Buspirone side effects and weight gain: Indications, interactions, mode of action, and metabolism of Buspar

GABA side effects

If you feel anxious often, you are not alone. There are millions of people who suffer from anxiety disorders every year. The best thing about anxiety disorders is that they are treatable and manageable.

Anxiety disorders lower markedly the quality of life. They often present with fear, worry, and other symptoms of anxiety.

The treatment of anxiety disorders commonly used today is psychotherapy, medications, and symptoms management/ home remedies for anxiety disorders. In most cases, psychiatrists will recommend a combination of the three treatment options.

For home remedies, the best exercise for anxiety, mindful meditation, diet, and avoiding alcohol besides other drugs are the common methods used.

One of the many medications used to treat anxiety disorders is buspirone whose brand name is Buspar. Buspar production was stopped but generic buspirone is available in the market today.

The drug is quite effective in the management of anxiety and its associated symptoms in generalized anxiety disorders.

You can also explore non-medical products like the best supplements that help in anxiety disorders and other methods to deal with anxiety like massage and other home remedies. For massage, you can use one of these excellent massagers for anxiety. Check also the best books for anxiety.

In this article, we will try and comprehensively take the different querries about buspirone including: Does buspirone work immediately, the side effects like anger, overheating, weight and insomnia, withdrawal, and effectiveness among others.

You can also use the products below to manage your anxiety or take care of buspirone side effects.


What is Buspirone (Buspar)?

Buspirone HCL is an anxiolytic. It was initially developed as an antipsychotic but is preferred for anxiety because of fewer side effects as compared to the other anxiety medications. It is used to treat anxiety disorders especially generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).

The drug is offered as a second line to SSRIs or SNRIs or used in combination with an antidepressant. This is because the antidepressants are extensively studied as compared to buspirone and also because the antidepressants work for a wide range of anxiety disorders.

Some psychiatrists also recommend buspirone as an augmentation agent to minimize the sexual side effects of SSRIs.

The drug is prescribed to give you clearer thoughts, relaxation, less anxiety, and reduce irritability. It is, therefore, useful to give you a chance to enjoy life every day. In addition, it helps in conditions where you have sleep problems, has a pounding heart, and are sweating more than normal.

In an ‘of label way,’ some psychiatrists have been prescribing buspirone for pediatric anxiety disorders. The dosage for children has not yet been well established.

Other than buspirone, anxiety disorders can be treated with other medications. Anxiety disorders can also be treated using psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. There are no proven episodes of dependence on buspirone as compared to SSRIs and other antidepressants.

Does Buspirone Work immediately?

Buspirone (Buspar) effects are felt initially within two weeks. However, the full therapeutic/ clinical effects of buspirone (Buspar) are felt after four to six weeks.

For this reason, Buspar should not be taken when you want quick relief from anxiety. There are some more quick-acting medications for anxiety. The effects of buspirone for anxiety in the short term are very mild like a mild calming effect.

For people who want some fast relief from anxiety symptoms as they wait for buspirone to work, you can discuss with your doctor to prescribe a benzodiazepine (Xanax) or hydroxyzine. These medications work faster for anxiety but have more side effects.

The elimination half-life for buspirone in its unchanged form is 2 to 3 hours when a single dose of between 10 to 40 mg is taken.

How does buspirone make you feel?

Buspirone is an excellent anxiolytic for generalized anxiety disorder. It takes some time to work as discussed above but once the full effects kick in, the anxiety disorder symptoms are minimized.

How does buspirone make you feel? Buspirone will make you feel as follows:

  • Reduce the jittery
  • Make you less irritable
  • Give you better sleep
  • Reduced sweating
  • Reduce the pounding of the heart associated with anxiety
  • Reduces the fear associated with anxiety

Also, every drug has side effects although, for buspirone, the side effects are mild. In most people the buspirone (Buspar) side effects go away within a few days.

