Question: What is buspirone (Buspar), how does it work, and how is it used to treat anxiety disorders?
Answer: Buspirone, also known by its trade name Buspar, is a non-benzodiazepine medication that is indicated for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. It's thought to work through its binding and activation of a certain type of serotonin receptor in the brain -- specifically the 5HT1A receptor -- and it's through this activity that buspirone is thought to have its anti-anxiety effects.
When buspirone first came on the market it was shown in clinical trials to have effectiveness equal to benzodiazepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder without the sedation that frequently comes with benzodiazepines, so it was a much heralded drug when it first came out. Fortunately clinical experience with buspirone has not necessarily lived up to its expectation. Given that, the drug is still a good drug and it's a well-tolerated alternative to SSRI antidepressants and benzodiazepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.