With anxiety becoming a common issue faced by more than 20% of Americans, an increase in the production of anti-anxiety medications would be expected. However, instead, there is a massive shortage in the availability of Buspirone, a potent anxiolytic medication that is considered to be the safest medication for anxiety.
Acute Sudden Shortage Alarms Doctors and Patients
This sudden shortage has alarmed doctors and physicians across America. For a few months already, refilling an old prescription of Buspirone has proved to be a herculean task. With no drug store having the medication, patients have been forced to rely on other medications such as benzodiazepines and SSRIs. These medications have many side effects and are also addictive.
Buspirone Prescriptions in the USA
Buspirone prescriptions dispensed in the United States increased from 10.2 million in 2015 to 13.5 million in 2017., according to IQVIA, a health care technology, and data analytics provider. The rise in prescriptions is probably owing to the reluctance of physicians to prescribe other highly addictive anti-anxiety medications. These medications can also be lethal when combined with opioids.
The sudden shortage is due to the low rates of Buspirone. The rates are so low that manufacturers claim they have no profit turnaround with Buspirone. Manufacturers are not compelled by the FDA to answer the time they will take to start producing the medications again.
“Companies don’t have to tell the F.D.A. how long the shortage is going to last or when they expect it to be back,” making planning difficult for doctors and patients to manage, said Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director at University of Utah Health and director of its Drug Information and Support Services.
Patients no longer have the option of buying the relatively expensive brand-name version of buspirone, Buspar, as it is no longer manufactured.
Unlike the other Anxiolytic agents, Buspirone has minimal side effects, is not addictive, and doesn’t result in sexual dysfunction. It has been widely prescribed by physicians as the safest anti-anxiety medication across America. There are no other anti-anxiety drugs that are as safe as Buspirone.