Since only a fraction of persons taking buspirone experience side effects, buspirone makes you feel better, but some people also feel weird or have the side effects below.

Common Buspirone side effects

Common side effects of buspirone

The following are the common side effects of buspirone:

  • Some people claim to feel weird. This is because 10% of the population using buspirone experience dizziness, lightheadedness, sleepy, and reduced alertness.
  • Nausea
  • Trouble in getting sleep (Insomnia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Excitement

If buspirone (Buspar) side effects do not go away within a few days contact your doctor. How long does it take for buspirone/ Buspar insomnia to go away? Talk to your doctor for advice on what to do for Buspar insomnia to go away if you still get it after a week. It is also recommended that you take buspirone in the morning if you are getting insomnia.

It’s also important to contact your doctor if you get an allergic reaction to buspirone. The allergic reaction comes with a rash, itchiness, dizziness, and breathing problems.

Do not drive or work on machinery while taking buspirone. The side effects and also some of its actions may increase the risks of accidents.

Alcohol may increase the side effects of buspirone. It is therefore important to avoid alcohol while taking buspirone to ensure it does
not potentiate dizziness and drowsiness.

It is important to contact your doctor in case you develop serious side effects that feel life-threatening or are having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects of Buspirone/Buspar

The serious side effects are rare. The following are the serious side effects of buspirone:

  • Heart problems including increased heart rate and palpitations, hypotension, or hypertension.
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Getting easily bruised or bleeding
  • Coordination problems which include muscle stiffness or jerky walking styles
  • Uncontrolled movements in the mouth, face, and tongue. This may lead to a mask-like facial expression.
  • An uncontrollable buspirone side effect of anger
  • Serotonin syndrome presents with confusion, dilated pupils, fast heart rates, hypertension, overheating, fever, nausea, emesis, seizures, sweating, and muscle stiffness.

Can Buspar cause a heart attack? Some of the side effects described here are similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. It is important to, therefore, see a doctor in case you develop any of these serious side effects.

Long-term side effects of Buspirone

Studies have revealed that there are no new side effects that affect people who use Buspirone for a long time as compared to the people who use the anxiolytic for a short time. Therefore, the short-term and long-term side effects of buspirone are similar.

Moreover, most of the side effects subside with long-term use as the body gets used to Buspar. The daily intake of 15 to 30 mg of buspirone gets tolerated better by the body the longer you take the medication.

Thus, there are no known problems with the long-term use of buspirone. However, doctors do not recommend using the medication for anxiety for longer than a year.

How can we classify the Buspar side effects?

  • Buspirone can cause drowsiness, headache, and nausea.
  • Less common side effects of buspirone include weight gain, changes in sex drive, and impotence.
  • Rare side effects of buspirone include seizures and hallucinations. If you experience any of these side effects, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What are the buspirone side effects first week?

In the first week of taking buspirone, you may get some side effects as the body is trying to adjust to the new medication. You can become drowsy or dizzy, lightheaded, or less alert than you are normally at the onset of taking buspirone. The symptoms are mild and do not massively impact the quality of life.

However, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery when you start taking buspirone since the drowsiness or sleepiness may impact your judgment and cause accidents. In addition, we recommend that you should not do anything else that could be dangerous if dizziness, drowsiness, or sleepiness sets it.

Moreover, you should avoid alcohol when you start taking buspirone. The combination can lead to more sedation or drowsiness which can be detrimental to your life.

It may take 3 to 4 weeks for your body to get used to buspirone. During that time, you need to be careful about what you do since the side effects may even occur when least expected.

Does buspirone cause weight gain or weight loss?

Does buspirone cause weight gain or weight loss?

From the studies on buspirone and according to the packaging information, changes in weight, such as weight gain or weight loss, is a side effect that occurs infrequently. It occurs in between 0.1 % to 1 % of people under buspirone medication. In most people, buspirone is unlikely to cause a clinically relevant gain or loss in weight. Clinically relevant weight change is defined as having a change of 7% of weight from the baseline in a period.

