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Of the class azaspirones, unrelated to benzodiazepines but indicated in the short term management of generalised anxiety disorder.

It does not cause sedation or cognitive impairment, probably has low risk of dependence and withdrawal problems (1).

It is not a hypnotic and only affects sleep as underlying anxiety comes under control. It may have antidepressant activity. It does not potentiate the sedative effects of alcohol.

  • in normal doses it does not usually have a marked sedative effect, and people are thought to be less likely to become dependent on buspirone than they are on benzodiazepine medicines. Its action is not fully understood, but this drug appears to work via effects on serotonin receptors in the brain. In this respect it is like an SSRI antidepressant, rather than a benzodiazepine (2)


  • Prescribers Journal (1992), 32, 5.
  • Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. Buspirone (accessed 11/6/2014).

Last reviewed 01/2018