6 Facts about the Safety and Efficacy of Buspirone and Pregnancy

Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Dr. Ash Bhatt Reviewed by Dr. Ash Bhatt
0 sources cited

Anxiety is a natural response when you feel overwhelmed, threatened or endangered.

This response should last until the event causing the anxiety is over. If it lasts more than three weeks and interferes with daily life, it can become a mental health problem.

Pregnancy is an overwhelming event in a woman’s life, causing significant physiological changes and hormonal fluctuations. These physical changes, plus the fears for the health of the unborn child, parenthood and apprehensions about intimate relationships, can lead to increased stress and anxiety.

Anxiety is a prevalent complication affecting up to 20.7% of women during pregnancy. To help expectant mothers navigate this episode, healthcare professionals sometimes prescribe medications to manage anxiety. Buspirone is one such medication considered generally safe to use while gestating. Read on for professional perspectives surrounding the use of Buspirone and pregnancy.

What is Buspirone?

Trade name: Buspar® (discontinued)

Generic name: Buspirone

Buspar®, the trade name of Buspirone, is an FDA-approved medication primarily prescribed for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and, to a lesser extent, for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Classified as an anxiolytic, Buspirone has a comparatively small list of contraindications, and unlike benzodiazepines, it does not have sedative effects.

However, further research is still needed to understand its mechanism and medical implications. This premise is especially true for pregnant women as this drug may come with Buspar side effects. Yet, Buspirone can be prescribed during pregnancy as recent studies found that Buspirone and pregnancy is generally safe and is not linked to congenital malformations.

6 Facts about the Safety and Efficacy of Buspirone during Pregnancy

1. Limited Research on Buspirone Use during Pregnancy

Many pregnant patients often wonder, ‘Can I take buspirone while pregnant ?’ Well, It’s always sensible to remember that research on the use of Buspirone during pregnancy is not as extensively studied as other pharmaceutical interventions.

The absence of conclusive research stems from ethical considerations that often preclude randomized controlled trials involving pregnant women due to potential risks to the developing fetus. Consequently, existing evidence is primarily derived from observational studies and retrospective analyses, which may need more robustness of prospective, controlled investigations.

2. FDA Pregnancy Category B

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigns pregnancy risk categories to medications based on available data regarding their safety during pregnancy.

Buspirone and pregnancy hold a classification of FDA Pregnancy Category B, suggesting that animal studies have not demonstrated direct fetal risks.

The Buspar pregnancy category comes from a comprehensive assessment of animal studies, which have not demonstrated teratogenic effects, suggesting a lack of observed contraindications on fetal development. These studies aim to provide insights into the potential reproductive risks associated with the drug.

3. Breastfeeding and Buspirone Use

Use of Buspirone during breastfeeding raises essential considerations, as the medication is known to pass into breast milk.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that maternal doses of Buspirone up to 45 mg daily can produce low levels in milk. Still, there is limited information on Buspirone and pregnancy and its impact on newborns.

Data about Buspar and breastfeeding or the use of smaller doses (e.g., Buspar 10mg) while pregnant or breastfeeding is also unavailable. Based on this, it is recommended that patients and doctors consider using other drugs, especially while breastfeeding newborns, infants with low birth weight, or prematurely born children.

4. Use Duration of Buspirone and Pregnancy

Decisions regarding the duration of Buspirone use during pregnancy are rarely standardized due to the inherent complexities and variations in individual health circumstances, i.e., the severity of anxiety symptoms.

Buspirone typically exhibits its therapeutic effects over time. This drug often requires 2 to 4 weeks for noticeable improvements. Consistent daily administration is essential to achieve the full therapeutic benefits.

When the drug has effectively alleviated symptoms and the pregnant woman no longer experiences significant distress, healthcare providers may reassess the necessity of ongoing medication. Abruptly discontinuing Buspirone may lead to a recurrence of anxiety symptoms. Buspirone and pregnancy is often necessary as untreated anxiety poses potential risks to maternal and fetal well-being.

5. Prevalence of Anxiety during Pregnancy

Recent research reveals that women exhibit heightened sensitivity to low levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone responsible for organizing stress responses in mammals.

This heightened sensitivity makes women twice as susceptible as men to disorders related to stress. Some pregnant women may already be experiencing anxiety symptoms before conceiving and pregnancy can amplify this picture, particularly in the first term.

Anxiety affects a significant percentage of pregnant women, with estimates ranging from 20% to 40% of pregnant women. This underscores the importance of addressing mental health during this period and backs up the use of Buspirone and pregnancy.

Untreated anxiety during pregnancy may include conditions such as:

6. Risk-Benefit of Buspirone and Pregnancy: Is Buspar Safe During Pregnancy?

Considering its FDA category, evidence shows Buspirone won’t harm the fetus or cause serious adverse to the expectant mother. A risk-benefit assessment will consider if the benefits outweigh potential unknown risks.

The decision to prescribe Buspar in pregnancy hinges significantly on the severity of maternal anxiety. If symptoms are not acute, healthcare providers may explore alternative treatments, like psychotherapy and lifestyle modifications.

Open and transparent communication ensures that the patient is well-informed about the potential benefits and risks of Buspirone and pregnancy.

Buspar Side Effects during Pregnancy

While there are still a lot of questions to answer regarding the use of Buspirone during pregnancy, there are some Buspar side effects to note, including the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness and/or numbness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Agitation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Muscle twitching or stiffness

What to Do in the Case of Buspirone Dependency?

There is nothing to be ashamed of if someone becomes dependent on Buspar. Recognizing the dependency is the first step and seeking professional medical guidance is crucial.

Working with a doctor to develop a gradual tapering plan during Buspirone and pregnancy is important. Exploring alternative strategies, i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy for managing anxiety and addressing underlying issues is part of the comprehensive approach to overcoming Buspar dependency.

People Also Ask

Is buspirone safe during pregnancy?

Evidence shows Buspirone won’t harm the fetus or cause significant adverse effects to the pregnant woman. Healthcare providers prescribe it based on a thorough risk-benefit assessment, considering the severity of maternal anxiety and the potential consequences of untreated anxiety.

Is Buspar safe for breastfeeding?

The safety of Buspirone (Buspar) during breastfeeding is not extensively well-known. While it is passed into breast milk in small quantities, medical implications for newborns, Buspirone and pregnancy are still uncertain. Consider alternatives before taking medication while pregnant.

What are the safest anxiety medications during pregnancy?

The safety of anxiety medications during pregnancy varies. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine individual suitability. Some options include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline and psychotherapy.

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Page Sources

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  3. Fawcett, E. J., Fairbrother, N., Cox, M. L., White, I. R., & Fawcett, J. M. (2019). The Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders during Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: A Multivariate Bayesian Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 80(4).
  4. Grigoriadis, S., Graves, L., Peer, M., Mamisashvili, L., Dennis, C.-L., Vigod, S., ... Richter, M. (2019). Benzodiazepine Use during Pregnancy Alone or in Combination With an Antidepressant and Congenital Malformations: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. From National Center for Biotechnology Information.
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Retrieved on April 14, 2024.

Published on: July 10th, 2020

Updated on: May 24th, 2024

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