In the rare event of weight gain, people associate it with the effects of the medication. The hypothetical explanations center around:

  • Changes in moods
  • Improvement in cognitive function
  • Somnolence
  • eating habits
  • cravings
  • Change in resting metabolic rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hormonal changes affecting prolactin and growth hormone
  • Gastrointestinal reactions and change in gut bacteria. This may cause diarrhea and constipation.

With improvement in anxiety symptoms where one ends up feeling better, relaxed, and stress-free as a result of taking buspirone may cause weight gain. This feeling may cause an increase in appetite thus causing a change in weight. This is because anxiety affects appetite.

Thus, in some people, anxiety causes them to eat more while in others it causes them to eat less.

Anxiety also causes a change in brain activity and may reduce the body’s regulation of appetite and meal planning. Treating anxiety also reduces the impairment of cognitive function associated with anxiety causing a possible alteration of appetite.

Some people may also experience cravings for foods, especially carbohydrates. This occurs due to the intake of drugs that affect brain activity. Buspirone affects the activity of serotonin thus leading to carbohydrates craving.

Buspirone (Buspar) overheating: Buspirone for anxiety

Buspar/Buspirone overheating

Buspirone overheating may be a result of fever as a side effect of buspirone or can be associated with serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a group of side effects that can occur when taking medications/ drugs that cause serotonin accumulation in the body. This is caused by taking too much or combining two medications that affect serotonin absorption in the body.

Examples of drugs/ medications that may cause serotonin syndrome include antidepressants like SSRIs, SNRIs, Tricyclic antidepressants, opioid pain medications, lithium, Cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, and some herbal supplements like St. John’s wort, nutmeg and ginseng.

Also, some drugs used for the treatment of nausea, migraines, cough, and colds can cause serotonin syndrome if combined with another drug.

In addition to overheating, for diagnosis of serotonin syndrome, the following symptoms are accessed in addition to the history on drug use:

  • Headaches
  • Goosebumps
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating profusely
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Having dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Pounding heartbeat and rapid heart rate/ palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination in the muscles thus having
    muscle rigidity and twitching
  • Shivering
  • Seizures

Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal and thus in case you feel most of those symptoms it is advisable that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss the way forward. Having seizures, overheating (temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius/ 103 degrees Fahrenheit), unconsciousness, and palpitations are some of the signs of severe serotonin syndrome and a doctor should be contacted immediately.

Can buspirone make you angry?

There are several rare side effects of buspirone. One of them is that buspirone oral tablets can make you angry. Anger is a side effect that is experienced by 2% of the people who take buspirone. It is one of the common adverse reactions in people who abruptly stop the use of the medication.

Therefore, when taking Buspar you may be irritable and fast to react when affected by minor things. It is, therefore, not a common side effect but you will find some people becoming angry quickly or becoming hostile with minimal cause.

The side effect is quite rare and thus is not a common side effect in studies. However, anger is a side effect experienced by some people while taking the medication. Moreover, some people taking buspirone can even develop even hostility. Actually, some people reported irritability as an early target symptom of response to buspirone.

How does buspirone work?

Buspirone mechanism of action is that it affects both 5HT1a and 5HT2 receptors with a high and weak affinity respectively. In 5HT1a receptors, it works as a partial agonist possibly leading to the majority of the effects of the drug. Thus buspirone works by suppressing serotonergic activity in addition to increasing the dopaminergic and noradrenergic cell firing.

For 5HT2 receptors, it works as a weak antagonist on dopamine D2 auto-receptors. Therefore, it leads us to the conclusion that anxiety is mediated by more than one neurotransmitter.

The action on the two increases the serotonin levels in the brain especially in the amygdala and other brain areas especially the ones associated with fear. Serotonin increase in the brain causes a reduction of the fight-or-flight mode in the brain and body thus reducing anxiety.

How effective is Buspirone for anxiety?

