Buspirone is an anxiolytic drug, but unlike benzodiazepine anxiolytics it has no anticonvulsant or muscle relaxant properties and produces little or no sedation.
The exact mechanism of action of buspirone is unknown, but it does bind strongly to 5HT1A receptors in the brain, damping neurotransmission across serotoninergic synapses. Buspirone also binds to D2-dopamine receptors, reducing presynaptic dopamine release. About 95 percent of buspirone is protein bound and it is metabolized by the liver and excreted in the urine.
Buspirone should be stored at room temperature and protected from light.
In the United States, buspirone is a prescription drug.
This drug has not been specifically approved and labeled for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration. Much state-of-the-art information has been published on its use in cats and dogs, and it can be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.
BRAND NAMES AND OTHER NAMES
This drug is registered for use in humans only.
Human formulations: BuSpar® (Bristol-Myers Squibb)
Veterinary formulations: None
USES OF BUSPIRONE
Typical uses of buspirone include management of separation anxiety in dogs and cats, thunderstorm phobia, noise phobias and global fear.
It has also been used to treat psychogenic alopecia and urine marking in cats.
PRECAUTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Buspirone should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity to the drug. It should be avoided or used with caution in animals with significant renal or hepatic disease.
Side effects associated with buspirone include increased friendliness and playfulness. Previously timid cats may become aggressive toward other cats. Occasionally, cats treated with buspirone become excited or agitated about 30 minutes after dosing. This effect is transient but may limit buspirone’s use in patients that respond in this way.
Buspirone should not be used in association with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as L-deprenyl.
HOW BUSPIRONE IS SUPPLIED
Buspirone is available in 5 mg, 10 mg and 30 mg tablets.
The typical daily dose of buspirone in dogs is 5 to 10 mg per dog, every 8 to 12 hours.
Buspirone has been administered to cats at an initial dose of 2.5 to 10 mg per cat every 12 hours.
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