Buspirone HCl (Buspar) is a common anti-anxiety medication. It is in a class of anxiolytic drugs known as azapirones.
It has the potential to improve mood and quality of life by treating symptoms such as anxiety, worry, tension, irritability, and fear.
But since antidepressants and anxiolytic medications are often known for suppressing libido or sexual function, it’s natural to wonder how buspirone could affect your sex life.
However, buspirone is not like other anti-anxiety drugs. Though it works to support serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, it does so at different receptors.
In turn, it may cause fewer side effects. It also may be prescribed to help alleviate common side effects from other drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
And since it does not influence the neurotransmitter GABA, buspirone is a non-addictive choice compared to something like alprazolam (Xanax).
In this article, we’ll explore possible sexual side effects of buspirone, including how it can specifically affect men and women.
We’ll also discuss when to see a doctor about any adverse effects of medication.
Does Buspar Have Sexual Side Effects?
While everyone responds uniquely to a medication, unlike most antidepressants and anxiety disorder medications, buspirone (Buspar) is not known for having negative sexual side effects.
One of the only downsides to buspirone is that, as an anti-anxiety drug, it may take 2-4 weeks before beneficial effects kick in.
However, when taken to offset negative side effects from other antidepressants, its effects may be noticed sooner.
Buspar to Counter SSRI Sexual Side Effects
SSRIs and other medications for anxiety and depression improve symptoms of these conditions by shifting levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
This can also alter the way that the brain responds to sexual activity. Up to 80% of people taking SSRIs may notice some change to sexual desire or sexual function such as low libido, delayed orgasm, or erectile dysfunction.
Buspirone may help. Research has found that it can help to alleviate the negative sexual side effects of antidepressants such as SSRIs.
In one clinical trial, 58% of people noticed an improvement in sexual function when treated with buspirone.
Buspar Sexual Side Effects in Men
If the primary negative side effect of an antidepressant is erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual arousal, your healthcare provider may recommend adding buspirone (Buspar) to your regimen rather than stopping or decreasing your SSRI.
It is important to communicate with your doctor about all side effects that you notice from antidepressant treatment, including changes to sexual function or desire.
Once they know there is a problem, your healthcare provider can recommend ways to counterbalance these symptoms.
In addition to buspirone, other medications that may help offset SSRI-caused changes to sexual function include:
Does Buspar cause erectile dysfunction?
Although people respond individually to medications, buspirone is not widely associated with causing erectile dysfunction (ED).
Conversely, it can be used as a way to remedy ED in men who experience sexual side effects from other medications such as SSRIs.
Buspar Sexual Side Effects in Women
Women may experience sexual side effects from SSRIs and other antidepressants as frequently as men, but there are fewer medicines to help address them.
Buspirone may be more effective for treating SSRI-induced sexual side effects in women compared to men.
When to See a Medical Professional
If you take SSRIs, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), buspirone, or any other medication for the treatment of depression or anxiety, communicate with a healthcare provider on a regular basis about how you are feeling.
This includes side effects that you notice, such as changes to your sex drive or sexual function.
A healthcare provider can share recommendations to improve quality of life.
If you take SSRIs and experience sexual problems, ask a healthcare provider whether buspirone or another medication could help decrease those side effects.
How K Health Can Help
Think you might need a prescription for buspar (buspirone)?
K Health has clinicians standing by 24/7 to evaluate your symptoms and determine if citalopram is right for you.
Get started with our free assessment, which will tell you in minutes if treatment could be a good fit. If yes, we’ll connect you right to a clinician who can prescribe medication and have it shipped right to your door.
Frequently Asked Questions
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
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Drugs That May Cause Erection Problems. (2021).
Effect of Buspirone on Sexual Dysfunction in Depressed Patients Treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. (1999).
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: Current Management Perspectives. (2020).
Sexual Dysfunction in Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Potential Solutions: A Narrative Literature Review. (2016).