Shortage of anxiety drug leaves patients scrambling

The shortage of the anti-anxiety drug buspirone is causing alarm for both patients and physicians. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, approximately 20% of Americans have had an anxiety disorder in the past year. Buspirone is considered one of the safest anti-anxiety medications on the market, as it is not addictive, has few adverse effects, and is inexpensive. It is difficult to replace the drug with an alternative, however, because there is no equivalent product that works the same way. "Buspirone is in a class by itself. It occupies a unique niche," said Elias Aboujaoude, MD. a clinical professor and chief of the anxiety disorders section at Stanford University School of Medicine. The brand-name version of buspirone, Buspar, is no longer produced. IQVIA reports that 13.5 million buspirone prescriptions were dispensed in the United States in 2017, up from 10.2 million in 2015. A key source of the shortage appears to be interrupted production at a Mylan facility in West Virginia that produced about a third of the U.S. supply of buspirone. FDA had said the Morgantown facility was dirty and that Mylan had failed to follow quality control measures. It is not yet known when production will resume.

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