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Updated on September 14, 2023
5 min read

Can You Mix Buspar and Alcohol?

What is Buspar?

Buspar is a brand name used for the prescription medication Buspirone. It belongs to a class of drugs known as anxiolytics and nonbenzodiazepines.3

It is an effective medication for symptoms of anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and short-term anxiety symptoms. It may also be used with antidepressants to treat depression.2

Although using Buspar has proven effective in treating anxiety disorder symptoms, it has been discontinued in the United States due to its addictive properties. As an alternative, drugs such as Xanax (alprazolam) and Clonazepam are still available in the U.S.

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How Does Buspar Work?

Buspar is an anti-anxiety medication that modifies the levels of certain natural substances in the central nervous system, like dopamine and serotonin.

Here are some symptoms of anxiety that Buspirone can treat:1

  • High blood pressure
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of loss of control
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blanking mind
  • Extreme irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Mood irregularities
  • Sleep abnormalities such as insomnia, trouble staying asleep, or unsatisfying sleep

Because each Buspirone prescription varies depending on a person’s needs and condition, it’s important to consult your doctor and pharmacist for personalized dosing instructions. They will guide you on how much and how frequently you should take Buspirone.

What Are the Side Effects of Buspar?

Although Buspirone can treat anxiety, using it may cause adverse effects. Some of the side effects of Buspirone include, but are not limited to, the following:3,4

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of nervousness or excitement
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

Seek medical advice from your healthcare provider if serious side effects worsen with your Buspirone prescription.


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Can You Mix Buspar and Alcohol?

Like many prescription medications, drinking alcohol with Buspar can decrease your treatment’s effectiveness. If you drink alcohol while taking Buspirone, it can increase certain side effects associated with both substances, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.2

Other side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Impaired motor control
  • Memory loss

It’s important to consult your doctor about alcohol use before taking any prescription medication. Your doctor may prescribe you a different drug with milder interactions with alcohol, or they may recommend alternative forms of treatment for your condition.

Other Drug Interactions with Buspar

Buspirone can interact with other medications and substances aside from alcohol. Mixing Buspirone with other substances, especially those that increase serotonin levels, can increase the risk of serious side effects.

These drugs include:2

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)
  • Linezolid
  • Procarbazine
  • MDMA (ecstasy)

You should never mix Buspirone with other drugs that increase serotonin levels. This can lead to a serious condition called serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal.


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Risks and Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Buspar

Mixing Buspirone and alcohol can increase the risk of severe side effects from both substances. Drinking alcohol while taking Buspirone can also put you at risk of:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart complications
  • Breathing problems

These side effects can be uncomfortable, dangerous, and even fatal. Another risk of heavy alcohol consumption and drug use is the increased risk of alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, and substance abuse.

If you or someone you know is experiencing side effects of mixing Buspirone and alcohol, contact your medical care center immediately.

Can Alcohol Worsen Anxiety Disorders?

Alcohol affects serotonin levels and other neurotransmitters in the brain, worsening anxiety. Although you may feel good while drinking, you’ll feel more anxious after the alcohol’s effects wear off.1

Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours to an entire day after drinking. Self-medicating with alcohol to cope with anxiety symptoms can also be dangerous, potentially causing addiction and dependence.1

Is Buspar Addictive?

Studies show that Buspar is less likely to lead to the same level of withdrawal symptoms and addiction as other anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium. This is because people do not develop a tolerance to Buspar with long-term use of the drug.

Since Buspar has been discontinued in the United States, your doctor may prescribe you a different, generic form of Buspirone, which is still available and serves the same purpose.

Treatment Options for Buspar and Alcohol Abuse

If you or someone you know struggles with substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD), contact your healthcare provider to identify potential treatment options. Medical professionals will be able to help you manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms as you detox from both substances.

Available treatment options include:

  • Inpatient care: It involves admission into a rehabilitation facility and undergoing intensive care and monitoring
  • Outpatient care: It’s a treatment option that works around the patient’s schedule and doesn’t require them to stay overnight
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): A short-term therapy technique that explores the link between thought patterns and addiction
  • Medication-assisted treatment: It uses medicine in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to assist with treatment
  • Support group: A network of people with similar issues or past experiences with SUD or alcohol addiction can help you recover and cope with lifestyle changes and relapse management

It’s important to understand that people respond to treatment differently, especially people with physical and psychological dependence on both substances. A healthcare professional or addiction specialist can help you find the right treatment option for AUD or substance abuse.


Buspar (Buspirone) is a prescription medication that alters dopamine and serotonin levels in the central nervous system to treat anxiety disorders. Although Buspar has been discontinued in the United States, it’s still available under the generic name Buspirone.

Although it’s safe, you should avoid misusing Buspirone or mixing it with other serotonin-enhancing substances like alcohol. This dangerous drug interaction can lead to severe consequences that require immediate medical attention, such as internal bleeding, heart complications, and breathing problems.

Treatment for SUD and AUD is available to manage any alcohol withdrawal symptoms or side effects from buspirone use. Since treatment options vary in effectiveness, it’s best to get advice from an addiction specialist.

Updated on September 14, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Anxiety Disorders.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. Buspar (Buspirone): Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Warning.” RxList, 2022.
  3. Buspirone (BuSpar).” NAMI.
  4. Buspirone: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  5. Dement et al. “Effects of Alprazolam, Buspirone and Diazepam on Daytime Sedation and Performance.” Clinical Drug Investigation, 2012.
  6. Dimitriou et al. “Buspirone vs Alprazolam: A Double-Blind Comparative Study of Their Efficacy, Adverse Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms.” Clinical Drug Investigation, 2012.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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