Buspirone is a generic prescription medication used to treat anxiety in adults. Buspirone comes as an oral tablet. This drug may be prescribed as a short-term or long-term treatment. As with other drugs, buspirone can cause side effects.

Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of buspirone, refer to this article. Your doctor can also tell you more about buspirone.

Buspirone can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took buspirone in clinical trials:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Buspirone: Side effect specifics” below.

Mild side effects can occur with buspirone use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to buspirone’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects that have been reported with buspirone include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking buspirone and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Buspirone: Side effect specifics” below.

Buspirone may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to buspirone’s prescribing information.

If you develop serious side effects while taking buspirone, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Buspirone: Side effect specifics” below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after taking buspirone. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials. However, it has been reported since buspirone became available. To learn more, see the “Buspirone: Side effect specifics” section below.

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Buspirone may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Will I experience more side effects during the first week of treatment with buspirone?

It’s possible to have more side effects during the first week of buspirone treatment than after you’ve taken the drug for a few weeks. This is because it can take a few weeks for your body to get used to the drug. However, most of buspirone’s side effects will likely go away within a few days or weeks after you’ve started taking it.

Until you know how buspirone affects you, your doctor will recommend that you avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while taking the drug.

If you have more questions about what to expect when you start taking buspirone, talk with your doctor.

How do side effects of buspirone 5 mg compare with the drug’s other strengths, such as 10 mg or 15 mg?

The side effects of buspirone are likely to be the same regardless of the strength you take.

Clinical trials of buspirone didn’t report any differences in side effects based on the drug’s strength or prescribed dosage. However, taking a higher dose of buspirone will expose your body to more of the drug. And having more medication in your system can increase the risk of side effects.

For lists of possible side effects from buspirone, see the “Buspirone: Mild side effects” and “Buspirone: Serious side effects” sections above.

Learn more about some of the side effects that buspirone may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for buspirone.

Sexual side effects

Sexual side effects can occur with buspirone. However, these side effects were rare in clinical trials of the drug.

Females* and males* may have the same or different sexual side effects with buspirone. For example, females and males may notice that their libido (sex drive) is higher or lower than usual.

Other male side effects may include:

Keep in mind that anxiety, which buspirone is used to treat, can also cause sexual side effects. So, it may be hard to tell if sexual side effects are related to the drug or the condition you’re taking buspirone to treat.

What you can do

If you have sexual side effects with buspirone, talk with your doctor. They can help you figure out if these side effects may be caused by your condition or the drug itself.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Anger

Buspirone may cause anger. However, this was a less common side effect in clinical trials of the drug.

Symptoms that may occur with anger include:

  • fast heart rate
  • sweating or increased body temperature
  • muscle tightness
  • irritability
  • upset stomach

What you can do

If you have unexplained anger while taking buspirone, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide if this emotion may be related to the drug or another cause. Your doctor can also recommend whether you should keep taking buspirone or switch to a different treatment instead.

Headache

Taking buspirone may cause headache. This was one of the most common side effects in clinical trials of the drug.

With headache, you may have pain that comes on gradually or suddenly. This pain may last several hours, and it may affect one or both sides of your head.

What you can do

If you have headache that’s bothersome with buspirone, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to ease this side effect. For example, they may suggest you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

Weight loss or weight gain

Weight loss or weight gain can occur with buspirone. However, these side effects were rare in clinical trials of the drug.

Keep in mind that buspirone may cause digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe digestive problems may lead to weight loss for some people. To learn more about this side effect, see “Digestive problems” below.

What you can do

If you’re concerned about weight changes while taking buspirone, talk with your doctor. They can advise you on your risk of weight loss or weight gain with this drug. Your doctor can also suggest ways to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.

Digestive problems

Buspirone may cause digestive problems. Nausea was one of the more common side effects in clinical trials of the drug.

Below are examples of less common digestive problems that may occur with buspirone:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain

What you can do

If you have digestive problems while taking buspirone, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to ease your symptoms. For example, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter treatment such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol).

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, buspirone can cause an allergic reaction in some people. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials. However, it has been reported since buspirone became available.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • flushing
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking buspirone. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take buspirone. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These are considered drug-condition or drug-factor interactions. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Severe kidney or liver problems. Before starting buspirone, tell your doctor if you have a severe kidney or liver problem. Examples include kidney failure and liver failure. If you have a severe kidney or liver problem, your body may not break down or get rid of buspirone correctly. This could lead to a high level of the drug in your body, which could increase your risk of side effects. Due to this risk, your doctor may prescribe a medication other than buspirone for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to buspirone or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe buspirone. Taking buspirone could cause you to have another allergic reaction. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

Alcohol with buspirone

You should not take buspirone with alcohol. Doing so could worsen certain side effects of the drug, such as dizziness and drowsiness.

If you have questions about buspirone and alcohol, talk with your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking buspirone

It isn’t known whether buspirone is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning for either, talk with your doctor. They can advise you about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during these times.

Buspirone may cause mild and serious side effects. However, in most cases, the drug’s side effects are expected to be mild and should go away with time. If you have side effects that are bothersome or long lasting, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you’d like to learn more about buspirone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Referring to the following articles about buspirone can provide you with additional information:

  • More information about buspirone. For details about other aspects of buspirone, refer to this article.
  • Cost. If you’d like to learn about buspirone and cost, see this article.
  • A look at anxiety. For details about anxiety, see our anxiety hub.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.