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What Are the Side Effects of Buspirone?

By Debra Durkee
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Buspirone is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety. It acts directly on the chemicals in the brain, so many of the side effects of buspirone include impacts on mental function. An individual may develop headaches or suffer from a dizzy feeling, and can also experience changes in sleep patterns.

The medication works when chemicals in the brain are produced in abnormal quantities, bringing about feelings of anxiety and restlessness. Buspirone helps restore the natural balance of these chemicals, and in doing so many have some temporary effects while the brain and body adjust to the medication. Some abnormal feelings such as nervousness and restlessness may develop as side effects of buspirone. The individual may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and experience strange or disturbing dreams, then remain tired throughout the day. He or she may also feel persistently lightheaded and dizzy, or experience vision that is temporarily blurry or double.

There may be the development of gastrointestinal distress like constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pains. In some cases, individuals have reported feeling numbness in certain areas of the body or an overall sense of physical weakness. These problems may be accompanied by fatigue and persistent drowsiness, regardless of how well the individual is sleeping.

Some of the symptoms the medication is prescribed for may temporarily worsen when the prescription is begun. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder often include feelings of being lightheaded and anxious, as well as suffering from a racing pulse. While these problems may persist or worsen, a medical professional will usually be able to give the individual an idea of when he or she should expect relief.

Rarely, serious side effects of buspirone can develop from taking the medication. Anxiety may turn to depression, indicating that the medication is interfering with other chemicals in the brain. The appearance of a rash, hives, or spots on the skin that itch are also signs of serious side effects of buspirone. If the individual loses consciousness or develops problems walking and keeping his or her balance, a medical professional will generally remove the prescription in favor of something else.

Some things can increase the instances and severity of the side effects of buspirone. Consuming the juice of citrus fruits can cause a potentially dangerous interaction with the medication, and taking buspirone with sleep aids may also cause fatigue that can be dangerous if performing tasks that require alertness. Drinking alcohol while taking the medication can also lead to increased fatigue.

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