When it comes to treating anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax and Ativan are two of the most commonly helpful medications. Both drugs belong to the benzodiazepine family and work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain. However, there are some key differences between these two medications that you should be aware of before taking either one.
In this article, we’ll compare Xanax and Ativan and help you understand which medication might be right for you.
Xanax, also known by its generic name alprazolam, is a fast-acting benzodiazepine that’s commonly used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It works by increasing the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety and other emotions.
Xanax is available in immediate-release and extended-release forms and should take orally. The immediate-release form is usually taken three times per day, while the extended-release form is taken once per day.
- Xanax is fast-acting and can provide rapid relief from acute anxiety symptoms.s
- It has a relatively short half-life, meaning it doesn’t stay in your system for very long and won’t accumulate in your body over time.
- It’s available in both immediate-release and extended-release forms, so you can choose the option that works best for you.
- Because it’s fast-acting, Xanax can be habit-forming and isn’t recommended for long-term use.
- It can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and other side effects, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs.
- It shouldn’t be used by people with a history of drug or alcohol abuse, as they may be more prone to addiction.
Ativan, also known by its generic name lorazepam, is another benzodiazepine that’s commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Like Xanax, it works by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain.
Ativan is available in oral tablets, as well as injectable and intravenous formulations for use in hospitals and other medical settings.
- Ativan is longer-acting than Xanax, meaning it can provide more sustained relief from anxiety symptoms.
- It’s less likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness compared to Xanax.
- It has fewer drug interactions compared to Xanax.
- Ativan can still be habit-forming and isn’t recommended for long-term use.
- It can cause side effects such as confusion, memory problems, and muscle weakness, especially in older adults.
- It may not be as effective as Xanax for treating panic disorder.
Xanax Vs Ativan: Which One is Right for You?
When deciding between Xanax and Ativan, there are a few factors to consider:
1. Your Symptoms
Xanax may be a better choice if you have sudden, acute episodes of anxiety or panic disorder, as it provides fast relief. Ativan may be a better choice if you have more chronic or persistent anxiety symptoms, as it provides longer-lasting relief.
2. Your Medical History
For a person who has a medical history of drug or alcohol abuse, neither medication may be appropriate for you, as both are habit-forming. If you’re taking any other medications or have any underlying medical conditions, you should talk to your doctor before taking either medication.
3. Your Lifestyle
If you need to take medication throughout the day, Xanax may be a better choice. Since it’s available in immediate-release form, which means you can take it as needed. Ativan, on the other hand, is usually taken once or twice per day and may be more appropriate if you have a more predictable schedule.
What Doses should you take?
The recommended dosing for Xanax and Ativan varies depending on the patient’s age, weight, medical history, and the severity of their anxiety symptoms. Generally, a Prescription dose of Xanax is from 0.25mg to 2mg per day. Xanax is also available in extended-release tablets and should take once daily.
Also, Ativan is typically prescribed in doses ranging from 0.5 mg to 2 mg per day, with higher doses reserved for patients with severe anxiety or panic disorders. Ativan is available in oral tablets, oral solutions, and injections for intramuscular or intravenous administration.
It is important to follow the recommended dosing guidelines for both Xanax and Ativan to avoid the risk of overdose or other adverse effects.
Xanax and Ativan are both effective medications for treating anxiety and panic disorders, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the right medication for you will depend on your individual symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
If you’re considering taking Xanax or Ativan, talk to your doctor about which medication may be best for you. They can help you weigh the benefits and risks of each medication and develop a treatment plan that works for you.