Azapirones: an alternative to benzodiazepines for anxiety

Am Fam Physician. 1996 May 15;53(7):2349-53.


The azapirones are a relatively new class of psychotherapeutic drugs with both anxiolytic and antidepressant properties and a favorable benefit-to-risk ratio. They represent a significant advance in psychotherapeutic drug development. Buspirone, the only azapirone currently in clinical use, is a partial serotonin agonist with low abuse potential, no sedative effects, no cognitive or psychomotor impairment properties and no significant withdrawal symptoms. It is well-tolerated by elderly patients. Clinical indications for which buspirone is particularly appropriate are chronic anxiety and mixed anxiety/depression states. Buspirone has demonstrated some efficacy in the treatment of a broad range of other serotonin-related disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buspirone / pharmacology
  • Buspirone / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buspirone