BuSpar, Page 1

BuSpar is an antianxiety agent that is not chemically or pharmacologically related to the benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other sedative/anxiolytic drugs. It is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety.

BUSPAR- buspirone hydrochloride tablet
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

DESCRIPTION

BuSpar® (buspirone hydrochloride tablets, USP) is an antianxiety agent that is not chemically or pharmacologically related to the benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other sedative/anxiolytic drugs.

Buspirone hydrochloride is a white crystalline, water soluble compound with a molecular weight of 422.0. Chemically, buspirone hydrochloride is 8-[4-[4-(2-pyrimidinyl)-1-piperazinyl]butyl]-8-azaspiro[4.5]decane-7,9-dione monohydrochloride. The empirical formula C21H31N5O2 • HCl is represented by the following structural formula:

buspirone hydrochloride chemical structure
(click image for full-size original)

BuSpar is supplied as tablets for oral administration containing 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, or 30 mg of buspirone hydrochloride, USP (equivalent to 4.6 mg, 9.1 mg, 13.7 mg, and 27.4 mg of buspirone free base, respectively). The 5 mg and 10 mg tablets are scored so they can be bisected. Thus, the 5 mg tablet can also provide a 2.5 mg dose, and the 10 mg tablet can provide a 5 mg dose. The 15 mg and 30 mg tablets are provided in the DIVIDOSE® tablet design. These tablets are scored so they can be either bisected or trisected. Thus, a single 15 mg tablet can provide the following doses: 15 mg (entire tablet), 10 mg (two thirds of a tablet), 7.5 mg (one half of a tablet), or 5 mg (one third of a tablet). A single 30 mg tablet can provide the following doses: 30 mg (entire tablet), 20 mg (two thirds of a tablet), 15 mg (one half of a tablet), or 10 mg (one third of a tablet). BuSpar Tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium starch glycolate. The 30 mg tablet also contains iron oxide.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

The mechanism of action of buspirone is unknown. Buspirone differs from typical benzodiazepine anxiolytics in that it does not exert anticonvulsant or muscle relaxant effects. It also lacks the prominent sedative effect that is associated with more typical anxiolytics. In vitro preclinical studies have shown that buspirone has a high affinity for serotonin (5-HT1A) receptors. Buspirone has no significant affinity for benzodiazepine receptors and does not affect GABA binding in vitro or in vivo when tested in preclinical models.

Buspirone has moderate affinity for brain D2-dopamine receptors. Some studies do suggest that buspirone may have indirect effects on other neurotransmitter systems.

BuSpar is rapidly absorbed in man and undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism. In a radiolabeled study, unchanged buspirone in the plasma accounted for only about 1% of the radioactivity in the plasma. Following oral administration, plasma concentrations of unchanged buspirone are very low and variable between subjects. Peak plasma levels of 1 ng/mL to 6 ng/mL have been observed 40 to 90 minutes after single oral doses of 20 mg. The single-dose bioavailability of unchanged buspirone when taken as a tablet is on the average about 90% of an equivalent dose of solution, but there is large variability.

The effects of food upon the bioavailability of BuSpar have been studied in eight subjects. They were given a 20 mg dose with and without food; the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) and peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of unchanged buspirone increased by 84% and 116%, respectively, but the total amount of buspirone immunoreactive material did not change. This suggests that food may decrease the extent of presystemic clearance of buspirone (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

A multiple-dose study conducted in 15 subjects suggests that buspirone has nonlinear pharmacokinetics. Thus, dose increases and repeated dosing may lead to somewhat higher blood levels of unchanged buspirone than would be predicted from results of single-dose studies.

An in vitro protein binding study indicated that approximately 86% of buspirone is bound to plasma proteins. It was also observed that aspirin increased the plasma levels of free buspirone by 23%, while flurazepam decreased the plasma levels of free buspirone by 20%. However, it is not known whether these drugs cause similar effects on plasma levels of free buspirone in vivo, or whether such changes, if they do occur, cause clinically significant differences in treatment outcome. An in vitro study indicated that buspirone did not displace highly protein-bound drugs such as phenytoin, warfarin, and propranolol from plasma protein, and that buspirone may displace digoxin.

