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Buspirone and Xanax are different medications used for managing anxiety symptoms, but they have significant differences. Understanding Buspirone vs. Xanax can help determine which medication might work best for those with anxiety.


Buspirone is an anxiolytic or anti-anxiety medication.


Buspirone has been approved for use in treating symptoms of anxiety in those with anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It has off-label uses as well, such as treating depression and ADHD.


Buspirone should not be used by individuals who have a hypersensitivity to buspirone hydrochloride. This medication is also not considered safe to use while also taking MAOI medications.


Xanax is a benzodiazepine or sedative. It is available in prescription form and generic form under the name alprazolam.


Xanax is used to manage symptoms of anxiety disorders and provide short-term relief for depression and anxiety. It has several off-label uses, such as treating insomnia, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Xanax is not considered safe to use in individuals who have a sensitivity to this medication or other types of benzodiazepines. It is also contraindicated with itraconazole and ketoconazole medications.

Buspirone vs Xanax — What is the Difference?

Buspirone and Xanax are different types of medications, though they are both used for treating anxiety. They have different chemical makeups, which has an impact on the kinds of side effects they may cause. Xanax typically causes sleepiness or drowsiness, while buspirone does not tend to cause these effects as often. The side effects of buspirone may also include headaches and weakness. Xanax may cause several other side effects, such as vision changes, disorientation, sexual dysfunction, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

In terms of effectiveness, a 2012 study showed that both medications were equally effective at managing anxiety symptoms. Buspirone was also shown to have fewer withdrawal symptoms and side effects compared to Xanax. Another 2012 study involving buspirone, Xanax, and Valium found that buspirone causes the lowest amount of daytime sleepiness.

The way buspirone helps ease anxiety isn’t fully understood, although it is believed to involve serotonin and dopamine receptors. Xanax helps treat anxiety symptoms by affecting GABA receptors.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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