Buspirone (also known as BuSpar) is an anxiolytic drug approved by the FDA in 1986 for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It is not related at all to the benzodiazepines, and belongs to a family of drugs called the azapirones. Alcohol does not interact dangerously with buspirone, and it may also be useful in reducing cravings for alcohol. It is often prescribed to those with a history of addiction, and can possibly decrease cravings for nicotine.

Buspirone hydrochloride is a white crystalline, water soluble chemical with the formula 21H31N5O2. It is administered in 5 or 10mg tablets, and the most common dosage is 15mg per day. The antianxiety effect may be caused by the drug itself, its metabolite 1-2-pyrimidinyl piperazine, or both.

Chemical structure:

                             H H  H H         H
                              \|  |/         /
                        H      C--C      N==C
                         \    /    \    /    \
    H  H H H H O   H  H   C--N      N--C      C--H
    |  |/  |/ //    \  \ / \  \    /   \\    //
 H--C--C   C--C  H   C--C   H  C--C      N--C
    |   \ /    \  \ / \  \    /|  |\         \
    |    C      N--C   H  H  H H  H H         H
    |   / \    /    \
 H--C--C   C--C      H
    |  |\  |\ \\
    H  H H H H O

BuSpar (Buspirone hydrochloride) is a drug primarily used to treat anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder. It is also sometimes used in conjunction with anti-depressants to treat anxiety symptoms resulting from depression.

The chemical, buspirone hydrochloride, has an empirical formula of C21H31N5O2-HCl and it is a white crystalline substance when in solid form that easily dissolves in water. The IUPAC name is 8-[4-[4-(2-pyrimidinyl)-1-piperazinyl] butyl]-8-azaspiro [4,5] decane-7,9- dione monohydrochloride and the molecular weight is about 422.0. The structure is:


                             H H  H H         H
                              \|  |/         /
                        H      C--C      N==C
                         \    /    \    /    \
    H  H H H H O   H  H   C--N      N--C      C--H
    |  |/  |/ //    \  \ / \  \    /   \\    //
 H--C--C   C--C  H   C--C   H  C--C      N--C
    |   \ /    \  \ / \  \    /|  |\         \
    |    C      N--C   H  H  H H  H H         H
    |   / \    /    \
 H--C--C   C--C      H
    |  |\  |\ \\
    H  H H H H O

Pills of BuSpar are meant to be taken orally and in addition to the 5 or 10 mg of buspirone hydrochloride in the tablet there is also colloidal silicon dioxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. Like many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, it comes in a ovoid-rectangle pill which is scored down the center for easy splitting. Both size doses are white in color. Buspirone hydrochloride is unique among anti-anxiety drugs since it's chemically different from benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other sedative/anxiolytic drugs. It is not known how buspirone hydrochloride relieves the symptoms of anxiety, although it is known it does not doesn't employ the usual methods of working against convulsions or muscle relaxation and the often accompanying sedation. Bristol-Myers Squibb speculates that the drug reduces seratonin levels in your brain to bring them back to normal.

The drug is often initially started with 5 mg of buspirone hydrochloride 3 times a day with an upper limit of 60 mg per day. Bristol-Myers Squibb manufactures the pills and there are currently not any generic alternatives available. The effects should be felt after 2-4 weeks of regular administration with both emotional and physical anxiety symptoms decreasing as time goes on. Possible side effects include:

Before starting BuSpar be sure to mention to your doctor medications you take, as special anti-depressants known as MAO inhibitors should not be taken with it. Drinking alcohol while on BuSpar is unadvised as BuSpar can intensify the effects of alcohol.



Personal Experiences

As someone who has had a number of negative experiences with mood-altering prescription drugs, I'm hesitant to recommend any of them to anyone. That said, BuSpar was the only one I felt didn't negatively affect me. As a child it was suspected some of my assumed depression was due to anxiety and so I was placed on BuSpar (without knowledge of why) in conjunction with my current SSRI (prozac) to see if it would help alleviate the symptoms. While I don't remember any marked improvement, I defiantly don't remember any new side effects or problems. As with any drug, your mileage may vary and it's a decision that should be made between you and your doctor with care.

Sources:
Personal Experience
Anxiety Relief Disorder. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. 21 July 2004 %lt;http://www.buspar.com/>.
Buspar Online. RxList. 21 July 2004 <http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic/buspir.htm>.

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