Buspirone is metabolized primarily by oxidation, which in vitro has been shown to be mediated by cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). (See PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions.) Several hydroxylated derivatives and a pharmacologically active metabolite, 1-pyrimidinylpiperazine (1-PP), are produced. In animal models predictive of anxiolytic potential, 1-PP has about one quarter of the activity of buspirone, but is present in up to 20-fold greater amounts. However, this is probably not important in humans: blood samples from humans chronically exposed to BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) do not exhibit high levels of 1-PP; mean values are approximately 3 ng/mL and the highest human blood level recorded among 108 chronically dosed patients was 17 ng/mL, less than 1/200th of 1-PP levels found in animals given large doses of buspirone without signs of toxicity.

In a single-dose study using 14C-labeled buspirone, 29% to 63% of the dose was excreted in the urine within 24 hours, primarily as metabolites; fecal excretion accounted for 18% to 38% of the dose. The average elimination half-life of unchanged buspirone after single doses of 10 mg to 40 mg is about 2 to 3 hours.

Special Populations

Age and Gender Effects

After single or multiple doses in adults, no significant differences in buspirone pharmacokinetics (AUC and Cmax) were observed between elderly and younger subjects or between men and women.

Hepatic Impairment

After multiple-dose administration of buspirone to patients with hepatic impairment, steady-state AUC of buspirone increased 13-fold compared with healthy subjects (see PRECAUTIONS).

Renal Impairment

After multiple-dose administration of buspirone to renally impaired (Clcr = 10–70 mL/min/1.73 m2) patients, steady-state AUC of buspirone increased 4-fold compared with healthy (Clcr ≥80 mL/min/1.73 m2) subjects (see PRECAUTIONS).

Race Effects

The effects of race on the pharmacokinetics of buspirone have not been studied.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

BuSpar is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

The efficacy of BuSpar has been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials of outpatients whose diagnosis roughly corresponds to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Many of the patients enrolled in these studies also had coexisting depressive symptoms and BuSpar relieved anxiety in the presence of these coexisting depressive symptoms. The patients evaluated in these studies had experienced symptoms for periods of 1 month to over 1 year prior to the study, with an average symptom duration of 6 months. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (300.02) is described in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, III1 as follows:

Generalized, persistent anxiety (of at least 1 month continual duration), manifested by symptoms from three of the four following categories:

  1. Motor tension: shakiness, jitteriness, jumpiness, trembling, tension, muscle aches, fatigability, inability to relax, eyelid twitch, furrowed brow, strained face, fidgeting, restlessness, easy startle.
  2. Autonomic hyperactivity: sweating, heart pounding or racing, cold, clammy hands, dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, paresthesias (tingling in hands or feet), upset stomach, hot or cold spells, frequent urination, diarrhea, discomfort in the pit of the stomach, lump in the throat, flushing, pallor, high resting pulse and respiration rate.
  3. Apprehensive expectation: anxiety, worry, fear, rumination, and anticipation of misfortune to self or others.
  4. Vigilance and scanning: hyperattentiveness resulting in distractibility, difficulty in concentrating, insomnia, feeling “on edge,” irritability, impatience.

The above symptoms would not be due to another mental disorder, such as a depressive disorder or schizophrenia. However, mild depressive symptoms are common in GAD.

The effectiveness of BuSpar in long-term use, that is, for more than 3 to 4 weeks, has not been demonstrated in controlled trials. There is no body of evidence available that systematically addresses the appropriate duration of treatment for GAD. However, in a study of long-term use, 264 patients were treated with BuSpar for 1 year without ill effect. Therefore, the physician who elects to use BuSpar for extended periods should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

BuSpar is contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to buspirone hydrochloride.

WARNINGS

The administration of BuSpar to a patient taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) may pose a hazard. There have been reports of the occurrence of elevated blood pressure when BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) has been added to a regimen including an MAOI. Therefore, it is recommended that BuSpar not be used concomitantly with an MAOI.

Because BuSpar has no established antipsychotic activity, it should not be employed in lieu of appropriate antipsychotic treatment.

