Free & Confidential Drug Hotline. Call NOW:

Buspar Weight Gain: What Are The Reasons Behind Body Mass Fluctuations?

Last Updated: February 15, 2022

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Buspirone is a useful medication in treating anxiety and depression. The drugs are administered orally and work by partially blocking serotonin and enhancing dopamine and epinephrine. Though the drugs have low abuse potential, Buspar addiction and abuse can happen in some patients. This is why caution has to be exercised in administering the drug to avoid having to undergo the hectic Buspar withdrawal program. So, does Buspar cause weight gain? For anyone taking the drug, the connection between Buspar and weight gain or loss is an understandable concern. However, the relationship between buspirone and changes in body mass is unpredictable as such changes are rare side effects. Studies indicate that changes in body mass occurred between 0.1% and 1% of patients after taking Buspar. Hence, not everyone is likely to experience Buspar body mass changes.

Interaction Between Anxiety And Body Mass Fluctuation

It has been established that stress and anxiety can either cause changes in mass depending on certain conditions. According to available medical information, gender and race are part of major contributors to body mass changes during anxiety. When a patient goes through anxiety, the cortisol levels in the body are increased. Cortisol is the hormone that helps to control stress. If the cortisol level goes up, it leads to fat build-up in the stomach which causes adiposity.

Factors that Lead to Adiposity During Anxiety Attacks:

  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Deposit of fat in the stomach
  • More fat deposits result in adiposity
  • Recovery from loss of appetite during anxiety

On the other hand, stress and anxiety can cause weight loss by altering the body’s appetite and metabolization. This can lead to a reduction in appetite and subsequently result in buspirone weight loss. When it comes to Buspirone pregnancy relations, the drug is generally safe. However, it may or may not cause mass changes due to the above reasons.

Factors that Lead to Weight Loss During Anxiety Attacks:

  • Low appetite
  • Decreased metabolism

The Buspirone side effects weight gain or loss can negatively affect the patients’ health. However, that is just one of the several side effects of Buspar which also includes improved sex drive. It is therefore advisable to seek medical help when taking these drugs to avoid complications.

Does Buspar Cause Weight Gain?

Buspar side effects weight gain can happen indirectly due to changes that may occur with eating habits. An increased appetite is a possible side effect  – albeit, in only less than 1% of cases. Clinical trials on the use of Buspirone for treating irritability among people with autism showed that increased appetite was one of the common side effects. An increased appetite will lead to more frequent meals or an increase in portion sizes, and that could lead to Buspar weight gain.

Another connection is the fact that people dealing with anxiety are sometimes underweight because anxiety may suppress appetite. If such a person begins to treat the anxiety with Buspar and normal functions resume, there is a good chance that Buspirone side effects weight gain may occur.

Additionally, constipation, another possible side effect of Buspar usage, can lead to body mass gain. This may occur as a result of the accumulation of food in the gastrointestinal tract causing the body to retain more food than it needs or can digest properly. Hence, users that exhibit this side effect have a higher risk of experiencing Buspar weight gain – albeit temporarily. The extra kilos gained here typically go down upon relief from constipation. Any side effect that impairs daily life must be reported to a health professional. This will allow the health professionals to quickly resolve the side effects of the drugs and effectively adjust the therapy.

A woman measures her waist.

Losing Weight On Buspirone

Some side effects associated with Buspar usage may indirectly lead to total mass loss, although the reported occurrences of Buspirone weight loss are low. Studies indicate that chronic diarrhea can lead to weight loss. Buspirone adverse effects such as nausea and stomach aches can make one lose mass as a result of the effect on appetite. Additional side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea may also contribute to this due to water loss. Many users may not experience the listed side effects to a significant level, but those that do are at risk of Buspirone weight loss as a result of these effects.

Additionally, people that are already overweight may experience Buspar weight loss as an indirect result of using the drug. This could happen because there are cases where a person dealing with anxiety turns to food as a coping mechanism. If this person begins to use Buspar and the medication proves effective in managing the anxiety, the need to overeat would be reduced, and consequently, mass loss may occur.

Reasons Behind The Changes In Mass

It is worthy of note that dosage levels, length of treatment, prior substance use, lifestyle, and concurrent substance use will increase or decrease the likelihood of experiencing Buspirone weight gain or loss. For instance, a person that doses on Buspirone 5mg tablets each day is less likely to experience serious side effects compared to one that takes a stronger dose of the drugs.

With That Said, the Following Are the Most Likely To Cause Buspirone Weight Gain or Loss:

  • Loss of appetite due to anxiety can cause Buspar weight loss
  • Overeating due to anxiety may lead to Buspirone weight gain
  • Constipation can lead to the gaining of mass
  • Increased cortisol levels is a link between Buspar and weight gain

There are several links between Buspar and weight gain as observed above. However, there is only one link between Buspar and emaciation. This is because it is easier to become fat using these drugs than to lose mass. Even when mass is lost it is quickly regained when one recovers from anxiety. Nevertheless, patients are advised to not discount the loss of appetite which can cause Buspar weight loss.

Dealing With Changes While On Buspar

To limit any chances of the occurrence of Buspar weight gain or loss, one needs to be conscious about eating habits during the treatment course. For example, one needs to track the number of calories consumed each day. This will help to gauge how much needs to be cut down or added to daily meals to deal with body mass gain or loss.

Also, the half-life of Buspar (3-4 hours) means the effects of the drug won’t be felt for long. This can help patients to know when to eat to avoid issues that can lead to Buspirone side effects weight gain or loss. Changes in dosage can also help to manage the mass but must be done under the supervision of a medical doctor. If it doesn’t work then the doctor may prescribe Buspar alternatives to help manage the situation.

Additionally, specific side effects that lead to body mass changes can be treated concurrently with regular anxiety treatment. For instance, diarrhea can lead to mass loss, but this can be managed with Imodium or any other antidiarrheal agent – with permission from a qualified doctor. Finally, leading a healthy lifestyle will help to manage these reactions. For instance, regular exercise is a great way to prevent or control Buspar weight gain.

Keeping An Eye On Dietary Habits

It is important to be familiar with the relationship between Buspar interactions and mass changes, but it is equally as important to seek professional help before taking any steps toward dealing with the issue. A qualified health professional will have a closer look and make the right diagnosis to decide what the specific reason for body mass change is, and what to do next.

Though Buspirone addictive properties are very low, this doesn’t mean that addiction can’t settle in. Once the drug abuse becomes evident it is time to request help from specialists at a local drug abuse rehabilitation center. There, a patient can customize and undergo the treatment course for drug addicts. By doing so, a patient will receive proper, personalized, and qualified treatment from rehabilitation experts or medical doctors. Remember that the sooner one uncovers the addiction the better it will be for one’s well-being.

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Page Sources

  1. A. Ghanizadeh, A. Ayoobzadehshirazi. (2015). A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Adjuvant Buspirone for Irritability in Autism. Pediatr Neurol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25451017
  2. R. DeJesus, C. Breitkopf, J. Ebbert, L. Rutten, R. Jacobsen. (2016). Associations Between Anxiety Disorder Diagnoses and Body Mass Index Differ By Age, Sex, and Race: A Population-Based Study. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5090775/
  3. MedlinePlus. (n.d). Buspirone. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a688005.html
  4. Imodium. (n.d). When to Treat Diarrhea? Imodium. https://www.imodium.com/diarrhea-treatment/when-to-take-imodium
  5. American College of Gastroenterology. (n.d). Diarrheal Disease - Acute and Chronic. American College of Gastroenterology. https://gi.org/topics/diarrhea-acute-and-chronic/
  6. A. Braden, D. Musher-Eizenman, T. Watford, E. Emley. (2018). Eating When Depressed, Anxious, Bored, or Happy: Are Emotional Eating Types Associated With Unique Psychological and Physical Health Correlates? PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29476800

Published on: July 10th, 2020

Updated on: February 15th, 2022

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.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.