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How Effective Is Buspirone for Anxiety?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Buspirone for anxiety can be a highly effective treatment with lower side effects and risk of dependence than other classes of medications. It was originally approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and may be used in the management of depression, temporary anxiety, and related mental health issues. Appropriate dosage can depend on how well the patient responds and it is important to increase the dose slowly over time and wait to give it a chance to work. This medication is not immediately effective, as it needs time to build up in the patient’s body.

Studies on patients with anxiety show that buspirone outperformed placebos and provided benefits to patients. Issues like sleeplessness, agitation, and panic decreased when patients took the medication. It can also be useful for patients with anxiety related to dementia and other conditions that cause cognitive decline. They can become agitated and distressed, which can make caring for them more complex. Providing buspirone for anxiety if other medications are not effective may help them maintain more stable emotional states.

Side effects from buspirone for anxiety can include dizziness, sweating, and nausea. Some patients develop rashes and an irregular heartbeat, signs of a severe reaction. If side effects are intense or do not go away after a few days, it may be necessary to discontinue and try another medication. Care providers can evaluate patients to determine if they are at increased risk of side effects, particularly those caused by drug interactions. Some psychoactive medications may not work well with buspirone for anxiety because of changes to the patient’s brain chemistry.

This anxiolytic is less likely to cause dependence than earlier classes of drugs prescribed for the same purpose. It may be preferentially recommended for this reason, as there is a desire to avoid creating drug dependence in patients if this is possible. While patients taper the dose up, they have an opportunity to determine if it causes bad reactions, and to get accustomed to the medication. It may take several weeks for buspirone for anxiety to start working.

In addition to medication, patients with anxiety may benefit from other treatments as well. These can include psychotherapy to address specific issues, exercise, and lifestyle changes to promote healthy sleeping habits and reduce stress. Patients taking buspirone for anxiety can discuss additional treatment options if they want to explore more opportunities for managing their anxiety effectively.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1001908 — On Jul 22, 2019

For me, buspirone is less effective than plain aspirin. Though I cannot take aspirin because I take a blood thinner.

By burcidi — On Jul 25, 2013

@ZipLine-- Buspirone works for generalized anxiety disorder. This is what the medication was made for. It doesn't work so well for social anxiety or for people who have panic attacks.

That's why some people say it works great and others feel that it does absolutely nothing.

By discographer — On Jul 25, 2013

@ZipLine-- Bupirone is working great for me. I'm actually taking another anti-anxiety medication in addition to busprione, but that medication was not working when my doctor added busprione to my prescription. After that, I started experiencing relief from anxiety and it must be the buspirone. I guess the best way to know would be to stop the other medication, but I don't want to do that since my current treatment is working so well.

You should talk to your doctor about this. You may need to wait longer or increase your dose to see affects.

By ZipLine — On Jul 24, 2013

I've been taking buspirone for my anxiety symptoms. I looked it up when I was first prescribed this medication and there were very good reviews of it. But I guess I'm the odd one out there because it hasn't benefited me at all. After three months, my anxiety is the same as it was before.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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