PRECAUTIONS

General

Interference with Cognitive and Motor Performance

Studies indicate that BuSpar is less sedating than other anxiolytics and that it does not produce significant functional impairment. However, its CNS effects in any individual patient may not be predictable. Therefore, patients should be cautioned about operating an automobile or using complex machinery until they are reasonably certain that buspirone treatment does not affect them adversely.

While formal studies of the interaction of BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) with alcohol indicate that buspirone does not increase alcohol-induced impairment in motor and mental performance, it is prudent to avoid concomitant use of alcohol and buspirone.

Potential for Withdrawal Reactions in Sedative/Hypnotic/Anxiolytic Drug-Dependent Patients

Because BuSpar does not exhibit cross-tolerance with benzodiazepines and other common sedative/hypnotic drugs, it will not block the withdrawal syndrome often seen with cessation of therapy with these drugs. Therefore, before starting therapy with BuSpar, it is advisable to withdraw patients gradually, especially patients who have been using a CNS-depressant drug chronically, from their prior treatment. Rebound or withdrawal symptoms may occur over varying time periods, depending in part on the type of drug, and its effective half-life of elimination.

The syndrome of withdrawal from sedative/hypnotic/anxiolytic drugs can appear as any combination of irritability, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, flu-like symptoms without fever, and occasionally, even as seizures.

Possible Concerns Related to Buspirone’s Binding to Dopamine Receptors

Because buspirone can bind to central dopamine receptors, a question has been raised about its potential to cause acute and chronic changes in dopamine-mediated neurological function (eg, dystonia, pseudo-parkinsonism, akathisia, and tardive dyskinesia). Clinical experience in controlled trials has failed to identify any significant neuroleptic-like activity; however, a syndrome of restlessness, appearing shortly after initiation of treatment, has been reported in some small fraction of buspirone-treated patients. The syndrome may be explained in several ways. For example, buspirone may increase central noradrenergic activity; alternatively, the effect may be attributable to dopaminergic effects (ie, represent akathisia). See ADVERSE REACTIONS: Postmarketing Experience.

Information for Patients

To assure safe and effective use of BuSpar, the following information and instructions should be given to patients:

  1. Inform your physician about any medications, prescription or non-prescription, alcohol, or drugs that you are now taking or plan to take during your treatment with BuSpar.
  2. Inform your physician if you are pregnant, or if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you become pregnant while you are taking BuSpar.
  3. Inform your physician if you are breast-feeding an infant.
  4. Until you experience how this medication affects you, do not drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery.
  5. You should take BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) consistently, either always with or always without food.
  6. During your treatment with BuSpar, avoid drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice.

Laboratory Tests

There are no specific laboratory tests recommended.

Drug Interactions

Psychotropic Agents

MAO inhibitors: It is recommended that BuSpar not be used concomitantly with MAO inhibitors (see WARNINGS).

Amitriptyline: After addition of buspirone to the amitriptyline dose regimen, no statistically significant differences in the steady-state pharmacokinetic parameters (Cmax, AUC, and Cmin) of amitriptyline or its metabolite nortriptyline were observed.

Diazepam: After addition of buspirone to the diazepam dose regimen, no statistically significant differences in the steady-state pharmacokinetic parameters (Cmax, AUC, and Cmin) were observed for diazepam, but increases of about 15% were seen for nordiazepam, and minor adverse clinical effects (dizziness, headache, and nausea) were observed.

Haloperidol: In a study in normal volunteers, concomitant administration of buspirone and haloperidol resulted in increased serum haloperidol concentrations. The clinical significance of this finding is not clear.

Nefazodone: (see Inhibitors and Inducers of Cytochrome P450 3A4 [CYP3A4])

Trazodone: There is one report suggesting that the concomitant use of Desyrel® (trazodone hydrochloride) and buspirone may have caused 3- to 6-fold elevations on SGPT (ALT) in a few patients. In a similar study attempting to replicate this finding, no interactive effect on hepatic transaminases was identified.

Triazolam/Flurazepam: Coadministration of buspirone with either triazolam or flurazepam did not appear to prolong or intensify the sedative effects of either benzodiazepine.

Other Psychotropics: Because the effects of concomitant administration of buspirone with most other psychotropic drugs have not been studied, the concomitant use of buspirone with other CNS-active drugs should be approached with caution.

