Effects of buspirone on sleep and respiration

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Jun;141(6):1527-30. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/141.6.1527.


Drugs used in the treatment of anxiety are frequently sedating and tend to be respiratory depressants. Buspirone, a nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytic agent, has little reported sedative effect. It has been shown to be a respiratory stimulant in an anesthetized, glomectomized cat model. In this study, we examined the effects of two intraperitoneal single doses (10 and 20 mg/kg) of buspirone on sleep and respiration in unanesthetized, intact, freely moving rats. Buspirone increased sleep latency (p less than 0.0001) and decreased total sleep (p less than 0.02) through reductions in both non-REM and REM sleep. Respiratory rate (p less than 0.0003) and ventilation (p less than 0.004) were significantly increased for 4 h after drug injection. The effects on respiration were independent of those on sleep; stimulation was evident in both waking and non-REM sleep. This study suggests that buspirone, in addition to being free of sedating and respiratory depressant side effects when prescribed for anxiety in humans, may be a respiratory stimulant whose effects persist in sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buspirone / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Respiration / drug effects*
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Buspirone