Buspirone is a type of anti-anxiety drug. Buspirone works by reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on the brain. It also has an antidepressant effect, which can help people with debilitating social anxiety.

It may start working within a few hours, but it usually takes several days for the full effect to be felt.

In the meantime, people taking buspirone may experience side effects like lightheadedness, headaches, and nausea. These are usually mild and will only last for a few days, though some people may experience more serious side effects and need to stop taking buspirone completely.

If you experience any side effects from buspirone, you should speak with your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching to another type of medication.

Buspirone dosage and the best time of day to take it

For generalized anxiety disorder, oral tablets of buspirone are taken. The strengths of the oral tablets are 5 mg, 7.5 mg. 15 mg, and 30 mg.

In adults, the buspirone is taken twice or thrice a day because of the short half-life. Most psychiatrists start the patient with 5 mg tablets taken three times a day (TID). However, sometimes the starting dose may not work and thus the dose may be increased progressively by 5 mg per day every two to three days.

No one should take more than 60 mg of buspirone in a day (24hours). In elderly people, the maximum dose is 30 mg a day. For the elderly, the liver and kidney function are not as effective as in adults and children, and may not tolerate a very high dose.

The medication should be taken at almost the same time as the first dose was taken. Being a medication that is taken twice or thrice a day the times will always include a morning and an evening.

Food may reduce the absorption rate for buspirone but concomitant food and buspirone intake can increase its bioavailability. Therefore, it is recommended that you should either take the medication with or without food. However, the trend has to be sustained; if you take buspirone with food, then ensure you take it with food and vice versa.

In case you forget to take the medication at any time, take it as soon as possible if it is not less than 6 hours to the next dose. Do not double dose buspirone because this can lead to serious side effects.

For people who want buspirone insomnia to go away, doctors may only prescribe the morning dose. This way the drug may wear off by the time you are going to sleep.

Buspirone withdrawal symptoms

Buspirone is safe and effective even for use for a long time when used as prescribed by your doctor. It has fewer side effects as compared to other anxiety medications.

There is no available evidence that this medication is habit-forming. However, abrupt reduction of dosage or quitting buspirone altogether may lead to the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Muscle twitching and spasms
  • Mental functioning difficulty

Kindly notify the doctor before lowering the dose or before quitting buspirone.

Buspirone contraindications/Drugs interactions

This drug increases serotonin levels in the brain. Also, buspirone has some distinct side effects. Any drug that increases serotonin levels or potentiates the side effects of buspirone should be avoided. In addition, if you have a history of hypersensitivity to buspirone then buspirone has to be avoided.

The following drugs/ medications are contraindicated when taking buspirone:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors: It is recommended that you avoid these drugs for 14 days before or after taking buspirone to reduce the risk of developing serotonin syndrome.
  • Other antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs should be taken with direction from a doctor to prevent excessive serotonin in the body.
  • Antifungal drugs like ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and vericonazole. These may increase side effects of buspirone in the body.
  • Antiseizure drugs like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and phenytoin may reduce the effects of buspirone in the body. This may lead to fewer effects on anxiety.
  • Hypertension drugs like diltiazem and verapamil may increase the effects of buspirone in the body. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your doctor if you are taking these medications.
  • Some antiretroviral drugs for HIV like ritonavir, atazanavir, darunavir, and lopinavir may increase the effects of buspirone in the body that risking side effects.
  • Antibiotics like rifampin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, and telithromycin may increase the effects of buspirone in the body. This may lead to more side effects of buspirone.
  • Dexamethasone may also reduce the effects of buspirone in the body thus reducing the action on anxiety. Inform your doctor if you are taking dexamethasone for the doctor to adjust the dose of buspirone accordingly.

Can you take Buspirone (Buspar) when pregnant?

 Can you take Buspirone (Buspar) when pregnant?

Buspirone is a drug that can help people with anxiety and depression, but it has its own risks. It cannot be taken without a prescription, and its side effects can include dizziness, sleepiness, headaches, and blurred vision.

