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Buspirone’s Physical Influence: Does Buspirone Cause Weight Gain?

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Reviewed by Dr. Ash Bhatt

Weight gain can cause concern when it leads to health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

While lifestyle factors are often the primary drivers of weight gain, various health conditions, such as hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammatory conditions, and genetic predispositions, can contribute to unexpected fluctuations in body mass.

Yet external factors like medications can also cause weight gain. Does Buspirone cause weight gain? This article tackles the common misconception head-on, exploring the scientific evidence behind Buspirone’s impact on patients’ well-being.

What is Buspirone?

Trade name: Buspar® (discontinued)

Generic name: Buspirone

Buspirone, commonly known by its trade name Buspar, is a medication classified as an anxiolytic or non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic. Unlike benzodiazepines that can cause sedation, Buspirone does not belong to the same pharmacological class. It does not exhibit the sedative or muscle-relaxant properties associated with traditional anti-anxiety medications.

Buspirone, prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), is recognized for its non-habit-forming nature, making it a preferred choice for individuals who need long-term anxiety management without the potential for dependence.

Anxiety and Weight Changes

Does Buspirone cause weight gain? Not directly if we take into account the complex relationship between anxiety and weight changes.

Weight gain is not caused precisely by anxiety but rather due to unhealthy life patterns including:

Anxiety-Induced Weight Loss

  • Fight-or-flight response: Our body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline during an anxiety episode. These hormones can rev up our metabolism, causing us to burn more calories and potentially lose weight.
  • Decreased appetite: The physical and mental turmoil of anxiety can often dampen our appetite, making it difficult to eat normally.
  • Digestive issues: Anxiety can wreak havoc on our digestive system, leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Anxiety-Triggered Weight Gain

  • Comfort eating: Untreated anxiety can lead patients to seek comfort in sugary or processed foods, which can lead to Buspar weight.
  • Sleep disruption: Anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to chronic sleep deprivation.
  • Reduced physical activity: When you feel anxious, you may be less inclined to exercise. This lack of physical activity can contribute to weight gain.

It’s important to remember that the relationship between anxiety and weight changes is complex and highly individual. What affects one person may not affect another; the same person may experience weight loss and gain at different points in life.

3 Reasons Why Buspirone Can Cause Weight Gain

Buspar is generally considered weight-neutral. Unlike some other medications used to treat anxiety or depression, Buspirone is not commonly associated with significant weight gain as a side effect. An increased appetite is a possible side effect, albeit in less than 1% of cases.

Increased appetite

Clinical trials on the use of Buspirone for treating irritability among people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed that increased appetite was a common side effect. An increased appetite will lead to more frequent meals or an increase in portion sizes, leading to weight gain.

Mood changes

Buspar’s influence on neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, may contribute to shifts in the perception of taste and pleasure derived from food. This alteration can result in an increased desire for specific foods, potentially those associated with comfort.

Mood changes can impact dietary choices, potentially affecting weight over time.

Water Retention

Water retention is another factor associated with Buspar use, particularly in older women.

Some individuals report feeling bloated or retaining water due to the medication’s impact on sodium levels. This may result in a temporary body weight increase but not actual fat gain. Consult with a healthcare professional before combining Buspar with other medications or supplements that could potentially exacerbate water retention.

Preventing and Managing Buspar-Related Weight Changes

To mitigate potential weight-related effects, individuals using Buspar should be mindful of their dietary choices, paying attention to portion sizes and food preferences. Regular exercise and staying hydrated can also support overall well-being and help manage water retention.

Mindful eating

Cultivate awareness around your eating habits.  Pay attention to portion sizes, savor the taste of your food, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Practicing mindful eating can foster a healthier relationship with food.

Buspirone half-life ranges from 3 to 4 hours, meaning the effects of the drug won’t be felt for long. Use this information to know when to eat to avoid issues that can lead to Buspirone side effects weight gain or loss.

Balanced nutrition

Prioritizing a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains will stop the persistent question “Does Buspirone cause weight gain?”

Opt for nutrient-dense foods to ensure you get essential vitamins and minerals, supporting overall health.

Stay hydrated

Adequate hydration is crucial for overall well-being.

Drinking water can help control appetite, support digestion and contribute to a sense of fullness. Aim for the recommended daily water intake.

Regular Exercise

Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine.

Exercise not only helps manage weight but also contributes to improved mood and overall mental well-being. Choose activities you enjoy to make it sustainable.

Monitor Changes

Keep track of any observed changes in appetite, dietary preferences or weight.

Maintaining a food diary or journal can help identify patterns and facilitate discussions with your healthcare provider.

Collaborate with Healthcare Professionals

To understand the possibility of gaining weight while taking Buspirone, work closely with your healthcare team to monitor and manage any side effects.

They can guide lifestyle modifications, offer nutritional advice, and explore alternative medications if necessary.

What to Do If You Start Losing Weight?

A sustained loss of more than 5% of your total body weight within a month may be considered significant clinically.

If you observe a notable and unexplained weight loss while taking Buspar, it’s crucial to take proactive measures to understand and address the situation. Share detailed information about your dietary habits, changes in appetite and any additional factors that may contribute to the weight loss.

Buspirone: A Weight-Neutral Anti-Anxiety Treatment

Buspirone (Buspar) is generally regarded as a safe and effective medication for managing anxiety, with common side effects such as dizziness.

While weight changes may occur, they are often minor and not directly associated with treatment with this drug. Doctors can assess the situation, evaluate the medication’s impact, and recommend appropriate interventions, such as adjusting the dosage or exploring alternative treatment options.

On the other hand, despite its low potential for abuse, recognizing and addressing Buspirone addiction is essential for comprehensive mental health care. Seeking professional guidance ensures optimal usage and minimizes associated risks. For Buspirone addiction, seek professional care.

People Also Ask

Can Buspirone help you lose weight?

Buspirone (Buspar) is not prescribed for weight loss; any weight loss observed is typically an unintended side effect. It’s crucial to use this medication only as a healthcare professional prescribes, and any concerns about weight changes should be discussed with them.

How much weight gain does Buspirone cause?

While some individuals may experience changes in appetite or weight, significant weight gain is uncommon with Buspirone use. Buspar is generally considered weight-neutral. Individual responses vary, and any concerns about side effects should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

What is the most common side effect of Buspirone?

Dizziness is one of the most common side effects of Buspirone. Individuals taking Buspar may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, or a feeling of instability. Reporting any persistent or severe side effects to a healthcare professional for further guidance is essential.

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Page Sources

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  3. A. Ghanizadeh, A. Ayoobzadehshirazi. (2015). A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Adjuvant Buspirone for Irritability in Autism. Pediatr Neurol. - Retrieved on february 2, 2024
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Published on: July 10th, 2020

Updated on: February 21st, 2024

María José Petit-Rodríguez

About Author

María José Petit-Rodríguez

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Ash Bhatt

24/7 National Substance Abuse Hotline (800) 913-1755