Registered Nurse (RN)
Pharmacological Nursing
Anxiolytics and Hypnotics
Buspirone (Buspar)

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Buspirone (Buspar)

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Buspirone (Buspar)

Buspirone (Buspar) is an anxiolytic psychotropic medication that partially binds and activates serotonin, dopamine, and other neurologic receptors. This activation results in anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. Buspirone is indicated for treating anxiety disorders and providing short-term relief from symptoms of anxiety. Unlike benzodiazepines, this drug does not lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Side effects may include dizziness, headache, and sleepiness. The antidote for buspirone overdose is activated charcoal given promptly. Blood levels of the medication can be increased with the ingestion of grapefruit juice, so patients should be taught to avoid it.
Increases Serotonin
Up-arrow Silver-tonic

Buspirone (Buspar) is a serotonin agonist and functions as an anxiolytic by partially binding to serotonin receptors. This results in increased serotonin levels. Decreased levels of serotonin are associated with anxiety and depression. By increasing serotonin levels, buspirone results in anxiolytic and antidepressive effects.


Decreased serotonin levels may result in anxiety. Although the exact mechanism of relieving anxiety remains unknown, Buspirone has a high affinity to the binding sites of serotonin receptors and leads to increased serotonin levels.


Since buspirone may result in orthostatic hypotension, patients can experience dizziness. The patient should be advised to rise slowly from a sitting or lying position.


Buspirone binds to serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates the sleep cycle. Since buspirone affects serotonin levels, the medication may cause sleep disorders including insomnia.

Delayed Effect

Buspirone initially takes a week to take effect. The medication takes 2-4 weeks before responses peak and alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Due to its delayed therapeutic effect, buspirone is not recommended for PRN administration or patients requiring immediate relief of symptoms of anxiety.

Safer with Alcohol than Other Anxiolytics
No Interaction with Alcoholic-martini

Buspirone has a low abuse potential and is an appropriate anxiolytic option for individuals with a history of substance abuse. Unlike benzodiazepines and barbiturates, this drug does not carry severe reactions with alcohol. Some interaction is possible, with some patients reporting increased sedation or fatigue when these drugs are used concomitantly.

Low Side Effect Profile
No Interaction with CNS-brain

Buspirone targets serotonin receptors and does not depress the central nervous system, and therefore has no muscle relaxant or anticonvulsant effects. This drug can cause fatigue or drowsiness, however.

Low Abuse Potential
Missing Low Abuser

Buspirone is a drug of choice in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder because the medication lacks physical dependence and tolerance. Buspirone’s low abuse potential is appropriate for individuals with tendencies of alcohol or drug dependency.


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