Difference Between Buspar and Xanax


Main Difference

The main difference between Buspar and Xanax is that Buspar contains the buspirone hydrochloride as active drug and Xanax contains the alprazolam as an active drug.

Buspar vs. Xanax

Buspar contains the buspirone hydrochloride; on the other hand, Xanax contains the alprazolam. Buspar is Serotonin receptor agonist while Xanax is Benzodiazepines. Buspar increases the pharmacological actions of serotonin at the receptor site, while Xanax increases the amount of GABA and its effects. Buspar is used as add on therapy for anxiety treatment on the other hand, Xanax is used as ist line treatment of anxiety. Buspar has a half-life of 2-3hrs whereas Xanax has a half-life of 11.2 hrs. Buspar has less abuse potential; on the other hand, Xanax has more abuse potential. Buspar dose is initiated at 0.7 mg twice daily in adults on the other hand Xanax dose is initiated at 0.25-0.5 mg three times daily in adults. Buspar price is low comparatively; on the other hand, Xanax price is high comparatively. Buspar pills are available while Xanax pills, dissolving tablet, extended-release, and liquid forms are available.


Comparison Chart

Buspar is the brand name of buspirone hydrochloride.Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam.
Drug group
Serotonin receptor agonistBenzodiazepines
Affected Neurotransmitter
Serotonin and DopamineGABA
Mechanism of Action
Increases pharmacological action of the serotoninIncreases the amount of neurotransmitter GABA
2-3 hrs11.2 hrs
Side Effects
Dizziness, Drowsiness, Blurred vision and troubled sleepingDizziness, Saliva production, Change in sex drive, Hallucinationand Suicide thoughts

What is Buspar?

Buspar contains buspirone hydrochloride. Buspar is used for short term relief and treatment of anxiety. Buspar is different chemically and pharmacologically from other drugs which are used for the treatment of anxiety-like the benzodiazepines and some other sedatives. Active therapeutic moiety buspirone of Buspar belongs to azapirone class of drugs. Buspar affects the neurotransmitter serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Buspar is serotonin receptor agonist hence increases pharmacological action at a serotonin receptor and mitigates the anxiety. Buspar is used with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as an add on medication for the treatment of anxiety or treatment. Buspar is not used as ist line treatment of anxiety.


Buspar can also be prescribed in those conditions where other drugs for treating anxiety have failed or involve too many side effects. Buspar is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders. Buspar tablets can be taken either with food or without food. Buspar is taken two or three times a day daily, and the starting dose is 5 mg twice daily. The dose can be increased by 5 mg every 2 to 3 days depending upon the medical situation of the patient, with a maximum dose of 60 mg. Most patients respond to 15 to 30 mg of Buspar. BuSpar is slow acting. Buspar takes a few weeks to show the effects. The optimal length of the duration of treatment of Buspar is determined by the evaluation of the response of Buspar treatment. Buspar is taken for several months, and Buspar dose can be reduced gradually to avoid withdrawal effects before stopping the intake of the drug. Some patients are hypersensitive to Buspar so this drug should not be prescribed to them. Buspar use requires more caution in liver patients as it is metabolized through the liver. Buspar use can affect blood glucose levels so it can be problematic to diabetic patients.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand of alprazolam, which is classified as benzodiazepines. Xanax is the most prescribed drug for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax increases the amount of GABA in the brain and produces a feeling of calmness and well being. Xanax decreases the abnormal excitement in the brain. Xanax shows its pharmacological actions by slowing down the movement of unbalanced brain chemicals. Xanax reduces anxiety and nervous tension. Cellulose, docusate sodium, lactose, corn starch, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, and sodium benzoate are inactive ingredients of the Xanax. The mouth takes Xanax, and its dose depends upon the gender, weight, age, and medical condition of an individual. The dose can be increased if a low dose is not working, and this increase in dose should be this much that drug starts to work. The patient must carefully follow the instructions of the prescribed, and it will reduce the risk of side effects associated with the Xanax treatment. The sudden stop of this medication would lead to the with drawl symptoms, which includes the seizures. With drawl, symptoms would be more severe if Xanax has been used for a long time. Xanax use sometimes leads to addiction, and to avoid this Xanax must be taken exactly as prescribed. Do not use Xanax in narrow-angle glaucoma or with itraconazole and ketoconazole. Xanax may cause allergic reactions in some patients so they should not use this. Xanax causes birth defects in pregnant women, and in newborns causes the life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Key Differences

  1. Buspar is the brand name of buspirone hydrochloride, on the other hand, Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam.
  2. Buspar belongs to serotonin receptor agonist while Xanax belongs to benzodiazepines.
  3. Buspar is used for anxiety as add on treatment, on the other hand, Xanax is used for anxiety as the 1st line treatment.
  4. Buspar half-life is 2-3 whereas hrs Xanax half-life is 11.2 hrs.
  5. Buspar is not much addictive on the other hand Xanax is much addictive
  6. Buspar initial dose is 7 mg twice daily in adults, whereas Xanax initial dose is 0.25-0.5 mg three times daily in adults.
  7. Buspar is comparatively of low cost while Xanax is comparatively of the high cost.
  8. Buspar is available in pills to form on the other hand Xanax is available in pill, dissolving tablet, extended-release, and liquid forms.


The main conclusion of the above discussion is that Buspar and Xanax belong to two different drug groups and are used to treat different depression and anxiety disorders.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White