Buspirone is a nonbenzodiazepine that currently is marketed as an antianxiety agent. It appears to exert partial agonist activity at the 5-hydroxy-tryptamine-1A receptor. Perhaps because of this activity, buspirone has been found also to exert antiaggressive activity. At low dosages, it has been found to be useful for ameliorating aggression in patients with mental retardation and autism.104 It does not appear to interact with anticonvulsants.104

In animal models, however, buspirone has been shown to be proconvulsant.17,105 The drug is contraindicated in Britain for use in patients with epilepsy because of these findings.17 In addition, one case report cites a patient who sustained a seizure after an overdose of buspirone.106 Some authors do recommend buspirone for anxiety in patients with epilepsy. Careful observation is recommended for the use of buspirone in this patient population until more information is available.

Adapted from: Barry JJ and Huynh N. Psychotropic drug use in patients with epilepsy and developmental disabilities. In: Devinsky O and Westbrook LE, eds. Epilepsy and Developmental Disabilities. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2001;205–217. With permission from Elsevier (www.elsevier.com).

Authored By: 
John J. Barry MD
Nga Huynh PharmD
Reviewed By: 
Steven C. Schachter MD
Monday, May 31, 2004