Inhibitors and Inducers of Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4)

Buspirone has been shown in vitro to be metabolized by CYP3A4. This finding is consistent with the in vivo interactions observed between buspirone and the following:

Diltiazem and Verapamil: In a study of nine healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (10 mg as a single dose) with verapamil (80 mg t.i.d.) or diltiazem (60 mg t.i.d.) increased plasma buspirone concentrations (verapamil increased AUC and Cmax of buspirone 3.4-fold while diltiazem increased AUC and Cmax 5.5-fold and 4-fold, respectively.) Adverse events attributable to buspirone may be more likely during concomitant administration with either diltiazem or verapamil. Subsequent dose adjustment may be necessary and should be based on clinical assessment.

Erythromycin: In a study in healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (10 mg as a single dose) with erythromycin (1.5 g/day for 4 days) increased plasma buspirone concentrations (5-fold increase in Cmax and 6-fold increase in AUC). These pharmacokinetic interactions were accompanied by an increased incidence of side effects attributable to buspirone. If the two drugs are to be used in combination, a low dose of buspirone (eg, 2.5 mg b.i.d.) is recommended. Subsequent dose adjustment of either drug should be based on clinical assessment.

Grapefruit Juice: In a study in healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (10 mg as a single dose) with grapefruit juice (200 mL double-strength t.i.d. for 2 days) increased plasma buspirone concentrations (4.3-fold increase in Cmax; 9.2-fold increase in AUC). Patients receiving buspirone should be advised to avoid drinking such large amounts of grapefruit juice.

Itraconazole: In a study in healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (10 mg as a single dose) with itraconazole (200 mg/day for 4 days) increased plasma buspirone concentrations (13-fold increase in Cmax and 19-fold increase in AUC). These pharmacokinetic interactions were accompanied by an increased incidence of side effects attributable to buspirone. If the two drugs are to be used in combination, a low dose of buspirone (eg, 2.5 mg q.d.) is recommended. Subsequent dose adjustment of either drug should be based on clinical assessment.

Nefazodone: In a study of steady-state pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (2.5 or 5 mg b.i.d.) with nefazodone (250 mg b.i.d.) resulted in marked increases in plasma buspirone concentrations (increases up to 20-fold in Cmax and up to 50-fold in AUC) and statistically significant decreases (about 50%) in plasma concentrations of the buspirone metabolite 1-PP. With 5 mg b.i.d. doses of buspirone, slight increases in AUC were observed for nefazodone (23%) and its metabolites hydroxynefazodone (HO-NEF) (17%) and meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (9%). Slight increases in Cmax were observed for nefazodone (8%) and its metabolite HO-NEF (11%). Subjects receiving buspirone 5 mg b.i.d. and nefazodone 250 mg b.i.d experienced lightheadedness, asthenia, dizziness, and somnolence, adverse events also observed with either drug alone. If the two drugs are to be used in combination, a low dose of buspirone (eg, 2.5 mg q.d.) is recommended. Subsequent dose adjustment of either drug should be based on clinical assessment.

Rifampin: In a study in healthy volunteers, coadministration of buspirone (30 mg as a single dose) with rifampin (600 mg/day for 5 days) decreased the plasma concentrations (83.7% decrease in Cmax; 89.6% decrease in AUC) and pharmacodynamic effects of buspirone. If the two drugs are to be used in combination, the dosage of buspirone may need adjusting to maintain anxiolytic effect.

Other Inhibitors and Inducers of CYP3A4: Substances that inhibit CYP3A4, such as ketoconazole or ritonavir, may inhibit buspirone metabolism and increase plasma concentrations of buspirone while substances that induce CYP3A4, such as dexamethasone or certain anticonvulsants (phenytoin, phenobarbital, carbamazepine), may increase the rate of buspirone metabolism. If a patient has been titrated to a stable dosage on buspirone, a dose adjustment of buspirone may be necessary to avoid adverse events attributable to buspirone or diminished anxiolytic activity. Consequently, when administered with a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, a low dose of buspirone used cautiously is recommended. When used in combination with a potent inducer of CYP3A4 the dosage of buspirone may need adjusting to maintain anxiolytic effect.

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