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Ativan vs. Xanax

Are Xanax and Ativan the Same Thing?

Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are both used to treat anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

They are in the benzodiazapine family of drugs, which help inhibit excess nerve stimulation in the brain. Researchers believe excess neural firing in the brain causes anxiety.

Benzodiazapines affect gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. How it works, exactly, isn't clear, but scientists believe Ativan, Xanax and other benzodiazepines may act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain. By influencing GABA, benzodiazepines reduce the activity of nerves in the brain.

Both drugs also have the potential for addiction. Stopping either Ativan or Xanax abruptly can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms, depending on how long a person has been taking the drug.

The central difference between Ativan and Xanax is Ativan leaves a person's system more quickly, reducing the chance of toxicity or side effects. Some side effects of both these drugs include sedation, dizziness, weakness, unsteadiness, and memory problems.

Ativan also has fewer unfavorable interactions with other medications when compared to Xanax. Each medication, however, can cause dangerous increased sedation when consumed with alcohol, other depressants or other anti-anxiety medications.

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 Xanax?

Common side effects of Xanax include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Memory problems
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • 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 Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders and the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety in adults. Xanax is also indicated for the treatment of panic disorder in adults with or without a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment (agoraphobia).

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 Xanax?

Do not take Xanax if you are allergic to alprazolam, other benzodiazepines, or any of the ingredients in Xanax. See the end of this Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Xanax. you are taking antifungal medicines including ketoconazole and itraconazole.

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 Xanax Be Taken?

Take Xanax exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much Xanax to take and when to take it. If you take too much Xanax, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine medicine. Taking benzodiazepines with opioid medicines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants (including street drugs) can cause severe drowsiness, breathing problems (respiratory depression), coma and death.

Xanax can make you sleepy or dizzy, and can slow your thinking and motor skills.

Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how Xanax affects you.

Do not drink alcohol or take other drugs that may make you sleepy or dizzy while taking Xanax without first talking to your healthcare provider. When taken with alcohol or drugs that cause sleepiness or dizziness, Xanax may make your sleepiness or dizziness much worse.

Do not take more Xanax than prescribed.

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.

As drug information can and will change at any time, RxList.com makes every effort to update its drug information. Due to the time-sensitive nature of drug information, RxList.com makes no guarantees that the information provided is the most current.

Any missing drug warnings or information does not in any way guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or the lack of adverse effects of any drug. The drug information provided is intended for reference only and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.

If you have specific questions regarding a drug’s safety, side effects, usage, warnings, etc., you should contact your doctor or pharmacist, or refer to the individual drug monograph details found on the FDA.gov or RxList.com websites for more information.

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. Xanax Side Effects Drug Center.
https://www.rxlist.com/xanax-side-effects-drug-center.htm
DailyMed. Ativan Prescribing Information.
https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fda/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?setid=5fc0e987-61c9-40c4-b0d5-fcea07c8733e&type=display
Xanax.com
https://www.xanax.com/
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