Buspar (Buspirone) With Alcohol Interaction

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the potential interaction between Buspar (buspirone) and alcohol.

Jul 26, 2018

Steph asked

Can you drink alcohol while on Buspar?


It is generally not recommended to take Buspar (buspirone), an anti-anxiety medication, with alcohol (which includes wine, beer and liquor). Taking both together can have additive effects, such as an increased risk of sedation, dizziness and cognitive impairment.

While Buspar certainly does not have the central nervous system depressant effects of drugs like benzodiazepines, it can cause a variety of related side effects, including:

  • Dizziness (12% incidence)
  • Drowsiness (10% incidence)
  • Lightheadedness 3% incidence)
  • Decreased Concentration (2% incidence)

Alcohol shares similar side effects and it would be prudent to avoid combining medications/substances with like effects.

It should be noted that the prescribing information for Buspar specifically discusses the potential interaction with alcohol, and states that studies show it does not increase alcohol related motor and cognitive impairment:

"While formal studies of the interaction of BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride) with alcohol indicate that buspirone does not increase alcohol-induced impairment in motor and mental performance, it is prudent to avoid concomitant use of alcohol and buspirone."

So, while evidence suggests that taking Buspar and alcohol together won't cause an additive increase in motor and mental performance impairment, they can still cause other additive side effects like dizziness, sedation and lightheadedness.

Fortunately, if you want to avoid a potential Buspar/alcohol interaction, Buspar is metabolized quickly from the body. The average half-life is 2 to 4 hours in healthy adults. This means that the drug will be completely eliminated from the body within 12-24 hours for most individuals.

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