Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Anxiety/Stress: Has anyone had luck with Buspar?
February 14, 2014 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I recently started Wellbutrin for depression, and although it is helping with the mood, my anxiety is getting out of hand. Small things stress me out to no end. I have tried benzos for short-term anxiety issues, but I would not like to get hooked on them. My psychiatrist recommended Buspar to be taken with the Wellbutrin, but my friend told me that he was on it and it was little better than a placebo. I would like to hear peoples' experiences on Buspar, with or without Wellbutrin; did it make a difference in your anxiety/stress levels? Should I give it a chance, or is it a waste of time? Are there any other medications that would offset the increase in anxiety that Wellbutrin is giving me?

PS: I would not like to get off the Wellbutrin, as the benefit to my mood is substantial and it is the first antidepressant I have been on without sexual side effects. I am attempting to stay healthy through eating well and semi-regular exercise, and am looking into talk therapy.
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everyone is different so one person's Buspar pain may be another one's joy. Mine just added Deplin--a medical "food" suppliment to take with prozac. So far, so good. But it's pricey.
posted by stormpooper at 9:26 AM on February 14


I have no comment on the Buspar, but I will say that when I started on Wellbutrin my anxiety and insomnia went out of control. I had palpitations and a feather trigger for anxiety attacks. It normalized in about 6 weeks, though, and the lift to my mood stayed. I don't know if you can ride out the stress for a while, but it's worth considering. Alternately, it's possible that you could take something for the anxiety short-term, but not need it after you settle into the Wellbutrin.
posted by looli at 9:28 AM on February 14


Also, I always think it's worth giving something a chance, to answer your question, especially if you have a doctor you trust who takes your thought about the meds seriously.
posted by looli at 9:30 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine is on that exact combination. It works very well for him.
posted by griphus at 9:40 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I hadn't heard of Deplin so I found this:

Folate: Might be effective for depression, but we recommend that patients try the cheap stuff (folic acid) before springing for Deplin (L-methylfolate).

It raises the question of using nutritional adjuncts if the anxiety is just going to be transitional during the adjustment period, though. Even if you are "eating well," there may be things you are missing (I use sparkpeople.com not as a calorie tracker, but as a nutrient tracker, since I'm not interested in multivitamins so much). I've had nutritional deficiencies before and supplementing (AFTER TESTING and talking to your doctor--do not overdose yourself on fat-soluable vitamins+minerals) on B12, D3, and 2 g fish oil/day has had a real anti-anxiety side effect. It took about a month to kick in.

But yeah, why not just try the Buspar? Ask him how long you should "give it a chance" for.
posted by blue suede stockings at 9:43 AM on February 14


I take Buspar with Celexa; used to take Wellbutrinas well. I find the Buspar+Celexa combo works well for me: Celexa is longer-lasting, and Buspar boosts my productivity at work (by relieving my anxiety levels).
posted by IAmBroom at 9:50 AM on February 14


I'm all up on the Celexa for anxiety. It's freaking amazing, but this is so very specific to each person.

So if you can do Buspar and Celexa together, or perhaps Lexapro, that might be an avenue to explore.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:02 AM on February 14


I used to take Buspar alone. Now I take it with Wellbutrin.

Buspar actually worked pretty well for me, a little too well...it made me a bit apathetic. And it didn't do anything to certain non-anxiety symptoms I had (which is to be expected)

Both seem to be a really good combo for me, and I feel a lot better, overall. The first week of taking buspar (alone or in combination) was definitely insomnia city, but that got better with time, and by taking the
pills a few hours earlier. Wellbutrin actually makes me really relaxed, and sometimes sleepy, which isn't the norm, I guess, so ymmv.
posted by sock puppet of mystery! at 10:07 AM on February 14


I was on Buspar for anxiety and it worked out well. I didn't take it in combination with anything though. The only problem I had was that it made me feel funny (hard to describe, maybe light headed) about half an hour after taking it.
posted by Nolechick11 at 10:17 AM on February 14


I have taken Wellbutrin and Buspar, they worked really well together for me. I had been on the Wellbutrin for a couple of years, then there was a physical change in my workplace that caused my anxiety (HVAC compressors -loud noise, constant din gets to me). Buspar put me back to normal.
posted by kellyblah at 10:22 AM on February 14


