Mental health medication

Provided by You Health for patients

Generic for BuSpar® (Buspirone)

In this medication overview
  1. Usage

    How to get the most out of your treatment

  2. Warnings

    Important safety information

  3. Side Effects

    What to look out for when using your treatment

Buspirone is a prescription medicine used to treat certain anxiety disorders or for the short term relief of anxiety symptoms.


  1. To get started, follow your provider's dosing instructions
    If you are not already taking buspirone, your provider will likely want you to begin by taking a starting dose twice per day for the first 7 days. This may require you to break your pill in half using your hands or an inexpensive pill cutter that can be found at most pharmacies. If your pill splits a bit unevenly, that's okay. Be sure to follow the instructions your provider sent to help your body safely adjust to buspirone.
  2. Missed a dose?
    If you miss a dose of buspirone, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.
  3. Take as prescribed
    Do not abruptly stop taking buspirone without first checking with your healthcare provider, even when you feel better. Abruptly stopping can cause discontinuation symptoms including: vomiting, irritability, dizziness, headaches, sensation of tingling skin, or trouble sleeping. If you choose to stop treatment, guidelines recommend a short taper of your medication between 2 weeks and 4 weeks, reducing your dose in half each week until you are out of medication. Studies have shown that a taper can reduce possible discontinuation symptoms. Your healthcare provider can provide individualized guidance for tapering your medication.
  4. Monitor for improvements
    You may experience some improvement within the first 1-2 weeks of treatment, but may need up to 6-8 weeks to experience the full benefits.


Do not take Buspirone if you:
  • Are allergic to buspirone, or any of the ingredients in buspirone
  • Have severe liver or kidney problems
  • Have benzodiazepine dependence
  • Take any medicines called monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), or if you have stopped taking and MAOI in the last 14 days including isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine
  • Take other medication that may cause an increase in serotonin levels such as linezolid, methylene blue, tryptophan
Before you take Buspirone, tell your healthcare provider if you:
  • Have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • Have a history of psychiatric or medical problems, including bipolar disorder
  • Have taken any medication in the past for your condition, whether effective or not
  • Have suffered adverse or side effects from previous medication therapies
  • Are receiving any non-medication treatment, such as talk therapy
  • Drink alcohol or use/abuse recreational or prescription drugs
  • Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
Inform your healthcare provider
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements, and recreational drugs.
Until you experience how this medication affects you, do not drive a car, operate potentially dangerous machinery, or perform other dangerous activities.
  • You should take buspirone consistently, either always with or always without food.
  • During your treatment with buspirone, avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication.
Buspirone may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect the way Fluoxetine works, causing side effects. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following:
  • Psychotropic agents, including haloperidol (Haldol®)
  • Certain antihypertensives: diltiazem (Cardizem®, Cartia®, Tiazac®) or verapamil (Calan®, Isoptin SR®, Verelan®)
  • Erythromycin
  • Certain antifungals including itraconazole or ketoconazole
  • Nefazodone
  • Rifampin
  • CYP3A4 inducers: dexamethasone or certain anticonvulsants (phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine)
  • CYP3A4 inhibitors: ritonavir
Other Interactions
  • Grapefruit juice - Drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice may cause an increase in the concentration of buspirone in your plasma.
Watch for changes in behavior
Patients, their families, and caregivers should be alert to the emergence of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness and insomnia. If these symptoms emerge, they should be reported to the patient’s prescriber or healthcare provider. All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should watch for and notify their healthcare provider for worsening symptoms, suicidality and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment.
The safety of this medication during pregnancy has not been evaluated. If you become pregnant or decide to try to conceive, please alert your provider who will direct you to follow up with your primary care provider or OBGYN for continued management.
Avoid alcohol
Drinking alcohol while taking mental health medication is not advised because alcohol can worsen depression. It can also increase the side effects of some medications, such as drowsiness, dizziness and coordination problems. It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol while taking your medication, especially if you will be driving, operating dangerous machinery, or participating in dangerous activities.
Avoid cannabis use
Using cannabis products can worsen depression and increase the side effects of some medications, such as drowsiness, dizziness and coordination problems. It is recommended to avoid cannabis use while taking your medication, especially if you will be driving, operating dangerous machinery, or participating in dangerous activities.
Medication disposal

If you no longer need your medication, the best way to dispose of most types of old, unused, unwanted, or expired medicines (both prescription and over the counter) is to drop off the medicine at a drug take back site, location, or program immediately. You can use the DEA DIVERSION CONTROL DIVISION LOOKUP to find your nearest drug disposal site.

If no drug take back sites, locations, or programs are available in your area, and there are no specific disposal instructions (such as flushing) in the medication guide or package insert, you can visit FDA- Disposal of Unused Medicines for more information or follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in your trash at home:
  • Mix medicines (liquid or pills; do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unappealing substance such as dirt, cat litter, or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;
  • Throw away the container in your trash at home; and
  • Delete all personal information on the prescription label of empty medicine bottles or medicine packaging, then trash or recycle the empty bottle or packaging.

Side Effects:

Buspirone can cause serious side effects and should be reported to your provider immediately. Rarely reported side effects include:
  • Chest pain
  • Restlessness or an inability to remain still
  • Involuntary or uncontrolled movements of the body
  • Hostility or depression
  • Rash, hives, swelling, or trouble breathing
  • Serotonin syndrome (symptoms may include shivering, diarrhea, confusion, severe muscle tightness, fever, seizures, and death)
During treatment with this medication, common side effects of this medication may go away as your body adjusts to the medication. The most common side effects of Buspirone are:
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Excitement
  • Mild congestion
Where to find more side effects information
For more information, read the drug information that comes with your medication, ask your healthcare provider, or ask your pharmacist.