BuSpar: Dosage & Side Effects

Instructor: Jennifer Kinder
Learn about BuSpar and what it is prescribed to treat. Identify the type of medication BuSpar is. Learn the typical dosage of BuSpar, along with the range of side effects from unpleasant to life threatening.

What is BuSpar?

Tammy has always been a worrier. However, it seems like her anxiety has gotten worse over the last few years. For the last year, she can't seem to shut her worrying off. She worries constantly about her kids, friendships, work, and finances despite having few real problems in those areas. All the worrying makes it difficult for her to concentrate on anything, especially when she's in a meeting at work. She always feels as though she's drank a pot of coffee - restless and irritable. Her muscles are always tight and achy. It's no wonder she's exhausted all the time. Aside from all the daytime tension and worry, she can't get any restful sleep at night.

Tammy can't take feeling run down anymore so she makes an appointment with her primary care doctor. Her doctor listens to her symptoms. He prescribes BuSpar to help reduce her anxiety and refers her to a psychologist to help uncover and manage the source of her anxiety.

BuSpar (generic - buspirone) is the brand name for a medication called an anxiolytic. An anxiolytic is a medication prescribed to reduce anxiety. BuSpar is approved for the treatment of GAD. GAD is an anxiety disorder where the sufferer experiences a level of anxiety so severe that it impacts his or her ability to function. In the example, Tammy's anxiety caused her problems at work and likely at home; therefore, her doctor diagnosed her with GAD. GAD is best treated with a combination of an anxiolytic, like BuSpar, and therapy. This is why Tammy's doctor prescribed medication and referred her to a psychologist.


Appropriate dosages of BuSpar range from 5mg-20mg, three times a day. Tammy's doctor likely started her on the lowest dose, 5mgs three times a day. Starting at the lowest dose allows the doctor to find the lowest effective dose possible, while reducing the likelihood of side effects or an allergic reaction. If Tammy does not see an improvement in her anxiety in 4-6 weeks, her doctor will likely slowly increase her dose. If Tammy starts having severe side effects, he might discontinue BuSpar and try another anxiolytic.

Side Effects

Side effects are symptoms a person might have when taking a medication that are separate from their therapeutic benefit. Side effects are often undesirable and unpleasant.

Side effects from BuSpar range from bothersome to life threatening. If Tammy were to experience feeling dizzy, drowsy, lightheaded, nervous, tired, restless, or have blurred vision, nausea, or sleep problems, she should let her doctor know at her next appointment. Or make an appointment if they are really bothersome.

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