I'm on a "cocktail" of buspirone (buspar), buproprion (wellbutrin), and escitalopram (lexapro). Not a particularly high dose of any of them, but the buspirone does take the edge off for me. I also have amitriptyline on hand if I have sleep trouble. Which I often do.
posted by janey47 at 10:24 AM on February 14


I did a lot of research when I was prescribed Buspar, and my research implied that it didn't work for lots of people. I didn't expect to work on me either, but it did! I started with 15 mg daily (half at morning, half at night) and I got brain zaps, dizziness, headaches and sleepiness which subsided after maybe three days. My doctor is slowly upping the dosage, but so far I have noticed a significant decrease in anxiety.

Funny enough, I had previously tried Wellbutrin, Prozac and Lexapro for depression and none of them worked or gave me serious side effects. Buspar has significantly helped with the depression and has the only side effect of giving me some numbness in the tips of my fingers. This goes away as the day goes by. So I'm pretty happy with it.
posted by cobain_angel at 10:46 AM on February 14


Wellbutrin works great for my depression, but made me angry. My doc added Buspar. It's working rather well, except that I have to take it 3x a day. The days where I don't remember to take every dose are definitely more grumbly than the days when I do.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:13 AM on February 14


Pharmacist here -- it's worth keeping in mind that any drug that affects the brain is going to have widely varying effects on different people, so I would really recommend giving it a try. You can't really know how any psych drug will work for you unless you try, and unless you give it a good long trial -- usually a few weeks. Meds for depression and anxiety take a lot of time and a lot of tweaking. It's inconvenient, but that's just how it is. Wellbutrin and Buspar is a really common combination, so it definitely works well for a lot of people. I definitely wouldn't consider it a waste of time to try.
posted by selfmedicating at 11:26 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Try it. There isn't much to lose.

As for me, it was useless. But I didn't have garden variety anxiety, I had severe PTSD.
posted by kathrynm at 11:28 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


I take Buspar along with Seroquel. I've been on this combination for roughly 8 months or so and feel I've been at a plateau for much of that. The combination, along with a few others I've since tapered off of, definitely helped get me out of a very bad/dangerous place, but I'm having a lot of difficulty determining whether the combination is actually still doing any good or if the improvement is because of life changes I've made.
posted by stubbehtail at 11:37 AM on February 14


I've taken Buspar and had similar experiences as quoted above. The nice thing about trying it is that there's effectively no withdrawal period. It's weirdly benign for a brain drug.
posted by linettasky at 11:43 AM on February 14


When I was on Buspar years ago it seemed to work well for me (it was hard to differentiate because I was on a lot of other meds.) My doctor told me that Buspar is not effective for most people, but for a small percentage of people it works very well. There's no way to know until you try it, you can always stop if it doesn't help.
posted by catatethebird at 11:47 AM on February 14


I've had pretty good results with Buspar and Prozac for depression and anxiety.
posted by Anne Neville at 12:12 PM on February 14


selfmedicating: "Pharmacist here -- it's worth keeping in mind that any drug that affects the brain is going to have widely varying effects on different people, so I would really recommend giving it a try. You can't really know how any psych drug will work for you unless you try, and unless you give it a good long trial -- usually a few weeks. Meds for depression and anxiety take a lot of time and a lot of tweaking. It's inconvenient, but that's just how it is. Wellbutrin and Buspar is a really common combination, so it definitely works well for a lot of people. I definitely wouldn't consider it a waste of time to try."

Favorited, repeated for emphasis, and: I have been tweaking my meds for almost ten years now, and am finally pretty damned happy with their effects.

I'll give anything a try that is doctor-recommended and/or science-backed.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:19 PM on February 14


I tried Buspar in combination with Lexapro and Welbutrin. My appetite surged on Buspar. I only took the Buspar for about a week because I was terrified of gaining weight. I figured the Buspar wasn't working anyway if I felt so anxious about gaining weight.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:54 PM on February 14


I'm surprised no one has noted that even a small dose of Buspar is likely to leave one feeling pretty dizzy/terrible for a good chunk of time after you take it, especially if you take it in the morning.

