Compare Zoloft vs. Buspar

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

Zoloft
(Sertraline)

Buspar
(Buspirone)

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.Helps you relax. Buspar (Buspirone) is effective for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and less effective for short-term use.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.74Zoloft
Reviews for Zoloft (Sertraline)
59%
of people (All ages) say Zoloft (Sertraline) is worth it
41%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
1472 reviews
Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Buspar (Buspirone)
46%
-13% worse vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
45%
+4% better vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
22%
-7% worse vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ZoloftBuspar
  • Nausea 10%
  • Diarrhea/loose stools 6%
  • Sleep difficulty 2%
  • Mouth dry 7%
  • Fatigue 10%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Feeling unwell 2%
  • Indigestion 4%
  • Loss of appetite 5%
  • Lower sex drive 2%
More Zoloft 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
ZoloftBuspar
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin in the brain, which regulates mood.Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.
Type of medication
ZoloftBuspar
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
ZoloftBuspar
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
ZoloftBuspar
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZoloftBuspar
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
      • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
      • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
      • Elderly
      • Taking with diuretic medications
      Detailed Zoloft (Sertraline) 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 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.

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

      Interactions
      ZoloftBuspar
      • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
      No interactions related info.
      Alcohol
      ZoloftBuspar
      No alcohol related info.
      • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
      Food
      ZoloftBuspar
      No food related info.
      • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
      Sex
      ZoloftBuspar
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      No sex related info.
      Sleep
      ZoloftBuspar
      • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
      • 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.
      • 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
      ZoloftBuspar
      • 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.
      • 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
      ZoloftBuspar
      • 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.
      • 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
      ZoloftBuspar
      • 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.
      • 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 ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Zoloft (Sertraline)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about BusparSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it