Compare Buspar vs. Zoloft

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

Buspar
(Buspirone)

Zoloft
(Sertraline)

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. Zoloft (Sertraline) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more likely to cause insomnia and diarrhea than other antidepressants.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.63Buspar
Reviews for Buspar
46%
of people (All ages) say Buspar is worth it
45%
say it works well
22%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Zoloft
59%
-13% worse vs. Buspar
41%
+4% better vs. Buspar
15%
-7% worse vs. Buspar
1472 reviews
Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
BusparZoloft
  • Excitement 2%
  • Anger/Hostility 2%
  • Confusion 2%
  • Blurred Vision 2%
  • Diarrhea 2%
  • Numbness 2%
  • Weakness 2%
More Buspar side effects »
  • Anorexia 1%
  • Dyspepsia 3%
  • Agitation 2%
  • Ejaculation Failure 7%
  • Sweating Increased 5%
  • Constipation 2%
  • Tremor 8%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Dizziness 5%
More Zoloft side effects »
How it works
BusparZoloft
Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
BusparZoloft
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
BusparZoloft
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
BusparZoloft
Risk factors for serious side effects
BusparZoloft
  • Taking with MAOIs
  • Taking with Zyvox or methylene blue
  • Taking with or converting from benzodiazepine medicines
  • Duration of treatment
Detailed Buspar (Buspirone) risks & warnings »
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
  • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
  • Elderly
Detailed Zoloft (Sertraline) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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

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.

Interactions
BusparZoloft
No interactions related info.
  • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
Alcohol
BusparZoloft
  • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
No alcohol related info.
Food
BusparZoloft
  • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
No food related info.
Sex
BusparZoloft
No sex related info.
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
Sleep
BusparZoloft
  • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
  • Zoloft (Sertraline) may increase the risk of low sodium levels in the blood (hyponatremia). Watch out for symptoms including headache, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Talk to a doctor right away before developing more serious symptoms, such as hallucination, fainting, coma, and death.
  • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
Upsides and benefits
BusparZoloft
  • 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 lowering symptoms and relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
Downsides and risks
BusparZoloft
  • 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 diarrhea than other antidepressants.
  • 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
BusparZoloft
  • 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.
  • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
  • 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
Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it