Medically reviewed by Oliinyk Elizabeth Ivanovna, PharmD. Last updated on 2020-03-20
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Buspirone hydrochloride tablets are indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.
The efficacy of buspirone hydrochloride tablets have been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials of outpatients whose diagnosis roughly corresponds to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Many of the patients enrolled in these studies also had coexisting depressive symptoms and buspirone hydrochloride tablets relieved anxiety in the presence of these coexisting depressive symptoms. The patients evaluated in these studies had experienced symptoms for periods of 1 month to over 1 year prior to the study, with an average symptom duration of 6 months. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (300.02) is described in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, III1 as follows:
Generalized, persistent anxiety (of at least 1 month continual duration), manifested by symptoms from three of the four following categories:
Shakiness, jitteriness, jumpiness, trembling, tension, muscle aches, fatigability, inability to relax, eyelid twitch, furrowed brow, strained face, fidgeting, restlessness, easy startle.
Sweating, heart pounding or racing, cold, clammy hands, dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, paresthesias (tingling in hands or feet), upset stomach, hot or cold spells, frequent urination, diarrhea, discomfort in the pit of the stomach, lump in the throat, flushing, pallor, high resting pulse and respiration rate.
Anxiety, worry, fear, rumination, and anticipation of misfortune to self or others.
Vigilance and Scanning
Hyperattentiveness resulting in distractibility, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, feeling "on edge," irritability, impatience.
The above symptoms would not be due to another mental disorder, such as a depressive disorder or schizophrenia. However, mild depressive symptoms are common in GAD.
The effectiveness of buspirone hydrochloride tablets in long-term use, that is, for more than 3 to 4 weeks, has not been demonstrated in controlled trials. There is no body of evidence available that systematically addresses the appropriate duration of treatment for GAD. However, in a study of longterm use, 264 patients were treated with buspirone hydrochloride tablets for 1 year without ill effect. Therefore, the physician who elects to use buspirone hydrochloride tablets for extended periods should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
The recommended initial dose is 15 mg daily (7.5 mg b.i.d.). To achieve an optimal therapeutic response, at intervals of 2 to 3 days the dosage may be increased 5 mg per day, as needed. The maximum daily dosage should not exceed 60 mg per day. In clinical trials allowing dose titration, divided doses of 20 mg to 30 mg per day were commonly employed.
The bioavailability of buspirone is increased when given with food as compared to the fasted state (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Consequently, patients should take buspirone in a consistent manner with regard to the timing of dosing; either always with or always without food.
When buspirone is to be given with a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, the dosage recommendations described in the DRUG INTERACTIONS section should be followed.
Buspirone hydrochloride tablets are contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to buspirone hydrochloride.
The administration of buspirone hydrochloride tablets to a patient taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) may pose a hazard. There have been reports of the occurrence of elevated blood pressure when buspirone hydrochloride tablets have been added to a regimen including an MAOI. Therefore, it is recommended that buspirone hydrochloride tablets not be used concomitantly with an MAOI.
Because buspirone hydrochloride tablets have no established antipsychotic activity, it should not be employed in lieu of appropriate antipsychotic treatment.
Interference With Cognitive And Motor Performance
Studies indicate that buspirone hydrochloride tablets are less sedating than other anxiolytics and that it does not produce significant functional impairment. However, its CNS effects in any individual patient may not be predictable. Therefore, patients should be cautioned about operating an automobile or using complex machinery until they are reasonably certain that buspirone treatment does not affect them adversely.
While formal studies of the interaction of buspirone hydrochloride with alcohol indicate that buspirone does not increase alcohol-induced impairment in motor and mental performance, it is prudent to avoid concomitant use of alcohol and buspirone.
Potential For Withdrawal Reactions In Sedative/Hypnotic/Anxiolytic Drug-Dependent Patients
Because buspirone hydrochloride tablets do not exhibit cross-tolerance with benzodiazepines and other common sedative/hypnotic drugs, it will not block the withdrawal syndrome often seen with cessation of therapy with these drugs. Therefore, before starting therapy with buspirone hydrochloride tablets, it is advisable to withdraw patients gradually, especially patients who have been using a CNS-depressant drug chronically, from their prior treatment. Rebound or withdrawal symptoms may occur over varying time periods, depending in part on the type of drug, and its effective half-life of elimination.