One thing to note is that benzos have a totally different feeling than Buspar. Benzos give you a very quick "hit" of relief that then lingers; Buspar is much more even. For me, Buspar was not a substitute for benzos/provided no relief.
posted by munyeca at 2:50 PM on February 14


My wife switched from Fluvoxamine to Wellbutrin and had the same issue; it didn't cover all of the anxiety. She went back on 25mg (which is a much smaller dosage) of the Fluvoxamine with the Wellbutrin and that seems to be working out very well. Of course, she also made other changes in her life to dramatically reduce stress... which is also helpful.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:14 PM on February 14


How long have you been on it?

If less than two or three weeks, give it a little time-and go for some long walks. I experienced some of what you did back when I was taking it, and that worked for me.

If it doesn't, you can always try what is recommended and if it doesn't work ask to try something else. Everyone's chemistry is different.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:15 PM on February 14


Are you taking the generic Wellbutrin, or the brand name? There are reports that certain generic brands are not therapeutically bioequivalent, and that they release the active ingredient too quickly, rather than gradually. Link 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Note- the ConsumerLab link only goes to the press release. The full report is much more detailed, and I recommend subscribing (I am not affiliated with the site, just a satisfied customer).
posted by invisible ink at 8:21 PM on February 14


Is there a reason you want to quit the benzos aside from "you don't want to get hooked"? Depending on the benzo, dose, and timing, physical dependence can be managed and benzos withdrawn slowly via tapering protocol. If your drugs are working you might want to stick with it, perhaps switching within benzo class as needed to move from shorter to longer acting forms for longer use. Did you ask to stop taking them or did your psychiatrist recommend it? Personally, unless my doc was pulling me off, I would stay on and manage the dose.

That said, if you trust your psychiatrist, take the Buspar. Your mileage will vary. Good luck.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:34 PM on February 14


I've been on Buspar for anxiety (together with a bunch of other meds) for about a year, with benzos to take as needed. The Buspar did seem to be mostly like a placebo... but then a few months after I started taking it, I realized that I hadn't needed the benzos for a while. So in my experience, unlike benzos (which work immediately), the effects of Buspar creep up on you over a few months. But I'd say that if you give it time, Buspar does work.
posted by The pets.com Mascot at 7:53 PM on February 15


Late to answer, but, yes! I'm on Lamictal and Buspar (Wellbutrin, when I tried it some years ago, gave me hives, alas). I also have Ativan for use as needed, and I also hardly ever have to take it now that I'm on the Buspar. That effect was pretty immediate for me. I take 15mg twice a day, because when I took 30 mg at once I got this *really annoying* tingling/numb sensation in my mouth, and a little bit of lightheadedness. I still get it a little bit sometimes, but much less so, and it goes away in 10-15 minutes. It's slightly annoying, but it's so much better than the anxiety that I can't bring myself to care too much.

It is known that Buspar doesn't help everyone. My psychiatrist warned me of this when she first wrote me the prescription. But when it works, it's awesome. I say give it a try.
posted by Because at 1:33 AM on February 16


I was in your exact situation awhile back. I loved how Wellbutrin was working for my depression, but my anxiety was still a huge problem. I started taking buspar and, like your friend, felt it did almost nothing. I also was prescribed Klonopins for occasional use, but that seemed like a very temporary solution, and I was also worried about addiction/dependence.

A few years later, the anxiety was so bad and so prevalent that I wasn't as tied to the Wellbutrin. I just wanted the anxiety to go away, because it was starting to eat away at my stable mood. I switched to Prozac and it's literally been magical for my anxiety. The sexual side effects are a pain in the ass, but bottom line: I would start looking into other meds. If the anxiety is a huge component of your mood disorder, Wellbutrin is not going to treat it on its own.

Good luck!
posted by DayTripper at 8:56 AM on February 25


munyeca: "I'm surprised no one has noted that even a small dose of Buspar is likely to leave one feeling pretty dizzy/terrible for a good chunk of time after you take it, especially if you take it in the morning."

That's because it isn't likely for most people. It's an occasional side effect, that especially afflicts you.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:59 AM on February 26


« Older Going to Key West in May and l...   |  Looking for specific recommend... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments