Buspirone (BuSpar) – Does It Make You Lose Weight?

As you may know, I recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post explaining why I believe the newest drug to hit the market might be able to help you lose weight. In it, I discussed my concerns regarding the impact that prescription drugs typically have on our health, especially when it comes to drugs which alter the way our bodies react to insulin (a hormone which helps regulate blood sugar).

Since then, I’ve had several people reach out to me asking about buspirone, a drug which can be used to treat depression. Interested in trying it yourself? Here’s what you should know.

What Is It And How Does It Work?

Buspirone is a serotonin 1A receptor agonist. It works by increasing the activity of serotonin neurons in the brain. When this happens, the neurotransmitter naturally relaxes the brain, reducing anxiety and giving you a more relaxed feeling.

There are a few different brands of buspirone which your doctor may prescribe for you, depending on what symptoms you’re experiencing. To learn more, check out the drug’s page on MedlinePlus.

How Is It Dosed/Indicated?

The recommended dose for adults is between 0.5 mg and 1.5 mg per day. Some doctors even recommend experimenting with a low dose (e.g., 0.25 mg) to see how your body responds.

It may be helpful to take it before a meal or drink, as the effect it has on insulin sensitivity can be enhanced when ingested along with food. In fact, some doctors have theorized that if you eat within 30 minutes of taking buspirone, it could help reduce the negative effects the drug has on your body.

Keep in mind that since buspirone is a relatively new drug, the long-term effects are still largely unknown. What is known is that it is probably not the solution for weight loss.

Will It Make You Gain Weight?

It’s important to note that not all forms of depression make you gain weight. In fact, in some cases, like melancholic depression, you may even lose weight. It depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • the composition of your meals
  • the types of supplements you take
  • whether or not you’re physically active
  • your hormone levels (e.g., the stress hormone cortisol)

So, it’s important to seek medical advice from your doctor if you’re concerned about whether or not you might gain weight from taking buspirone. He or she can help you determine the right drug for the right situation.

What Are The Most Common Side Effects?

Because of its mechanism of action, buspirone has some common side effects. They include:

  • drowsiness
  • bloating
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • diarrhea
  • trouble sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • faintness

All of these things are completely normal and expected. As I mentioned before, since buspirone is a relatively new drug, the long-term effects are still largely unknown. However, it’s obvious that some people have experienced problems with it. In fact, the most common side effect listed above (drowsiness) led to its removal from the marketplace in Europe and Canada back in 2012.

Are There Any Other Drug Interactions?

Since you’re likely to be taking a prescription medication anyway, it’s important to be aware of any drug interactions which might occur. With that in mind, it’s important to know that there are a number of medications which have been shown to either increase or decrease the metabolic effect of buspirone. That is, it adjusts the way your body uses insulin. Some of the medications which interfere with the action of buspirone include:

  • erythromycin (an antibiotic)
  • metformin (an anti-diabetic medication)
  • phenytoin (an anticonvulsant medication)
  • quinidine (an anti-arrhythmic medication)

As you can see, there are many different factors which can affect whether or not you’ll gain weight from taking buspirone. So, if you’re not sure whether or not it’s the right drug for you, it might be a good idea to try a different antidepressant (or no medication at all). Your doctor can help you find the right treatment for your specific situation.