What is Buspirone?
An FDA-approved prescription drug called buspirone is used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders as well as the symptoms of acute anxiety.
It is a member of the anxiolytic, nonbenzodiazepine, antianxiety agent pharmacological class. It works by altering the concentrations of certain organic compounds in the brain.
Buspirone is available as an oral tablet that is typically taken twice day, always with or always without meals. Each buspirone prescription varies based on your requirements, so ask your doctor and pharmacist to explain it to you.
Never take more or less buspirone than what is recommended.
Buspirone is still accessible as a generic medication even though its brand name, BuSpar, has been phased out in the US.
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What is Xanax?
The FDA has authorized the prescription drug Xanax (Alprazolam) for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, and anxiety brought on by depression.
Antianxiety agents and anxiolytics are a class of anti-anxiety drugs that includes Xanax. However, Xanax is regarded as a benzodiazepine as opposed to buspirone (benzo).
Oral tablets are another form of Xanax. Similar to buspirone, you should discuss the optimal prescription with your doctor and pharmacist.
Similarities Between Buspirone and Xanax
The symptoms and problems associated with anxiety may be effectively treated with both buspirone and Xanax. They are often given for social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
The presence of excessive anxiety or concern for at least six months is a sign of GAD. Some people may endure GAD symptoms for more than six months, which may negatively affect both their physical and mental health.
Fortunately, Xanax as well as buspirone may be used to treat the following symptoms, among others:
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heart palpitations
- Chest tightness
- Sleep disturbances
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Differences Between Buspirone and Xanax
Both anti-anxiety medications are effective, but they approach anxiety differently.
Serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain are altered by buspirone. A molecule called serotonin is important for several bodily processes, including mood, sleep, digestion, and sexual desire. A neurotransmitter called dopamine is involved in bodily processes including memory, locomotion, pleasure, and motivation.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in your brain, is enhanced by the drug Xanax. This neurotransmitter reduces excessive brain activity, which is often linked to mental problems like anxiety.
The key distinction between Xanax and buspirone is that the former is a benzodiazepine while the latter is not. Benzodiazepines have sedative properties.
However, compared to benzodiazepines and barbiturates, nonbenzodiazepines like buspirone have a tendency to be more selective. They might thus provide more relief with little to no sedative, anticonvulsant, or amnestic side effects.
Side Effects of Buspirone
Buspirone may have some adverse effects. Some side effects of buspirone include but are not limited to:
- Blurred vision
- Impaired concentration
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Upset stomach
- Feelings of nervousness or excitement
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
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Side Effects of Xanax
Some common side effects of Xanax include, but are not limited to:
- Racing thoughts
- Increased energy
- Dry mouth
- Muscle spasms
- Convulsions (seizures)
- Pounding heartbeats
- Heart fluttering
- Memory problems
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Suicidal thoughts
Is Buspirone or Xanax More Effective?
Xanax and buspirone are regarded as effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
In order to treat depression, buspirone may also be used with antidepressants. Panic attacks are often treated with Xanax.
One of these drugs may be preferred above the other by a doctor, depending on the patient and their level of anxiety condition.
For instance, if your anxiety causes you to have trouble sleeping, your doctor may recommend buspirone rather than Xanax since it doesn’t have the same calming effect. Buspirone doesn’t make patients feel as exhausted as Xanax, according to studies.
On the other hand, your doctor can decide to recommend buspirone rather than Xanax if you have a history of addiction. This is due to the potential for addiction and habit formation with long-term benzodiazepine usage, such that of Xanax.
Buspirone does not exhibit the same withdrawal symptoms as Xanax, according to studies.
Xanax Drug Interactions
Xanax may also negatively interact with other drugs that can make you tired, such as:
- Other sedatives
- Narcotic pain medicine
- Muscle relaxers
- Medicine for seizures or depression
- Sleeping pills
- Blood pressure and other heart medications
If you’re taking medications that may interact with Xanax, your doctor might prescribe you buspirone instead.
Buspirone Drug Interactions
Taking buspirone alongside monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can be potentially fatal.
MAO inhibitors include:
- Methylene blue
Buspirone may also negatively interact with other drugs, such as:
- Medicines that slow down the removal of buspirone from your body
- Medicines that speed up the removal of buspirone from your body
- Medicines that cause drowsiness
- Muscle relaxants
- Sleep medication
Can You Take Buspirone & Xanax Together?
Taking Buspirone and Xanax together can exacerbate their side effects. It’s important to consult your doctor about drug interactions with your Buspirone or Xanax prescription.
Seek medical advice from your healthcare provider immediately if side effects worsen.
- Buspirone should not be used within 14 days of MAOIs, including selegiline, phenelzine, rasagiline, or tranylcypromine
- Do not drive or operate machinery after taking buspirone
- No one with kidney or liver problems should use buspirone
- Buspirone is sometimes prescribed to pregnant women (talk to your healthcare provider to discuss whether or not Buspirone is recommended for you)
- Xanax has a Black Box Warning, which is the strongest warning administered by the FDA
- Xanax should not be taken with opioids due to severe adverse effects, including extreme sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death
- Xanax has a high risk for physical and psychological dependence
- When you stop using Xanax, develop a plan with your doctor to taper off, or severe withdrawal symptoms may occur
- Patients with lung problems such as sleep apnea or COPD should use Xanax with caution
- Pregnant women should not use Xanax
Consult your doctor before taking buspirone or Xanax. Give them your complete health history to determine if these medications are right for you.
Buspirone vs. Xanax FAQs
Is buspirone or Xanax better?
Both drugs have been shown to treat anxiety equally. However, buspirone may cause less drowsiness and sedation.
Your doctor can help you decide whether buspirone or Xanax is right for you.
Can I take buspirone or Xanax while drinking alcohol?
No. Neither buspirone nor Xanax can be taken while drinking alcohol. These combinations can be dangerous and even deadly.
Alcohol in combination with buspirone or Xanax can lead to central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory depression. CNS and respiratory depression can lead to coma or death.
Can I take buspirone while pregnant?
Buspirone, when studied on animals, showed no harm to the fetus. Unfortunately, there are no adequate studies to show the effects on pregnancies.
Buspirone should only be taken while pregnant under the guidance of your OB/GYN and only if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Can I take Xanax while pregnant?
Taking Xanax while pregnant can seriously harm the baby. You should not take Xanax while pregnant. If you are on Xanax and become pregnant, speak with your OB/GYN immediately.
How long does it take for buspirone to kick in?
Buspirone does not work immediately and usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to kick in. Some people report not feeling relief for 4 to 6 weeks.
How long does it take for Xanax to kick in?
Once taken orally, Xanax usually kicks in between 5 to 10 minutes. However, most people will feel the full effects of Xanax within an hour.
Will buspirone make you sleep better?
Buspirone is a nonbenzodiazepine, so it should not have a sedative effect. However, if you feel less anxious because of buspirone, you may notice that you’re getting better sleep.