What Is Buspirone HCL?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2019
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Buspirone HCL is a medication prescribed to treat anxiety. It may help alleviate symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, and constant worrying. This medication, an anxiolytic, works by acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain to help restore mental balance.

A patient will typically take buspirone HCL two to three times daily. Doctors will likely prescribe a total daily dosage of 15 milligrams (mg) initially, which may be increased as needed. The total daily dosage should be no more than 60 mg. Patients may notice an initial worsening of anxiety symptoms before their bodies adjust to the drug and the symptoms abate. The full benefit of the drug may be noticed in about four weeks.

Some side effects may occur with the use of buspirone HCL, which should be discussed with the prescribing physician if they are persistent or bothersome. Patients have experienced nausea, vomiting, and an upset stomach, along with diarrhea and constipation. General weakness, lightheadedness, and nervousness have also been reported. Some patients may experience insomnia, blurred vision, and restlessness. Drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth have also been reported.


Rarely, more serious side effects may occur from the use of buspirone HCL, which require a doctor's immediate care. Patients should seek help if they experience an irregular or rapid heartbeat, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Unusual bruising or bleeding, shakiness, and muscle stiffness may also occur. Signs of a possible allergic reaction can include a skin rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the throat, face, or tongue.

Tardive dyskinesia is a possible complication that may develop in patients who take buspirone HCL. This condition causes abnormal, uncontrollable muscle movements. These can become permanent, so patients should get medical help immediately if they notice unusual muscle movements, especially of the face and neck. For example, a patient may stick his tongue out repeatedly and involuntarily or he may make a smacking sound with his lips.

Before using buspirone HCL, patients must discuss their other medical conditions with the prescribing physician. They may be unable to take this drug if they have Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse. It may also be contraindicated for use by those who have kidney or liver disease, as well as certain drug allergies. Taking buspirone HCL while breastfeeding is not recommended. Women who are pregnant should only use this medication if there is a greater risk in not taking it.

Other medications and supplements the patient is taking should also be disclosed to the doctor. Buspirone HCL may interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), antidepressants, and antifungals. Corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, and anticonvulsants should also not be used along with this drug. In addition, patients must avoid the use of alcohol.


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