Skip to Content

BuSpar Side Effects

Generic Name: buspirone

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of buspirone. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name BuSpar.

For the Consumer

Applies to buspirone: oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by buspirone (the active ingredient contained in BuSpar). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Major

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking buspirone:

  • Chest pain
  • confusion
  • fast or pounding heartbeat
  • fever
  • incoordination
  • mental depression
  • muscle weakness
  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet
  • skin rash or hives
  • sore throat
  • stiffness of the arms or legs
  • uncontrolled movements of the body

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking buspirone, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position suddenly
  • drowsiness (severe)
  • loss of consciousness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach upset
  • very small pupils of the eyes

Severity: Minor

Some of the side effects that can occur with buspirone may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Restlessness, nervousness, or unusual excitement
Less common or rare:
  • Blurred vision
  • clamminess or sweating
  • decreased concentration
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • dryness of the mouth
  • muscle pain, spasms, cramps, or stiffness
  • ringing in the ears
  • trouble with sleeping, nightmares, or vivid dreams
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to buspirone: compounding powder, oral tablet

Nervous system

There is currently no evidence for withdrawal, dependence or rebound anxiety after discontinuation of buspirone (the active ingredient contained in BuSpar) [Ref]

Nervous system side effects have occurred and include dizziness, drowsiness and headache in about 10% of patients. Movement disorders such as myoclonus, oral dyskinesia, dystonia, and akathisia have been reported rarely. Extrapyramidal side effects, cogwheel rigidity, ataxia, emotional lability, serotonin syndrome, recall difficulty, parkinsonism, restlessness, and restless leg syndrome have been reported in postmarketing experience.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea have occurred in up to 11% of patients. Constipation, diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects including mania, hypomania, vivid dreams, delirium, panic attack, and psychosis have been reported rarely. Dysphoria has been reported with long-term administration.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects such as priapism and urinary retention have been reported rarely.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects following acute administration of buspirone (the active ingredient contained in BuSpar) have included transient, non-pathologic changes in blood pressure in male psychiatric patients. Effects on blood pressure (either increases or decreases) appear to be associated with the diagnosis.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have included elevations in plasma prolactin and cortisol.[Ref]


An increase in appetite in some patients has been reported.[Ref]


1. Sheehan DV, Raj AB, Harnett-Sheehan K, Soto S, Knapp E "The relative efficacy of high-dose buspirone and alprazolam in the treatment of panic disorder: a double-blind placebo-controlled study." Acta Psychiatr Scand 88 (1993): 1-11

2. Strauss A "Oral dyskinesia associated with buspirone use in an elderly woman." J Clin Psychiatry 49 (1988): 322-3

3. Rakel RE "Long-term buspirone therapy for chronic anxiety: a multicenter international study to determine safety." South Med J 83 (1990): 194-8

4. Patterson JF "Akathisia associated with buspirone." J Clin Psychopharmacol 8 (1988): 296-7

5. Ritchie EC, Bridenbaugh RH, Jabbari B "Acute generalized myoclonus following buspirone administration." J Clin Psychiatry 49 (1988): 242-3

6. Goldberg RJ, Huk M "Serotonin syndrome from trazodone and buspirone." Psychosomatics 33 (1992): 235-6

7. Boylan K "Persistent dystonia associated with buspirone." Neurology 40 (1990): 1904

8. Trachman SB "Buspirone-induced psychosis in a human immunodeficiency virus- infected man." Psychosomatics 33 (1992): 332-5

9. Friedman R "Possible induction of psychosis by buspirone ." Am J Psychiatry 148 (1991): 1606

10. McDaniel JS, Ninan PT, Magnuson JV "Possible induction of mania by buspirone." Am J Psychiatry 147 (1990): 125-6

11. Chignon JM, Lepine JP "Panic and hypertension associated with single dose of buspirone." Lancet 2 (1989): 46-7

12. McIvor R, Sinanan K "Buspirone-induced mania." Br J Psychiatry 158 (1991): 136-7

13. Coates NE "Priapism associated with buspar." South Med J 83 (1990): 983

14. Andorn AC, Iczkowski KA, Solomon K, Saphier D "Acute non-pathologic blood pressure changes associated with buspirone use in psychiatric inpatients." Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 19 (1995): 213-21

15. Yatham LN "Buspirone induced prolactin release in mania." Biol Psychiatry 35 (1994): 553-6

16. Meltzer HY, Maes M "Effects of buspirone on plasma prolactin and cortisol levels in major depressed and normal subjects." Biol Psychiatry 35 (1994): 316-23

Not all side effects for BuSpar may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.