Ativan vs. Valium

Are Valium and Ativan the Same Thing?

Ativan (lorazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are both used to treat anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders.

Both drugs are members of the benzodiazapine family of medications. According to the current understanding of neuroscience, anxiety disorders are a result of excess neural activity in the brain. Benzodiazapines like Ativan and Valium suppress the excess nerve activity by affecting a specific neurotransmitter (messenger chemical) called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Ativan and Valium, like other benzodiazapines, are addictive and people taking them may experiences withdrawal symptoms if they stop treatment abruptly.

The central difference between lorazepam and diazepam is lorazepam leaves a person's system more quickly, reducing the chance of toxicity or side effects. Side effects of both Ativan and Valium, aside from potential addiction, include drowsiness, fatigue, depression, unsteadiness, and memory problems.

Ativan also has fewer unfavorable interactions with other medications when compared to Valium. Both drugs, however, can cause dangerous increased sedation when consumed with alcohol.

SLIDESHOW

Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures See Slideshow

What Are Possible Side Effects of Ativan?

Most adverse reactions to benzodiazepines, including CNS effects and \respiratory depression, are dose dependent, with more severe effects occurring with high doses.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Valium?

Side effects of Valium include

  • drowsiness,
  • tired feeling,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation,
  • fatigue,
  • constipation,
  • ataxia (loss of balance),
  • memory problems,
  • restlessness,
  • irritability,
  • muscle weakness,
  • nausea,
  • drooling,
  • dry mouth,
  • slurred speech,
  • blurred or double vision,
  • skin rash,
  • itching, or
  • loss of interest in sex.

What is Ativan?

Ativan (lorazepam) is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depressive symptoms. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

What is Valium?

Valium is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

In acute alcohol withdrawal, Valium may be useful in the symptomatic reliefc of acute agitation, tremor, impending or acute delirium tremens and hallucinosis.

What Drugs Interact With Ativan?

Ativan produces increased central nervous system (CNS) depressant effects when administered with other CNS depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, antipsychotics, sedative/hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, narcotic analgesics, sedative antihistamines, anticonvulsants,and anesthetics

The use of clozapine and lorazepam may produce marked sedation, excessive salivation, hypotension, ataxia, delirium, and respiratory arrest.

What Drugs Interact With Valium?

Centrally Acting Agents

If Valium is to be combined with other centrally acting agents, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents employed particularly with compounds that may potentiate or be potentiated by the action of Valium, such as phenothiazines, antipsychotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, hypnotics, anticonvulsants, narcotic analgesics, anesthetics, sedative antihistamines, narcotics, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors and other antidepressants.

Alcohol

Concomitant use with alcohol is not recommended due to enhancement of the sedative effect.

Antacids

Diazepam peak concentrations are 30% lower when antacids are administered concurrently. However, there is no effect on the extent of absorption. The lower peak concentrations appear due to a slower rate of absorption, with the time required to achieve peak concentrations on average 20 - 25 minutes greater in the presence of antacids. However, this difference was not statistically significant.

QUESTION

Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes. See Answer

How Should Ativan Be Taken?

Ativan (lorazepam) is administered orally. For optimal results, dose, frequency of administration, and duration of therapy should be individualized according to patient response. To facilitate this, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg tablets are available.

The usual range is 2 to 6 mg/day given in divided doses, the largest dose being taken before bedtime, but the daily dosage may vary from 1 to 10 mg/day.

For anxiety, most patients require an initial dose of 2 to 3 mg/day given two or three times a day.

For insomnia due to anxiety or transient situational stress, a single daily dose of 2 to 4 mg may be given, usually at bedtime.

For elderly or debilitated patients, an initial dosage of 1 to 2 mg/day in divided doses is recommended, to be adjusted as needed and tolerated.

The dosage of Ativan (lorazepam) should be increased gradually when needed to help avoid adverse effects. When higher dosage is indicated, the evening dose should be increased before the daytime doses.

How Should Valium Be Taken?

Take Valium exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much Valium to take and when to take it.

Talk to your healthcare provider about slowly stopping Valium to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

If you take too much Valium, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Disclaimer

All drug information provided on RxList.com is sourced directly from drug monographs published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Any drug information published on RxList.com regarding general drug information, drug side effects, drug usage, dosage, and more are sourced from the original drug documentation found in its FDA drug monograph.

Drug information found in the drug comparisons published on RxList.com is primarily sourced from the FDA drug information. The drug comparison information found in this article does not contain any data from clinical trials with human participants or animals performed by any of the drug manufacturers comparing the drugs.

The drug comparisons information provided does not cover every potential use, warning, drug interaction, side effect, or adverse or allergic reaction. RxList.com assumes no responsibility for any healthcare administered to a person based on the information found on this site.

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You may also report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting the FDA MedWatch website or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

References

RxList. Ativan Side Effects Drug Center.
https://www.rxlist.com/ativan-side-effects-drug-center.htm
RxList. Valium Side Effects Drug Center.
https://www.rxlist.com/valium-side-effects-drug-center.htm

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