Buspar Weight Change: Is It Possible?

Last Updated: November 20, 2020

Authored by Isaak Stotts, LP

For anyone using the drug, the connection between Buspar and weight gain or loss is an understandable concern. However, the relationship between buspirone and weight change is unpredictable as such changes are a rare side effect. Hence, not everyone is likely to experience weight loss or weight gain with Buspar. This review closely examines the interrelation of Buspar and weight change.

Losing Weight On Buspirone

Some side effects associated with Buspar usage may indirectly lead to total mass loss, although the reported occurrences of these are low. 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, the mass loss may occur.
Woman Tries On An Old Skirt

Weight Gain On Buspirone

Does Buspar cause weight gain too? It 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% cases. Clinical trial 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 due to the fact that 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 weight gain from Buspirone 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.

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.
Man Eats His Food
With that said, the following are the most likely reasons for body mass loss or weight gain with Buspar use:

Body Mass Gain

  • The increased appetite (can happen as a result of the reduction of anxiety or general mood enhancement)
  • Cravings (usually of unhealthy carbs or fatty foods due to the modulation of serotonin levels in the body)
  • Constipation (discussed above)
  • Somnolence (occurs in up to 10% of users. It can result in a more sedentary lifestyle which could cause gains)

Body Mass Loss

  • Nausea and Vomiting (the body loses nutrients when these Buspar side effects occur with any level of regularity)
  • Reduced appetite (could be as a result of the mood enhancement effects of Buspar in overweight people)
  • Diarrhea (a side effect of Buspar – albeit uncommon. It also interferes with the absorption of nutrients into the body)
  • Anxiety reduction (if anxiety is the cause of being overweight, the user may experience Buspar weight loss when treating the condition)

Dealing With Changes

To limit any chances of the occurrence of weight change on Buspar, 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 on to daily meals to deal with body mass gain or loss.
Couple Cooks A Dinner
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 find fitness for anyone gaining weight on Buspar.

Keeping An Eye On Dietary Habits

It is important to be familiar with the relationship between Buspar and weight changes, but it is equally as important to seek professional help before taking any steps toward dealing with the issue. A qualified healthcare 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 has the ability to customize and undergo the treatment course for drug addicts. By doing so, a patient will receive a proper, personalized, and qualified treatment from rehabilitation experts. Remember that the sooner one uncovers the addiction the better it will be for one’s well being.

Page Sources

  1. Ghanizadeh A, Ayoobzadehshirazi A. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of adjuvant buspirone for irritability in autism. Pediatr Neurol. 2015;52(1):77-81. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25451017/
  2. Braden A, Musher-Eizenman D, Watford T, Emley E. Eating when depressed, anxious, bored, or happy: Are emotional eating types associated with unique psychological and physical health correlates?. Appetite. 2018;125:410-417. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29476800/
  3. Mendelson WB, Martin JV, Rapoport DM. Effects of buspirone on sleep and respiration. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990;141(6):1527-1530. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2350096/
  4. Published on: July 10th, 2020

    Updated on: November 20th, 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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