Mental Health Home > Buspirone

Buspirone is a medication that is used for treating anxiety. By affecting certain chemicals in the brain (serotonin and dopamine), the drug can help improve symptoms of anxiety disorders. Buspirone is available by prescription and comes in the form of a tablet that is generally taken two to three times a day. Potential side effects include headache, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness.

What Is Buspirone?

Buspirone hydrochloride (BuSpar®) is a prescription anxiety medication. It is approved for the short-term treatment of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders.
(Click What Is Buspirone Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Buspirone?

It is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Generic buspirone is made by several different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Buspirone is not related to any other anxiety medications. Unlike most anxiety medications, it is not useful for preventing seizures, relaxing muscles, or treating insomnia. It is not known exactly how buspirone works to treat anxiety, although it is known that it affects several chemicals in the brain. In particular, buspirone likely affects serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

When and How Do I Take It?

General considerations for when and how to take buspirone include the following:
  • The medication comes in tablet form. It is taken by mouth, usually two to three times daily.
  • Because food can affect the way your body absorbs buspirone, you should take the drug consistently (either always with food or always without) every day.
  • It should be taken at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
  • Buspirone 15 mg and 30 mg tablets are specially designed to be able to split easily into half or in thirds. However, many people find that a "pill splitter" is necessary to accurately split these tablets into halves or thirds, since they often split in the wrong places.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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