Does Buspirone Cause Weight Gain?

Weight gain is one of the most common side effects associated with antidepressant medications of all types, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa); serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) including duloxetine (Cymbalta); benzodiazepines like alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan); tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline; and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like phenelzine (Nardil) and isocarboxazid. 

Buspirone is a generic prescription medication that does not fall into any of the aforementioned categories but is often used for the treatment of anxiety and depression symptoms. With so many people concerned about weight gain caused by antidepressants, many considering treatment with buspirone are asking: “does buspirone cause weight gain?”

What is buspirone?

Buspirone is a generic prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called azaspirodecanediones, or anxiolytics. While the medication was previously sold under the brand name BuSpar, the medication is only produced in its generic form today. 

Buspirone is commonly used for the treatment of certain mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and it is taken by mouth in the form of an oral tablet. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should not be consumed when taking buspirone, as the combination can increase your risk of experiencing adverse effects from the medication.

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What is buspirone used to treat?

Buspirone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of anxiety and is most commonly used to treat a type of anxiety called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The medication acts on the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, to help relieve symptoms of anxiety. 

Buspirone is also sometimes used for the treatment of depression, particularly when combined with SSRIs or SNRIs. Patients whose depression symptoms do not resolve when taking an SSRI or SNRI alone may find relief when adding buspirone to their prescription regimen.

Does buspirone cause weight gain?

Buspirone is one of the few medications used for the treatment of anxiety and depression that is not often associated with weight gain. 

Studies examining the effects of buspirone on weight found that weight change (either loss or gain) is a rare side effect of the medication, affecting between 0.1 and 1 percent of patients being treated with the drug. Of the individuals who did experience a change in weight, almost none experienced a change in weight that was considered clinically significant (a change of seven percent or more).

People who do experience a change in weight associated with use of buspirone report that the changes in weight are caused by changes in their anxiety levels rather than the medication itself. 

People who have a tendency to eat less when they are anxious may start eating a normal amount when their anxiety improves, which can cause a small amount of weight gain. Similarly, individuals who overeat when anxious may experience weight loss when their appetite levels return to normal. Regardless, changes to weight associated with use of buspirone are rare and are generally clinically insignificant. 

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What side effects are associated with buspirone?

Weight gain is not a common side effect of buspirone, but the medication is associated with other side effects. However, compared to other medications used for the treatment of anxiety and depression, buspirone is associated with fewer serious and potentially dangerous side effects. When side effects do occur, they are generally mild. Common side effects of buspirone include:

  • Nervousness

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • Excitement

Less common side effects associated with buspirone include:

  • Blurred vision and lightheadedness

  • Diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia), nightmares, or vivid dreams

  • Unusual tiredness or weakness 

  • Drowsiness

  • Dry mouth

  • Clamminess or sweating

  • Decreased concentration

  • Muscle pain, spasms, cramps, or stiffness

In rare cases, buspirone may cause these side effects:

  • Heart problems

  • Thyroid problems

  • Fever

  • Lack of coordination

  • Slurred speech

  • Psychosis

  • Muscle weakness

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Acne

  • Low white blood cell counts

This is not a complete list of side effects. Consult a healthcare provider for other possible side effects. 


Buspirone is an effective prescription medication used for the treatment of anxiety and depression. The drug may cause weight gain or weight loss in some individuals although changes in weight are not considered a common side effect of buspirone. 

In general, buspirone may be associated with fewer side effects and less serious side effects than other drugs used for anxiety and depression, so some patients may tolerate the medication better than other drugs. Buspirone can be purchased at a discount with a pharmacy discount card from USA Rx.


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