Ativan and Xanax are the most commonly used drugs in the United States. They fall under the group of drugs called Benzodiazepines. This category of drugs is also addressed as psychoactive sedatives that are used to treat – anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, or muscle spasms. For a general intro, we would like to inform you that there are a lot of similarities between the two drugs. They are used to treat the same symptoms and affect a person’s body in the same pattern. However, there are also a few differences.
What is the use of Ativan?
Ativan or Lorazepam is used to treat anxiety in patients. People often take Ativan to use it as a preoperative sedative that is approved by the FDA. This drug acts on the brain and nerves and gives a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effect of naturally occurring chemical (GABA) that is present inside the CNS (central nervous system).
Some of the off-label uses of Ativan are –
- Mania from bipolar disorder
- Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
- Vomiting after chemotherapy
The FDA does not approve these uses of Ativan, but people do use the drug for the symptoms mentioned above. You are advised to always take the drug as per the recommended dose suggested by the doctor.
What is the use of Xanax?
Xanax or Alprazolam is also used to treat anxiety and panic disorders and depression. Xanax helps by affecting the chemicals that are unbalanced or disturbed in people suffering from anxiety. There are people who may use Xanax for a purpose not approved by the FDA.
Some of the off-label uses of Xanax are –
- Ringing sound in the ears
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- A severe case of premenstrual syndrome
- Essential syndrome
Now, as we said above, the off-label uses are not approved under the guidelines of the FDA. Furthermore, if you are taking Xanax without a prescription, then you will be liable for the side effects that may occur afterward. Our advice would be to take the drug as per the prescribed dose given by the doctor.
Side Effects –
The side effects of Ativan and Xanax are somewhere similar, and some are not the same. Below we have given the list of side effects of both the drugs simultaneously.
The side effect of Ativan –
- Muscle weakness
- Blurred vision
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Lack of coordination
- Symptoms of Amnesia
- Rashes on the skin
- Change in appetite (eating less)
The side effects of Xanax –
- Slurred speech
- Stomach upset
- Mouth gets dry
These were the side effects that may affect a person who is taking the drug. Even if you are taking a prescribed drug, then too there can be side effects that will affect your health. It is not necessary that every other person will suffer from the same side effects.
What’s common between Ativan and Xanax?
Ativan and Xanax both are drugs from the Benzodiazepine family that affects a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. This substance is involved in transmitting the communication from the nerve cells to the brain of a person. However, it is yet not known how and in what way Benzodiazepine GABA cells will affect the activity of the brain. They affect the nerves and produce a relaxing and calming effect on the person’s mind and body. Since Ativan and Xanax have the same effect on the body, they are prescribed for the same purpose as a short-term anxiety treatment. There are some similar points in the side effects of both the drugs as well.
Common side effects of Ativan and Xanax are –
- Swelling up of the hands and feet
- The increased amount of sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unable to concentrate
- Stuffy nose and symptoms of the cold
- Memory loss
- Lack of interest in sexual activities
Apart from these, both the drugs fall under the category of Benzodiazepine, which makes them effective and habit-forming as well. Both drugs can be physically and psychologically addictive. The patients who are taking any of the mentioned drugs should know that using it for a longer time period can be harmful to health. If a person is withdrawing from the use of Ativan or Xanax on a sudden note, there will be symptoms that can have adverse effects on the person’s health. The withdrawal symptoms may include – nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, or rapid heart rate.
It has been reported that both Ativan and Xanax can cause anxiety and panic attacks. In order to avoid the risk of getting affected by the adverse effects of the drug, go through the directions given by your physician, and take the drug according to it. In case if you find that the side effects are getting worse, do not waste time and run for immediate help from a medical professional. Due to the potential abuse of Ativan and Xanax and their addiction, these medications are prescribed only for a short while. These drugs are administered in the lowest number so that the person may get use to the content of the drug and tolerate them with ease.
Differences between Ativan and Xanax –
We have discussed above the things that are common between the two drugs – Ativan and Xanax. In the same way, there is some dissimilarity that we will be discussing here. One of the most significant differences between Ativan and Xanax is the way the body processes both of the drugs through it. Ativan is comparatively active for a longer time than Xanax. The effect of both the drug lasts between four to six hours. However, the Xanax effect peaks between two to four hours and not after that.
In the same manner, the amount of time the drugs take to get cleared out of the body is also different. The half-life of Ativan is between 14 to 15 hours, and Xanax’s half-life is between 11 to 12 hours. Apart from these, there were some differences between Ativan and Xanax in their side effects and other key points that are already mentioned above.
Ativan and Xanax Addiction –
These two drugs are used widely for their medicinal properties. People take these drugs to get relief from a number of medical conditions. The drug may not be prescribed for such medical conditions that people are taking it for. There are cases where people have suffered through serious risks by taking these two for other purposes not mentioned in the prescription label.
Xanax and Ativan addiction are caused when the patients carry on taking the drug for a longer time than it was prescribed for use. People make themselves dependent on the drug by using it for an extended time period.