Compare Buspar vs. Paxil

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

Buspar
(Buspirone)

Paxil
(Paroxetine)

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. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, 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 Paxil (Paroxetine)
52%
+1% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
39%
8% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
23%
+5% vs. Buspar (Buspirone)
Side effects
BusparPaxil
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Headache 3%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Drowsiness 1%
More Buspar side effects »
  • Abnormal ejaculation† 27%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance 26%
  • Nausea 22%
  • Dry mouth 19%
  • Drowsiness 17%
  • Lower sex drive 11%
  • Diarrhea 11%
  • Sleep difficulty 11%
  • Constipation 10%
  • Decreased libido 10%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
BusparPaxil
Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
BusparPaxil
Anti-anxiety
Azaspirodecanedione
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Available as
BusparPaxil
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
BusparPaxil
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 Paxil (Paroxetine), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
BusparPaxil
  • 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 Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
      Detailed Paxil (Paroxetine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      BusparPaxil
      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
      DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but 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 more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
      • Paxil (Paroxetine) 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.
      • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) 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) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
      • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
      Upsides and benefits
      BusparPaxil
      • 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 and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
      • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      BusparPaxil
      • 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 more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
      • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
      • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 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
      BusparPaxil
      • 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.
      • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
      • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
      • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
      Learn more
      More about BusparSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert