Medicine & USMLE


Psych Pharm
  1. Lithium
  2. Typical Antipsychotics
  3. Atypical Antipsychotics
  4. SSRIs
  5. SNRIs
  6. Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
  7. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  8. Bupropion
  9. Mirtazapine
  10. Trazadone
  11. Vilazodone
  12. Vortioxetine
  13. Buspirone
  14. Varenicline


Buspirone is a medication that acts as a partial agonist at serotonin receptors. This drug is a second-line treatment for General Anxiety Disorder. Remember that buspirone has a slow onset of action, roughly taking 2 weeks before clinical symptoms improve. 

Key Points

  • Buspirone
    • Mechanism
      • Acts as partial agonist of serotonin 5-HTA1 receptors
      • Acts as weak antagonist at dopamine D2 receptors
    • Indications
      • Treats Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
        • Acts as nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytic
        • Has a slow onset of action of 2 weeks
          • Not effective in treating acute anxiety attacks
        • Used as 2nd line pharmacologic treatment for GAD after SSRIs/SNRIs.
    • Side Effects
      • No risk of tolerance, dependence, or withdrawal
        • Contrast vs. benzodiazepines
      • Less sedative and hypnotic effects
        • Contact vs. benzodiazepines
      • Minimal side effects (dizziness)