirone can affect blood glucose levels, it may be problematic for those with diabetes.
Nursing mothers should not take buspirone since the drug could potentially leak into breast milk. There is not enough evidence to determine if it is safe during pregnancy, as it has not been studied adequately.