Multiple studies have found that the anxiolytic medication buspirone is not only effective medicine for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but it is just as effective as benzodiazepines, without the risk of physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms.
This is great news for those who can not take benzodiazepines due to the risk of addiction and abuse.
Though buspirone is sometimes prescribed alone for the treatment of anxiety, many patients have found it to be beneficial when used in conjunction with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.
When an SSRI is effective at treating depression, however, is not quite cutting it with the anxiety, sometimes buspirone is added to help decrease any breakthrough or additional anxiety.
Not only can buspirone help reduce additional anxiety, but it has also been found to be effective at alleviating some of the sexual side effects that can be caused by SSRIs. In fact, when added to an SSRI, buspirone can boost sexual drive, and arousal, and restore the ability to orgasm.
Some of the other benefits of buspirone are:
It is inexpensive.
The tablets can be split for easy dosage changes.
It doesn’t cause as much drowsiness as other anxiety medications.
Of course, like all medications, buspirone is not exempt from having side effects. The most common one is typically dizziness. Some estimate that more than 10% of people taking buspirone experience dizziness, however, this side effect usually lessens after a few weeks.
Some of the other common side effects of buspirone are:
Fatigue or weakness
Though many of these side effects will pass as the body adjusts to the medication, it is important to let your doctor know if you are experiencing any of them, as it could be a sign that you need a dosage adjustment, or that the medication just isn’t the right one for you.
Another aspect of buspirone that can be troubling for some, is that it needs to be taken 2-3 times a day. At this time it is not available in an extended-release form, so for people who have trouble remembering to take their medicine, buspirone might not be the best fit.
Just like with any psychiatric medication, sometimes more serious side effects may be experienced with buspirone. Contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of the following side effects while taking buspirone:
Cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or congestive heart failure
Eye pain or pressure
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Though buspirone is effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, it takes time to begin to work. Just like another commonly used anxiety disorder medication, SSRIs. However, unlike SSRIs which can take 4-6 weeks to take effect, buspirone usually begins to work within 2-3 weeks. Therefore if it proves to be the right fit for you, it may be worth the wait.
If you are interested in finding out if buspirone could be helpful to you as part of your treatment plan, please call us today to schedule an appointment and discuss this option with one of our experts.
Finding the right medication or combination of medications can be challenging, but it’s part of the process. The most important thing to remember when taking any medication is to do so under the guidance of your treatment provider while being open and honest about any fears, concerns, or side effects. By working together, we will find the treatment that works best for you.