The usual starting dose of buspirone is 10 to 15 mg per day. This total amount is divided into two or three doses during the day. For example, a dose of 5 mg may be given two or three times per day to make a total dose of 10 to 15 mg per day. The dose may be increased in increments of 5 mg daily every two to four days. Most patients will respond to a dose of 15 to 30 mg daily. Patients should not take a total dose of more than 60 mg daily. When patients are receiving certain other drugs (see below) in addition to buspirone, starting doses of buspirone may need to be lowered (for example, 2.5 mg twice daily), and any dosage increases should be done with caution and under close physician supervision. Dosages may need to be reduced in patients with kidney or liver problems.
Buspirone is less sedating (causes less drowsiness and mental sluggishness) than other anti-anxiety drugs. However, some patients may still experience drowsiness and mental impairment. Because it is impossible to predict which patients may experience sedation with buspirone, those starting this drug should not drive or operate dangerous machinery until they know how the drug will affect them.
Patients who have been taking benzodiazepines for a long time should be gradually withdrawn from them while they are being switched over to buspirone. They should also be observed for symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Patients with kidney damage should take buspirone with caution in close consultation with their physician. They may require a lower dosage of buspirone to prevent buildup of the drug in the body. Patients with severe kidney disease should not take buspirone. Patients with liver damage should likewise be monitored for a buildup of buspirone and have their doses lowered if necessary.
Jack Raber Pharm.D., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,