Buspar Withdrawal: How To Wean Off Buspirone Safely (2023)

The medication Buspirone HCl is one of the safest anxiolytic drugs. In 2019, around 9.8 million prescriptions of this medication were issued in the United States. Relatively, in the same year, it was reported that around 2.1 million patients have been taking the drug. However, this does not mean that one cannot experience Buspirone withdrawal. Moreover, symptoms of cessation may vary by severity and duration from patient to patient. Even though Buspirone uses are not limited to anxiety treatment, all the patients should seek medical advice before discontinuing the medication. While Buspirone withdrawal symptoms are rarely life-threatening, they can cause significant discomfort to a person’s everyday lifestyle and well-being.

In this article, information about what Buspar withdrawal is, its symptoms and how to manage them, how long does Buspar withdrawal last, and the importance of getting professional help during this cessation will be provided.

Buspirone Withdrawal Overview

Buspirone, used to treat anxiety, has relatively safe side effects and a rare cessation profile. For the former, some of Buspirone’s side effects include lightheadedness which may fade away in no time. For the latter, since it is considered as a light, non-habit-forming drug, a lot of its users can come off the medication without constant medical assistance compared to other drugs. So, how come drug cessation still occurs? According to a study, abruptly stopping Buspar is the main reason why drug cessation occurs. But, understand that only those patients whose bodies cannot achieve homeostasis or cannot adjust to this removal are at risk. Also, this medication withdrawal can be increased if its symptoms are coupled with other medical conditions, drug abuse, or Buspirone interaction with alcohol or other drugs.

Take note that, although this drug’s use is for the treatment of anxiety of patients with an alcohol disorder, those taking this medication and alcohol together may experience an exacerbation of the effects of alcohol such as CNS depression.

The Symptoms Of Buspar Withdrawal

The drug Buspirone acts on the brain, specifically in the amygdala. It works by altering the serotonergic activities in those areas. This means that it can cause Buspar sexual adverse effects and weight gain while on Buspar. But, what are the changes in a patient’s body when Buspirone withdrawal occurs? Some of the Buspar withdrawal symptoms will be discussed in the information below.

Physical Buspar Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Burning or tingling feeling
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Muscle cramps
  • Neck stiffness
  • Sweating
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Psychological Buspar Withdrawal Symptoms Are as Following:

  • Abnormal dreams
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping

Buspirone withdrawal may cause extreme weakness, chest pain, and loss of consciousness. In case any of these dangerous events occur, seek immediate medical care or help.

Buspar Withdrawal: How To Wean Off Buspirone Safely (1)

How Long Does Buspar Withdrawal Last?

Even though cessation from this drug is rare, patients taking it are highly advised to not abruptly stop in the use of it. In case of emergency medication cessation, it is recommended to do the discontinuation in the presence of a health expert. So, for those who are wondering, how long does Buspar withdrawal last in case it occurs? According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the general Buspar withdrawal period is less than a week because the half-life of Buspirone is relatively short. But, just like the other drugs, the duration and severity of this drug cessation are mostly determined by different factors.

(Video) 5 tips for when you want to come off your medication | #AskMind - Episode 1

Some of These Include:

  • Patient’s individual characteristics such as age
  • General patient’s health condition
  • Length of the drug usage
  • Daily drug dosage

For example, a person taking maximal doses during an extended time has bigger chances to have more severe and long-lasting symptoms of cessation upon discontinuing the use. In the case of the drug Buspirone, even a daily dose of Buspirone HCl 10 mg may have the same potential after long-term usage.

Stopping Buspar Safely And Management Of Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Buspirone is a safe and effective medication for the treatment of anxiety that even patients with Down Syndrome can tolerate. Also, even though it has a low cessation and addiction potential, it is still important to know how and when to properly discontinue it. Patients who want to wean off this medication or any other medications may consider the two ways which will be discussed here.

Buspirone Cold Turkey

In one clinical trial, it was reported that abruptly stopping Buspar or a cold turkey choice yields no Buspar withdrawal effects. In this study, a patient who took the medication for 6 months suddenly stopped the use of the drug and experienced no unusual events. However, even though this result is consistent with other studies, understand that this differs from patient to patient. While some may experience no Buspar withdrawal symptoms, some may experience severe ones.

Tapering Off Buspirone

The best possible approach to the treatment and management of the Buspirone withdrawal is the prevention of crisis episodes. If a patient wishes to use this way/method, the patient must contact the doctor, and in cooperation with the medical professional, create a plan of tapering off Buspirone. Tapering off means detoxification through the gradual decrease of the daily intake.

In cases of drug abuse, cessation of consumption can be difficult even with tapering off and can require extended medical assistance and observation from recovery programs or rehabilitation specialists.

How To Manage Discomforting Buspar Withdrawal Symptoms

Understand that cold-turkey or slow drug tapering may still cause mild cessation effects. So, what can a patient do to cope with these symptoms while their body is still trying to adjust?

Some Techniques To Manage Buspar Withdrawal Symptoms Include the Following:

(Video) Getting off Buspar 15 mg

  • Keep in touch with the medical professional– it is necessary to update the medical professional in charge of the patient regarding the Buspar withdrawal process and improvements. Doing this can educate patients and at the same time, help reduce the risk of experiencing health dangers.
  • Regularly monitor the tapering dose– When a patient undergoes drug tapering, the dose is continuously changed under the instruction/intervention of a medical doctor. Because of this, it is necessary to always monitor the current dose as every fraction is crucial for successful drug cessation.
  • Join a detox program– Many detoxification programs can be considered when one wants to wean off a drug. Some of these are detox medications, detox drinks, and at-home detox programs.

