Buspar Side Effects – Probability, Severity, Duration

Last Updated: July 10, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Although Buspar can drastically improve the quality of life lived, Buspirone side effects can also be damaging for an individual. Some Buspirone HCL side effects may fade away on their own during treatment as the patient’s body adjusts with the medication.

However, it is important to understand the dangers of Buspirone and keep an eye on them. This way, one can minimize the side effects Buspar might cause, in order to reap its full benefits. Even though the majority of Buspar side effects are rare, the ones that occur may require additional treatment.

Short-Term Side Effects

Upon the prescription of Buspar for anxiety, the clinician generally provides instructions on Buspirone HCL side effects. One should remember that if some of the side effects continue to persist – it is advised to seek medical attention.

Common Physical Side Effects

  • palpitations
  • chest pain
  • rash
  • clamminess
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • upset stomach
  • blurred vision
  • increased urination

Insomniac Woman Lies In The Bed

Common Psychological Side Effects

  • Buspar insomnia
  • confusion
  • nervousness
  • unusual excitement
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • decreased concentration
  • headache

Rare Physical Side Effects

  • blood pressure change
  • heart failure or heart attack
  • dry and itchy skin
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle weakness
  • cramps
  • restless leg syndrome
  • impaired vision
  • Buspirone weight gain or loss
  • urinary retention

Rare Psychological Buspirone Side Effects

  • vertigo
  • altered appetite
  • partial or total memory loss
  • serotonin syndrome
  • noise intolerance
  • loss of interest
  • hallucinations
  • slowed reaction time
  • suicidal ideation
  • decreased or increased libido

Some side effects, such as constipation, are not very serious and subside on their own with regular use. Yet, there are alarming side effects of Buspar such as brain zaps, seizures, loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, as well as an allergic reaction. These effects require qualified medical attention.
Man With A Headache Holds His Head
Additionally, the probability of experiencing side effects and the severity of those effects can be influenced by other types of medicine that the user is dosing on. In these instances, it may be important to use both drugs, but if the dosage is not adjusted accordingly, the aforementioned side effects may occur. For instance, anyone that is using Buspar at the same time with an SSRI or MAOI antidepressant risks an enhanced possibility of exhibiting side effects. It further stresses the importance of getting a proper diagnosis and prescription from a qualified healthcare professional before using Buspar.

In Buspirone vs. Xanax comparison, there are much fewer side effects from Buspirone than from Xanax. Moreover, people also tend to confuse Buspar drug class with benzos, yet in reality, it is an anti-anxiety medicine.

Dangers Of Long-Term Use

The FDA has approved the Buspirone(Buspar generic name), for both short and long term use for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Furthermore, to date, Buspirone’s long term use (for more than 3 to 4 weeks) is not associated with negative effects.

According to a study on outcomes of long-term therapy for chronic anxiety, 264 patients treated with 15 to 30 mg/day Buspirone for one year, showed no evidence of new, unexpected side effects other than common short term ones. Furthermore, with abrupt discontinuation of Buspirone after more than six months of therapy, no significant symptoms of withdrawal were reported. Subsequently, it was concluded that the long term effects of Buspar use should be periodically evaluated. This evaluation also includes the analysis of the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient and subsequent (if needed) Buspar dosage adjustment.

Research shows that Buspar has lower toxicity and abuse potential compared to other anxiolytics, and its overdose generally resolves with complete recovery. Moreover, no deaths have been reported from Buspar overdose.

Effects On Internal Organs

Buspirone is metabolized in the liver and passed through the renal route. It can cause potential drug-drug interactions. Although chronic use can cause nausea, it rarely causes serum enzyme elevation and has not been associated with the dangers of liver damage. However, long term use of Buspirone is not recommended in patients with impaired hepatic or renal function.
Person Holding Hand Near Left Kidney

Depression From Buspar

So, can Buspar cause depression? Buspar does not usually cause depression when used according to the recommended dosage by the physician. In fact, Buspirone is known to improve depressive symptoms in patients that have a generalized anxiety disorder. Evidence also proves that Buspar is effective as an augmentation when used alongside SSRIs in the treatment of unipolar depression. However, if the drug is abused, then depression can be among other adverse reactions.
There is also another danger that arises from the acquired depression as patients may start abusing Buspirone and alcohol combination to achieve desired sedation. It can also serve as the getaway to Buspar high that is described with moderate sedation or excitement. Results depend on the individual and can never be predicted.

Allergic Reaction

The probability of a Buspar allergic reaction is low. However, if a patient does have an allergy to Buspar, the following symptoms will be present:

  • Swelling of lips, tongue, throat or face
  • Rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Severe dizziness

If a user develops any of these symptoms, immediately contact medical personnel to receive appropriate treatment.

Minimizing The Risks From Side Effects

A person taking Buspirone should be well acquainted with information regarding its benefits and side effects. The therapy course should not be altered or stopped without notification from the physician. By doing so, the patient evades the possible side effects that may arise from breaking the intake schedule.

Substance abuse should not be taken lightly, even when it comes to a regular medicine like Buspirone. If one suspects a close person abusing this medicine, then it is important to seek specialized medical help. This kind of service one can find at rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. There, a person will be able to choose between different treatment programs for substance abusers that will perfectly suit one’s needs.

Page Sources

  1. The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Buspirone Medication. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Buspirone-(BuSpar)
  2. FDA. BuSpar. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/018731s051lbl.pdf
  3. Appelberg BG, Syvälahti EK, Koskinen TE, Mehtonen OP, Muhonen TT, Naukkarinen HH. Patients with severe depression may benefit from buspirone augmentation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: results from a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, placebo wash-in study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62(6):448-452. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11465522/

Published on: July 10th, 2020

Updated on: July 10th, 2020

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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