In order to use buspirone safely, it’s important to take it as prescribed. People should avoid drinking alcohol while taking the drug and should not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after taking buspirone.

People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take buspirone since no studies have been done regarding the safety of the drug in these populations.

If someone is experiencing side effects they didn’t expect or notice when they started taking buspirone, they should call their doctor right away. For most people, though, buspirone will provide benefits without any problems.

Facts about buspirone

  • Buspirone does not cure the anxiety disorder but it helps you to control the occurrence and symptoms of anxiety attacks.
  • Do not take alcohol or grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking buspirone. Alcohol may interact with buspirone causing more dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Do not take buspirone if you have severe kidney or liver damage. This is because this may lead to reduced elimination of the drug from the body thus leading to dangerous levels in the body.
  • Only take buspirone when pregnant or when breastfeeding if the benefits far outweigh the effects and as recommended by the doctor.
  • A doctor may change your medication depending on symptoms and benefits. The are other medications for anxiety that are effective, while other medications offer relief fast.


Is BuSpar the same as Xanax?

No, Xanax is a benzodiazepine. Buspirone is not a benzodiazepine. It does not have the same effect on the brain or body as Xanax, and one should not take it expecting to experience the same effects.
Buspar is a medication that has been found to be effective in treating anxiety disorders. If you are experiencing anxiety, it is important to speak with your doctor about treatment options. You may find that Buspar is an effective treatment for your condition when other treatments have failed you or produce unwanted side effects.

Does buspirone make you feel weird?

Buspirone may have some side effects that people experience. These are usually mild and will only last for a few days, though some people may experience more serious side effects. Buspirone can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or drowsiness. It can also make you feel less alert than you normally are and cause an upset stomach.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness are the most common side effects of buspirone. This is because buspirone slows down nerve signals in the brain to regulate certain behaviors like your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. It affects different people differently, but it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about these possible side effects before starting treatment with buspirone.
Buspirone should not be taken by pregnant women because it can pass through the placenta to the fetus and affect their development in ways that aren’t known yet. Buspirone is excreted in breast milk so breastfeeding mothers should not take it as well.

How long can you stay on buspirone?

Buspirone is a prescription-only drug, so it is not recommended to remain on it for longer than 52 weeks.
The maximum dosage of buspirone is 60mg per day. It should be taken in divided doses throughout the day, preferably with food

Does buspirone cause hair loss?

Buspirone is not known to cause hair-loss or alopecia. However, there have been anecdotal reports of some people experiencing these side effects while taking the drug. One report states, “I’ve had a significant amount of hair loss while on buspirone and I don’t understand why. My hair is actually coming out by the handfuls at this point.”

Can buspirone cause a high heart rate?

Buspirone, like other benzodiazepines, has a high risk of causing side effects. One of the most common side effects is increased heart rate. Buspirone does not usually cause a high heart rate though it can happen in some people. If your heart rate is unusually high or if you feel like you’re experiencing palpitations, call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

Is buspirone an antidepressant?

Yes, it is a partial agonist at serotonin 5-HT1A autoreceptors and postsynaptic α1- adrenergic receptors, which are thought to be related to depression and anxiety.
Buspirone is a drug that is used to treat anxiety and nausea. It also acts as an antidepressant, particularly for people with debilitating social anxiety. Buspirone may start working within hours, but it usually takes several days for the full effect to be felt. In the meantime, people taking buspirone may experience side effects. These are usually mild and will only last for a few days, though some people may experience more serious side effects. This article will go over the side effects of buspirone and how to manage them.

Should I take buspirone in the morning or night?

Buspirone should be taken once in the morning and once in the evening. Buspirone is usually taken with food.
The side effects of buspirone include headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, difficulty sleeping and weight gain. These side effects can be managed by being aware of them and taking steps to prevent them or reduce their severity. For example, people who are sensitive to drowsiness may want to avoid taking buspirone at night. Additionally, people who experience weight gain may want to limit their calories for a few weeks after starting buspirone in order to avoid added weight gain from buspirone itself.

