Compare Xanax vs. Buspar

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

Xanax
(alprazolam)

Buspar
(buspirone)

Helps you relax. Xanax (Alprazolam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety, and longer-term for panic attacks. More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.Helps you relax. Buspar (Buspirone) is effective for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and less effective for short-term use.
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Prices and coupon for 60 (0.5mg) tablets of alprazolam
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Prices and coupon for 60 (10mg) tablets of buspirone
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.35Xanax
Reviews for Xanax (alprazolam)
74%
of people (All ages) say Xanax (alprazolam) is worth it
55%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
1287 reviews
Have you used Xanax (alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Buspar (buspirone)
46%
-28% worse vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
45%
-10% worse vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
22%
-9% worse vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
Have you used Buspar (buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
XanaxBuspar
  • Drowsiness 34%
  • Fatigue and tiredness 6%
  • Impaired coordination 23%
  • Irritability 3%
  • Memory impairment 11%
  • Increased appetite 10%
More Xanax side effects »
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Any side effect 10%
  • Drowsiness 1%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Headache 3%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Central nervous system disturbances 3%
More Buspar side effects »
How it works
XanaxBuspar
Xanax (Alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.
Type of medication
XanaxBuspar
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
XanaxBuspar
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
XanaxBuspar
Risk factors for serious side effects
XanaxBuspar
  • History of drug abuse
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • Taking more than 4 mg/day or longer than 12 weeks
  • Stopping Xanax (Alprazolam) suddenly
  • Severely depressed
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • First trimester of pregnancy
  • Current liver problems
Detailed Xanax (alprazolam) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with MAOIs
  • Taking with Zyvox or methylene blue
  • Taking with or converting from benzodiazepine medicines
  • Duration of treatment
Detailed Buspar (buspirone) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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

Alcohol
XanaxBuspar
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
Food
XanaxBuspar
No food related info.
  • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
XanaxBuspar
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Sleep
XanaxBuspar
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
Upsides and benefits
XanaxBuspar
  • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety.
  • Effective longer-term for panic attacks.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
XanaxBuspar
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
XanaxBuspar
  • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
  • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • 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).
Learn more
More about XanaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Xanax (alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about BusparSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Buspar (buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it