Both Ativan and Xanax are known as Benzodiazepines, a type of psychotropic drug that is used to treat anxiety. The purpose of each drug is for short-term relief from the effects of anxiety, although in many cases they are used in long term situations for which they are not designed.
Treatment with Xanax
Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorder and provide short term relief when it comes to panic disorder which may or may not include agoraphobia. In addition, it can be used to treat anxiety that is associated with depression. Ativan is used to provide short term relief for anxiety disorders mostly associated with symptoms of depression or anxiety associated insomnia.
However, are there significant differences between both of these drugs?
First, Xanax has been approved for use in treating panic disorders while Ativan has not. There have been many different trials and studies between these two drugs and interestingly enough each drug works well for panic disorder, although Ativan has yet to be officially approved. This is because there are indications that Ativan users are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to the drug as opposed to Xanax users when it comes to panic disorder. Ativan requires more doses during the day and it is believed that this type of dosage measure actually reinforces the potential for abuse.
Xanax comes in immediate and longer term relief dosages which provide it with a bit more flexibility in terms of its use. Xanax is generally taken twice a day to provide short term relief until the symptoms of anxiety are gone. Ativan usually requires more doses per day as directed.
Similar Side Effects
However, despite some of the differences, there are similarities in terms of the side effects that can be experienced.
1. Nervous System Depression.
2. Cognitive Dysfunction and Memory Impairment.
3. Dizziness, Drowsiness and Fatigue.
4. Irritability and Sedation.
It is important to note you may also experience effects to your motor speech as well. There is no way to know about what side effects will occur until either drug is taken, but they are designed for short term use only of perhaps a week or two. It is important to note that for those who have been taking either drug for more than two weeks that stopping cold turkey may have bad side effects in and of itself. So, gradually reducing the medication amounts is recommended.
Xanax is relatively fast acting and will work for up to five hours in its standard form and up to 11 hours in its long term form. Ativan may last for up to 8 hours depending on the dosage and use. In addition, both drugs are relatively inexpensive and similar in price whether using the short term or extended release tablets.
Both drugs have the downside which is their risk of becoming dependent on the drugs. Studies have shown that both drugs have a nearly 50% addiction rate when used for the long term. However, that rate is based on something that is not what either drug is designed to do. Each drug is designed only for short term use where the addiction rate is much lower.