Buspar for OCD


Buspirone, trade name Buspar, is an anxiolytic psychoactive drug primarily used to treat mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It works best for people who do not experience panic attacks. It’s been around since 1986 and the patent expired in 2001 so there are now generics available.

While it may be used off label to treat other types of anxiety disorders, social phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder, it has not received FDA approval for those uses. Additionally, buspirone is often used to augment a primary drug, usually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), in cases of depression and also OCD. It is contraindicated for use with MAO inhibitors.

Studies in the late 1980s showed that buspirone was helpful when used with fluoxetine for people with OCD. A study from 1992 was aimed at discovering whether it also worked as an adjust agent in combination with clomipramine specifically for OCD. In that study, patients received clomipramine for three months and then drug therapy was augmented with buspirone for ten weeks. While on clomipramine the group had shown a reduction of OCD symptoms of 28%. The buspirone was tolerated well by the people in the study, but their symptoms did not collectively reduce any further. However, for four of the 14 individuals studied, their symptoms fell an additional 25%. The study showed that while doctors can’t make generalizations about the efficacy of the buspirone in combination with antidepressants, specifically clomipramine, there are individuals who will benefit significantly from the drug combo.

Some side effects include dizziness, nausea, headache, nervousness, lightheadedness and excitement.

Source: pubmed.gov, camh.net

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