Powered by Google

Sorry, something went wrong and the translator is not available.

Sorry, something went wrong with the translation request.

loading Translating

Buspirone Hydrochloride (Buspar)
Revised: May 27, 2024
Published: November 18, 2002

(For veterinary information only)

The size of the tablet/medication is NOT an indication of a proper dose. Never administer any drug without your veterinarian's input. Serious side effects or death can occur if you use drugs on your pet without your veterinarian's advice. 

It is our policy not to give dosing information over the internet.

Brand Name: Buspar

Available in 5 mg, 7 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 30 mg tablets


Relieving anxiety is an area of human medicine that has received a great deal of pharmaceutical attention. In the beginning, there were only tranquilizers, such as diazepam (Valium®), which were helpful but also addictive and had undesirable drowsiness side effects. The development of non-addictive, non-sedating medications to relieve anxiety (called anxiolytic drugs) has been an important area of pharmacology in the last 20 years. The development of buspirone, a member of the azaperone class of anxiolytics, stems from this research. Buspirone is able to relieve anxiety with minimal sedation, minimal muscle relaxation, and no addiction potential.

In veterinary medicine, buspirone has been especially helpful in the treatment of stress-related urine marking in cats. Prior to the use of diazepam as mentioned, strong female hormones (progestins) had been the favored treatment. Happily, diazepam was free from the unpleasant side effects of hormone therapy, but, unfortunately, the problem behavior typically returned when the diazepam was discontinued. When buspirone was used, a sustained effect was seen such that after an eight-week course, medication could be discontinued, in many cases permanently, without recurrence of urine marking.

How this Medication is Used

Buspirone requires several weeks to achieve effectiveness. Single doses would not be expected to be effective. It is not a helpful drug for panic-like syndromes (like thunderstorm phobias) either in humans or in animals, but it is effective for more generalized anxiety. As mentioned, the usual use is for urine-marking in cats but it can also be used to relieve anxiety in timid cats who are bullied by more dominant cats.

Buspirone is usually given 2-3 times daily. Buspirone can be given with or without food.

If a dose is skipped accidentally, do not double up on the next dose. Simply give the next dose at the regular time.

Side Effects

The most commonly observed side effect with this medication is an increase in affectionate behavior in cats.  This may not sound problematic but some owners complain of not being able to sleep through the aggressive purring and rubbing. Any drug that modifies behavior has potential to reduce a cat’s inhibitions thus making other behavioral changes, including aggression, possible.

Side effects that have been reported by humans taking buspirone include: nausea, headache, dizziness, appetite loss, and restlessness.

A serious drop in blood pressure can result when buspirone is combined with medications that treat high blood pressure, including diuretics. A similar reaction can occur when buspirone is combined with either prazosin or phenoxybenzamine.

Buspirone should not be used with metoclopramide (neurologic reactions).

Interactions with other Drugs

Buspirone should not be used in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as L- Deprenyl, a medication mostly used against canine cognitive dysfunction, or Amitraz, a tick-killing ingredient common in many flea and tick products. Dangerous episodes of high blood pressure (serotonin syndrome) can result when these medications are used in conjunction. Anther medication that can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome is the appetite stimulant mirtazapine.

Concurrent use of buspirone with sedating medications (antihistamines, certain pain relievers, tranquilizing anti-anxiety medications) will have increased potential to cause sedation.

The following medications can increase the blood levels of buspirone thus increasing the potential for side effects:

Concerns and Cautions

  • Buspirone tablets should be stored in a way that protects them from light exposure.

  • This medication should be used cautiously in patients with either liver or kidney disease.

  • Buspirone has not been shown to be safe for use in pregnancy. It definitely crosses into the mammary gland and can be passed to nursing young.

The content of this site is owned by Veterinary Information Network (VIN®), and its reproduction and distribution may only be done with VIN®'s express permission.

The information contained here is for general purposes only and is not a substitute for advice from your veterinarian. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.

Links to non-VIN websites do not imply a recommendation or endorsement by VIN® of the views or content contained within those sites.