Compare Buspar vs. Lexapro

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

Buspar
(Buspirone)

Lexapro
(Escitalopram)

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. Lexapro (Escitalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. Might be less likely to cause side effects than some antidepressants, but not the best choice for people with heart or liver problems.
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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 Lexapro (Escitalopram)
59%
+8% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
46%
1% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
15%
+13% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
Side effects
BusparLexapro
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Headache 3%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Drowsiness 1%
More Buspar side effects »
  • Ejaculation disorder 12%
  • Ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay) 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 10%
  • Nausea 10%
  • Diarrhea 9%
  • Headache 7%
  • Drowsiness 6%
  • Fatigue 6%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Lower sex drive 5%
More Lexapro side effects »
How it works
BusparLexapro
Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.Lexapro (Escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
BusparLexapro
Anti-anxiety
Azaspirodecanedione
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
BusparLexapro
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
BusparLexapro
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 Lexapro (Escitalopram), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
BusparLexapro
  • 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 Lexapro (Escitalopram) suddenly
  • Higher dose
  • History of heart problems
  • History of liver problems
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Lexapro (Escitalopram) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    BusparLexapro
    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.
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    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.
    • Lexapro (Escitalopram) 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.
    • Stopping Lexapro (Escitalopram) 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.
    • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
    Upsides and benefits
    BusparLexapro
    • 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 less sleepiness than some other antidepressants.
    • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    Downsides and risks
    BusparLexapro
    • 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.
    • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) than other antidepressants.
    • Can cause an irregular heartbeat if you take a high dose (20 mg a day, or more).
    • Not a good option for you if you have heart or liver problems.
    • 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, and might have side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    BusparLexapro
    • 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).
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
    • 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 LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert