Compare Buspar vs. Effexor

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Buspar
(Buspirone)

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Helps you relax. Buspar (Buspirone) is effective for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and less effective for short-term use.Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. May work when other antidepressants haven't, it's but more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.651162790697675Buspar
Reviews for Buspar (Buspirone)
51%
of people say Buspar (Buspirone) is worth it
47%
say it works well
28%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
+10% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
50%
+3% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
22%
+6% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
Side effects
BusparEffexor
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Headache 3%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Drowsiness 1%
More Buspar side effects »
  • Nausea 42%
  • Drowsiness 22%
  • Dizziness 20%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Sleep difficulty 16%
  • Loss of appetite 15%
  • Sweating 14%
  • Dry mouth 13%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Muscle weakness 10%
More Effexor side effects »
How it works
BusparEffexor
Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
BusparEffexor
Anti-anxiety
Azaspirodecanedione
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
BusparEffexor
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
BusparEffexor
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Buspar (Buspirone)

After 4 weeks using Start and Effexor (Venlafaxine), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
BusparEffexor
  • Taking with MAOIs
  • Taking with Zyvox or methylene blue
  • Taking with or converting from benzodiazepine medicines
  • Duration of treatment
Detailed Buspar (Buspirone) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Effexor (Venlafaxine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    BusparEffexor
    BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
    No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
    • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.
    • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    • Effexor (Venlafaxine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
    Sleep
    • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
    • Stopping Buspar (Buspirone) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and muscle pain or burning. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few weeks or longer. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
    • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
    • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    BusparEffexor
    • Buspar (Buspirone) works very well to control the symptoms of generalized anxiety syndrome (GAD).
    • Buspar (Buspirone) doesn't cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms.
    • Buspar (Buspirone) is only available as a generic, so the price can be pretty cheap.
    • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
    • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
    • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
    • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
    Downsides and risks
    BusparEffexor
    • Buspar (Buspirone) can take as long as four weeks to become fully effective.
    • Not as effective for short-term anxiety conditions or panic disorders.
    • Most people find that it loses effectiveness over long periods of time.
    • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
    • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
    • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
    • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
    • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
    • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
    • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    BusparEffexor
    • Take doses at about the same time each day.
    • It can take several weeks to get the full effect.
    • Don't eat or drink grapefruit juice when using Buspar (Buspirone).
    • Don't use Buspar (Buspirone) within two weeks of using an MAO inhibitor (like Eldepryl, Parnate, or Marplan).
    • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
    • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
    • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
    • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
    • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
    • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    Learn more
    More about BusparSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert