Ativan vs Xanax – Difference and Comparison

What is Ativan?

Ativan, also known as lorazepam, is a specialized drug to treat anxiety. After it is ingested, the drug operates in the brain and central nervous system to calm the patient. In this age of mental health crisis, more and more physicians are prescribing Ativan to patients. There are two common forms of Ativan: a tablet and a liquid. The former is used to treat anxiety and insomnia among adults and children. The latter is used to treat people with epilepsy.

Like any other medicine that alters the functioning of the brain and CNS to induce a calming effect on the patient, Ativan entails some mild side effects. Some of the most observed side effects are sleepiness, dizziness, and weakness in the body. In addition, some patients also reported a lack of coordination, incoherent thoughts, perplexity, headache, depreciated memory, et cetera. Using the drug as per prescription can neutralize these side effects.

Usually, a physician considers many factors when prescribing a specific dose of Ativan to a patient. Age, medical conditions, the severity of the problem, and the form of Ativan are considered before determining the dosage. Doctors mostly begin with a low dose and then record the patient’s improvement on a scale. This helps them make changes in the already prescribed dosage. Tab tablet strength varies from 0.5 mg to 2 mg, whereas the liquid strength ranges from 2 mg per mL to 4 gm per mL.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a drug to treat specific psychological problems: generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. The panic disorder it relieves can be with or without agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped in unescapable places. The active drug in Xanax is alprazolam. Xanax is available in only one form – a tablet to be ingested orally. The strength of the tablet ranges from 0.25 mg to 2 mg.

There is no doubt that Xanax is effective in achieving its therapeutic targets. However, its unregulated use may result in addiction and obsession. Therefore, Xanax falls in the category of those drugs that are not allowed to use without a doctor’s recommendation and regulation. There is another form of Xanax as well – Xanax XR – made specifically to treat panic disorder.

Xanax, too, has several side effects, and these side effects are either mild or severe. Some mild side effects of Xanax are hypotension, constipation, memory loss, articulation difficulties, lack of focus, drowsiness, changing libido, et cetera. In some cases, when the drug is either used unregulated or without prescription, severe side effects appear. These include liver illnesses, seizures, inability to drive, addiction, hallucinations, et cetera.

Difference Between Ativan and Xanax

  1. Ativan is used for anxiety disorders, insomnia, and situational stress, whereas Xanax treats generalized anxiety and panic disorders.
  2. Ativan’s active ingredient is lorazepam, whereas Xanax’s special features are the result of alprazolam.
  3. Ativan is available in both tablet and solution form, whereas Xanax is only available in the form of tablets.
  4. Ativan starts working after thirty minutes of ingestion, whereas Xanax is observed to work after forty to forty-five minutes of dosing.
  5. Ativan’s side effects include sleepiness, dizziness, and weakness, et cetera, whereas Xanax’s side effects are hypotension, constipation, memory loss, articulation difficulties, lack of focus, drowsiness, et cetera.

Comparison Between Ativan and Xanax

Parameters of ComparisonAtivanXanax
Targeted IllnessAnxiety, Insomnia, Situational StressGeneralized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder
Active IngredientLorazepamAlprazolam
Medicinal Form(s)Tablet, Liquid SolutionTablet
Treatment Time30 Minutes40-45 Minutes
Side EffectsSleepiness, Dizziness, Weakness, HeadacheHypotension, Constipation, Memory Loss