Buspirone a controlled substance

Is BuSpar (Buspirone) A Controlled Substance?

BuSpar is an antianxiety medication that is not considered a controlled substance and may be a safer alternative to Xanax for some people. However, BuSpar can still be dangerous in high doses, especially when mixed with other substances like alcohol.

BuSpar is a prescription medication that is often used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

BuSpar has been discontinued as a brand name because there are so many generic versions of buspirone hydrochloride (buspirone HCL) currently available.

Buspirone has been found to be effective in the short-term treatment of anxiety and symptoms of anxiety.

It is often prescribed to a person in addition to certain antidepressants as a way of assisting them through especially stressful periods of time.

While BuSpar shares similarities with drugs like Xanax (alprazolam) and Valium (diazepam) in what it treats and potential side effects, it is not considered a narcotic or controlled substance.

Why BuSpar Is Not Considered A Controlled Substance

BuSpar is not a controlled substance because it is generally considered safe and non-addictive, unlike other drugs which have the same effects.

The biggest dangers with buspirone involve drug interactions.


There is no current evidence to suggest that BuSpar is addictive or that people taking it will build up a tolerance to it.

People may, however, experience mild withdrawal symptoms when going off of it, which signals a buspirone dependence.

Less Sedative Properties Than Drugs Like Xanax

The effects of BuSpar, in general ,are similar to Xanax but more mild, including the sedative effects of the drug.

A high dose of buspirone will increase these sedative effects, but there has never been a recorded instance of someone overdosing on buspirone alone.

Works On Serotonin Receptors

Buspirone is considered safer than Xanax because it works on serotonin receptors as opposed to gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) receptors.

GABA is a type of key neurotransmitter in the brain that impairs motor neurons and thus neuronal activity.

When these neurotransmitters are damaged over time with extended buspirone Xanax use, it can be detrimental to a person’s brain health.

What Drug Class Is Buspirone?

Buspirone is considered a non-benzodiazepine antianxiety agent. It can be referred to as an anxiolytic, or, a drug that is prescribed for treating anxiety.

Buspirone is usually not prescribed to someone as a first attempt at treating anxiety, and is more often prescribed only after someone has experienced adverse effects from a drug like Xanax.

How Buspar Works In The Body

While BuSpar works mostly by acting on serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain, there is also evidence to suggest that it works on dopamine neurotransmitters as well.

Serotonin and dopamine are both neurotransmitters that carry responsibility for a person’s mood and overall levels of happiness and pleasure.

One of the possible more serious side effects of buspirone is the development of a condition called serotonin syndrome.

This occurs when too much serotonin builds up in a person’s body and can be life-threatening if left untreated.

How Does Buspar Make You Feel?

As BuSpar is designed to treat anxiety disorders, it tends to make a person feel relaxed in order to combat their anxiety.

It can also make a person feel sleepy and tired, and even a little euphoric in some cases.

Common side effects of BuSpar include:

  • nausea
  • drowsiness
  • headaches
  • impairment
  • lightheadedness
  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • chest pain
  • weight gain

People may also experience withdrawal symptoms when going off BuSpar, but these are generally mild and can be avoided by tapering off the drug per healthcare provider instructions.

Is Buspar Dangerous?

BuSpar is not dangerous when taken as directed for a prescription drug. However, BuSpar can become dangerous when taken in high doses or when mixed with other substances, such as alcohol.

Grapefruit juice should be avoided while taking buspirone. Breastfeeding mothers should also avoid taking buspirone.

Buspirone can raise a person’s blood pressure to dangerous levels when combined with a type of drug known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Drugs that may have potential interactions with buspirone include:

  • erythromycin (a type of antibiotic)
  • diltiazem (used for treating angina)
  • haloperidol (used for treating mood disorders)
  • itraconazole (an antifungal medication)
  • nefazodone (a type of antidepressant)
  • rifampin (a type of antibiotic)
  • fluoxetine (a type of antidepressant)
  • phenelzine (a type of antidepressant)

It is always important to be aware of any dangerous drug interactions and to follow the medical advice and directions of a healthcare professional.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Services Today

BuSpar may not be considered dangerous on its own, but when abused with other drugs or substances, or taken in high doses, it comes with risks.

To discuss treatment options for yourself or a loved one, get in touch with us through our helpline today.

Written by the Addiction Resource Editorial Staff

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Article resources

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration
    https://www. dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling
  • United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
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BuSpar (Buspirone) Drug Class | What Type Of Drug Is Buspar?

  • Is BuSpar A Controlled Substance?
  • What Type Of Drug Is BuSpar?

Buspirone (brand name BuSpar) is an anxiolytic and anti-anxiety prescription drug used to help treat symptoms of anxiety for those suffering from certain anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

Is BuSpar A Controlled Substance?

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), BuSpar is not considered a controlled substance. This means the drug is unlikely to be abused or lead to addiction.

What Type Of Drug Is BuSpar?

BuSpar is an anxiolytic medication, which means it’s an anti-anxiety drug.

However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states BuSpar is unrelated to other anxiety medications and antidepressants such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates. 

BuSpar binds to dopamine receptors in the brain and can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain providing relief for those suffering from anxiety.

Side Effects Of BuSpar

Although BuSpar may not be considered a controlled substance, it has common side effects.

Common Side Effects

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the common short-term side effects of buspirone may consist of:

  • dizziness
  • sedation
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • nervousness

Rare Side Effects

Rare side effects may include:

  • tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements)
  • weight fluctuations
  • changes in blood pressure
  • fainting
  • serotonin syndrome which may cause hallucinations or seizures

Adverse Effects

A number of adverse effects can occur in those who take BuSpar, including allergic reactions and worsened medical conditions.

An allergic reaction may take place in those with a hypersensitivity to buspirone hydrochloride. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may lead to serious side effects such as chest pain, blurred vision, and an irregular heartbeat.

Those with certain medical conditions, including pregnancy, should seek the medical advice of their healthcare provider before taking BuSpar. Women who are breastfeeding should also speak with their doctor to determine the risk to the child if the drug can be passed through breast milk.

Patients with renal impairment should also avoid taking this prescription medication.

BuSpar Drug Interactions

Various drug interactions may take place if BuSpar is combined with any of the substances or medications listed below:

  • itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
  • certain vitamins or supplements
  • diltiazem (Tiazasc, Dilacor, Cardizem)
  • benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • sleeping pills
  • muscle relaxants
  • nefazodone (Serzone)
  • grapefruit juices
  • erythromycin (E-Mycin, Erythrocin)
  • alcohol
  • verapamil (Covera, Verelan, Calan)
  • opioids
  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) and phenytoin (Phenytek, Dilantin)
  • sedatives
  • serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • barbiturates
  • trazodone (Desyrel)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Those taking BuSpar should also avoid taking MAO inhibitors. Examples of these inhibitors include:

  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • selegiline (Emsam, Zelapar, Eldepryl)
  • methylene blue
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The use of buspirone with SSRIs can lead to serious mental health concerns. SSRIs include:

  • fluoxetine (Sarafem, Prozac, Selfemra)
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • paroxetine (Pexeva, Brisdelle, Paxil)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)

Serotonin syndrome may occur during long-term use. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if the prescription drug is stopped abruptly when combined with other medications, causing a person to experience irritability, insomnia, and tremors.

If you or a loved one struggles with prescription drug use, contact us today for information on our treatment options.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

This page does not provide medical advice.


Food and Drug Administration - BuSpar
National Alliance on Mental Illness - Buspirone (BuSpar)
National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Buspirone
National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Buspirone

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