Does Buspar help with crying spells?

Buspar can help with crying spells, but the relief is after a period of time and it may take longer to see an effect than expected. Buspar works by reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on the brain. It also acts as an antidepressant, particularly for people with debilitating social anxiety.
Buspar will take some time to start working in relation to these other symptoms, ranging from a few hours to several days for full effect. In the meantime, you may experience other side effects such as headache, nausea and dizziness. These side effects should be mild and will only last for up to a few days; however, there are more serious side effects that can occur which will require medical attention immediately.

Can you take BuSpar and Wellbutrin together?

Buspirone is sometimes prescribed to people with depression and anxiety along with antidepressants. If you are taking buspirone and you also take an antidepressant, it is important to ask your doctor if there will be any interactions between the two medications. There are no known interactions between Buspar and Wellbutrin.

Is buspirone a stimulant?

Yes, buspirone is a respiratory stimulant according to studies on anesthetized, glomectomized cat model. From research, Buspar has little-reported sedative effect as compared to other anxiety medications which have sedative effects.

Can you drive while taking Buspar?

No, it’s not recommended. One of Buspirone’s side effects is that it can make you dizzy. Thus, taking Buspar while driving can lead to accidents associated with sleepiness and dizziness. Buspar can affect your ability to drive or operate machinery and thus is not recommended while carrying out those tasks. Moreover, Buspar can make you tired, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally which can affect your ability to drive.

Can buspirone make anxiety worse?

No, buspirone does not make anxiety worse in most patients but missing doses or abruptly stopping the medication may have adverse effects and worsen anxiety symptoms. Buspirone may cause dizziness, headache, fatigue, nervousness, and lightheadedness in some people. These are usually mild side effects that can be managed with simple lifestyle changes.

Buspirone also has the potential to interact with other medications and supplements that a person is taking. It’s important to consult a physician or pharmacist before starting buspirone if you take other drugs or supplements on a regular basis to prevent dangerous interactions that may result in adverse reactions.

Buspirone does not work immediately, but it generally takes several days for the full effect to be felt. If someone is experiencing anxiety when they start taking buspirone, it could take about four weeks for their symptoms to improve significantly. This time frame will vary from person to person.

Missing doses or abruptly stopping buspirone could have adverse effects and worsen anxiety symptoms. If you start feeling anxious or notice an increase in your symptoms while on buspirone, contact your doctor right away so they can help adjust the dosage or change the medication altogether.

Is BuSpar a mood stabilizer?

Buspirone is a drug that is used to treat anxiety and prevent nausea. It is sometimes used to treat specific phobias. The medication works by reducing the effects of stress and anxiety on the brain.

It also acts as an antidepressant, particularly for people with debilitating social anxiety. Buspirone may start working within a few hours, but it usually takes several days for the full effect to be felt.

In the meantime, people taking buspirone may experience side effects. These are usually mild and will only last for a few days, though some people may experience more serious side effects. This article will go over the side effects of buspirone and how to manage them.

Is BuSpar a good anxiety medicine?

49% of reviewers reported a positive effect, while 34% reported a negative effect, and 17% reported neither a positive nor negative effect.

Buspirone (brand name BuSpar) is an anti-anxiety medication that can be prescribed for social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, nausea, and specific phobias. Buspirone is not addictive and does not cause sedation.

Buspirone may take a few days to start working because it takes time for the brain to respond to the drug. When buspirone starts to work, people often experience side effects like dizziness, sleepiness, lightheadedness, headache, stomach upset, or constipation. In some cases, these side effects are significant enough that people stop taking the medication.

The side effects of buspirone are generally mild but they can be managed with other medications such as antacids, pain relievers, or over-the-counter remedies for nausea. People should always talk to their doctor before starting any new medications while taking buspirone.

Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.