The syndrome of withdrawal from sedative/hypnotic/anxiolytic drugs can appear as any combination of irritability, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, flu-like symptoms without fever, and occasionally, even as seizures.
Possible Concerns Related To Buspirone’s Binding To Dopamine Receptors
Because buspirone can bind to central dopamine receptors, a question has been raised about its potential to cause acute and chronic changes in dopamine-mediated neurological function (e.g., dystonia, pseudoparkinsonism, akathisia, and tardive dyskinesia). Clinical experience in controlled trials has failed to identify any significant neuroleptic-like activity; however, a syndrome of restlessness, appearing shortly after initiation of treatment, has been reported in some small fraction of buspirone-treated patients. The syndrome may be explained in several ways. For example, buspirone may increase central noradrenergic activity; alternatively, the effect may be attributable to dopaminergic effects (i.e., represent akathisia). See ADVERSE REACTIONS: Postmarketing Experience.
Information For Patients
To assure safe and effective use of buspirone hydrochloride tablets, the following information and instructions should be given to patients:
Inform your physician about any medications, prescription or non-prescription, alcohol, or drugs that you are now taking or plan to take during your treatment with buspirone hydrochloride tablets.
Inform your physician if you are pregnant, or if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while you are taking buspirone hydrochloride tablets.
Inform your physician if you are breastfeeding an infant.
Until you experience how this medication affects you, do not drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery.
You should take buspirone hydrochloride consistently, either always with or always without food.
During your treatment with buspirone hydrochloride tablets, avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice.
There are no specific laboratory tests recommended.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
No evidence of carcinogenic potential was observed in rats during a 24 month study at approximately 133 times the maximum recommended human oral dose; or in mice, during an 18 month study at approximately 167 times the maximum recommended human oral dose.
With or without metabolic activation, buspirone did not induce point mutations in five strains of Salmonella typhimurium (Ames Test) or mouse lymphoma L5178YTK+ cell cultures, nor was DNA damage observed with buspirone in Wi-38 human cells. Chromosomal aberrations or abnormalities did not occur in bone marrow cells of mice given one or five daily doses of buspirone.
Pregnancy Category B
No fertility impairment or fetal damage was observed in reproduction studies performed in rats and rabbits at buspirone doses of approximately 30 times the maximum recommended human dose. In humans, however, adequate and well-controlled studies during pregnancy have not been performed. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Labor And Delivery
The effect of buspirone hydrochloride on labor and delivery in women is unknown. No adverse effects were noted in reproduction studies in rats.
The extent of the excretion in human milk of buspirone or its metabolites is not known. In rats, however, buspirone and its metabolites are excreted in milk. Buspirone hydrochloride tablets administration to nursing women should be avoided if clinically possible.
The safety and effectiveness of buspirone were evaluated in two placebo-controlled 6 week trials involving a total of 559 pediatric patients (ranging from 6 to 17 years of age) with GAD. Doses studied were 7.5 mg to 30 mg b.i.d. (15 to 60 mg/day). There were no significant differences between buspirone and placebo with regard to the symptoms of GAD following doses recommended for the treatment of GAD in adults. Pharmacokinetic studies have shown that, for identical doses, plasma exposure to buspirone and its active metabolite, 1-PP, are equal to or higher in pediatric patients than adults. No unexpected safety findings were associated with buspirone in these trials. There are no longterm safety or efficacy data in this population.
In one study of 6632 patients who received buspirone for the treatment of anxiety, 605 patients were ≥ 65 years old and 41 were ≥ 75 years old; the safety and efficacy profiles for these 605 elderly patients (mean age =70.8 years) were similar to those in the younger population (mean age = 43.3 years). Review of spontaneously reported adverse clinical events has not identified differences between elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older patients cannot be ruled out.
There were no effects of age on the pharmacokinetics of buspirone (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Special Populations).
Use In Patients With Impaired Hepatic Or Renal Function
Buspirone is metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidneys. A pharmacokinetic study in patients with impaired hepatic or renal function demonstrated increased plasma levels and a lengthened half-life of buspirone. Therefore, the administration of buspirone hydrochloride tablets to patients with severe hepatic or renal impairment cannot be recommended (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
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