Getting Professional Help During Buspirone Withdrawal

Buspirone is one of those medications which can look very easy to use, so even Buspar in pregnancy is considered a relatively safe option. But it is still a medication, and not abiding by the usage rules can have hefty consequences. Abruptly stopping Buspar can lead to drug cessation. Eventually, this Buspar withdrawal might be detrimental to one’s health. So patients may start to search for Buspirone alternatives. Some patients may consider the drug Zoloft. But, are Buspirone vs Zoloft the same? No, they belong to entirely different drug classes. Zoloft is a more mind-changing drug than Buspirone, so addiction and cessation from Zoloft are more common than Buspirone addiction and drug cessation. The best way to tackle the abuse and dependence issue is the admission to rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. Under the direct supervision of local specialists, the patient can undergo a proper treatment course for addicts that will help alleviate the burden of dependence.

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(Video) Still off Buspirone and post treatment progress

Page Sources

  1. Buydens-Branchey, L., Branchey, M., & Reel-Brander, C. (2005). Efficacy of buspirone in the treatment of opioid withdrawal. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 25(3), 230-236.
  2. Griffith, J. D., Jasinski, D. R., Casten, G. P., & McKinney, G. R. (1986). Investigation of the abuse liability of buspirone in alcohol-dependent patients. The American journal of medicine, 80(3), 30-35.
  3. Gupta, M., Gokarakonda, S. B., & Attia, F. N. (2021). Withdrawal Syndromes. StatPearls [Internet].
  4. Howe, Y. J., Thom, R. P., Notson, E. E., McDougle, C. J., & Palumbo, M. L. (2021). Buspirone for the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Down Syndrome: 3 Cases. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
  5. Kane, S. P. P. (2019). Buspirone - Drug Usage Statistics, ClinCalc DrugStats Database. ClinCalc. https://clincalc.com/DrugStats/Drugs/Buspirone
  6. Mustonen, A., Leijala, J., Aronranta, J., Lassila, A., Aalto, M., & Koskimäki, J. (2021). Withdrawal from Long-Term Use of Unusually High-Dose Oxazepam. Case Reports in Psychiatry, 2021.
  7. Rakel, R. E. (1990). Long-term buspirone therapy for chronic anxiety: a multicenter international study to determine safety. Southern medical journal, 83(2), 194-198.

Published on: July 10th, 2020

Updated on: February 15th, 2022

Buspar Withdrawal: How To Wean Off Buspirone Safely (2)

(Video) Seth Doane on the growing addiction to anti-anxiety medication, debilitating withdrawal symptoms

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.

Buspar Withdrawal: How To Wean Off Buspirone Safely (3)

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care. He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.

(Video) Anxiety update!! Still taking Buspirone?


Can I stop taking buspirone 5mg? ›

If you and your mental health provider decide together that it's time to stop taking buspirone, you will likely be able to simply stop the medication. In some cases, you and your provider may decide to taper your dose slowly over a few days or weeks.

Can I stop buspirone after 2 days? ›

Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely.

Can you have withdrawals from BuSpar? ›

Common withdrawal symptoms of BuSpar include: Anxiety. Agitation. Irritability.

Is it easy to wean off BuSpar? ›

Moreover, unlike benzodiazepines, BuSpar does not require gradual tapering before discontinuation and may be abruptly stopped without withdrawal symptoms.

How long does it take for buspirone side effects to stop? ›

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they're more severe or don't go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Can you take buspirone just once a day? ›

Buspirone is a medication that does need to be taken every day for it to have its full clinical effect. So in contrast to benzodiazepines which can be taken on as needed basis, buzpirone tends to be a medicine that needs to be taken everyday to really have its most effective treatment response.

How long does 5mg buspirone stay in your system? ›

Within 24 hours, most of a buspirone dose will be eliminated from your body.

Can I take buspirone once a day instead of twice? ›

People take buspirone by mouth, usually in tablet form, and they will generally need to take it twice a day. Although a person can take the drug with or without food, they should be consistent across doses and take it the same way each time.

What are the dangers of buspirone? ›

  • Chest pain.
  • fast or pounding heartbeat.
  • incoordination.
  • mental depression.
  • muscle weakness.
  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet.
  • skin rash or hives.
  • sore throat.

Why do I feel weird after taking buspirone? ›

Buspirone may cause some people to become dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or are not alert.

Can buspirone be taken occasionally? ›

Take buspirone only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of unwanted effects.

Can buspirone make anxiety worse? ›

BuSpar can make anxiety worse. If you experience worsening anxiety or nervousness when taking BuSpar, talk to your physician,” says Dr. McGrath. You should tell your provider if you're experiencing any thoughts about suicide or self-harm, or contact a suicide prevention hotline.

Does buspirone help you sleep? ›

Buspirone increased sleep latency (p less than 0.0001) and decreased total sleep (p less than 0.02) through reductions in both non-REM and REM sleep.

How do I wean off buspirone 10 mg? ›

A taper is when doctors gradually wean you off buspirone by lowering the dose each week and changing how often you take it. For example, if you're using 100mg of the medication seven days a week, the doctor could reduce that to 75 mg a day for a week, followed by 50 mg, 25 mg, and then 10 mg every other day.

Will buspirone lower blood pressure? ›

Anxiolysis related variable are also monitored. Results show that the administration of buspirone (0.25 mg/kg and 0.5 mg/kg) significantly increased the serum concentration of electrolytes and plasma osmolality but decreased the serum level of magnesium. These doses also reduced the systolic blood pressure (SBP).

How many mg of buspirone is normal? ›

Adults—At first, 7.5 mg two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 60 mg a day.

What happens if you skip a day of buspirone? ›

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


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