Published on 10 May 2022

Valium Vs Ativan: Differences, Similarities, And Comparison

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Nature has built humans differently. How our brain works and handles things are marvelous in various ways. The brain and the central nervous system are the basis of human intelligence evolution, and sometimes, these complex systems get disturbed by nuisances like anxiety, seizures, addictions, etc. 

Various medicines are developed to cope with this problem, but the confusion lies in which medicine is superior to treating the condition. 

Valium and Ativan are prescription benzodiazepine medicines that help to treat anxiety, among other mental health conditions. It can only be obtained with a valid doctor's prescription based on what symptoms you are experiencing. Know the differences between Valium and Ativan.

What Is Valium?

Valium, a versatile medication, treats many conditions, including anxiety, muscle spasms, and panic disorders. Studies have indicated that Valium may also benefit individuals experiencing anxiety-related sleep difficulties.

Valium is also used for various off-label purposes, such as adjunct therapy for muscle spasms, preoperative anxiety relief, spasticity associated with upper motor neuron disorders, insomnia, and management of refractory epilepsy patients. Valium is also used in alcohol withdrawal for alleviating symptoms of tremors, agitation, alcoholic hallucinosis, and acute delirium tremens. 

Additionally, Valium serves as an adjunct in recurrent seizures and status epilepticus—off-label usage of short-term treatment of spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.

How Does Valium Work?

Valium exerts its effects by binding to the GABA receptor, acting as a positive allosteric modulator. This interaction with the receptor enhances the influx of chloride ions in neurons upon GABA binding, leading to hyperpolarization of postsynaptic membranes and amplifying the central nervous system (CNS) depression response to GABA.

Furthermore, studies have suggested that Valium may bind to voltage-gated sodium channels and its action on the GABA receptor, which could explain its anticonvulsant effects.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan, used to treat such as panic disorders and anxiety, provides short-term relief for the symptoms associated with anxiety and anxiety-associated depression.

Ativan is classified as a Schedule IV benzodiazepine drug, known for soothing effects or tranquilizing that induce feelings of calmness. 

Ativan is suitable for adults and children who are 13 years or older for the treatment of anxiety. It may also be used in children as young as 5 years old as a "pre-medication, but only under a doctor's guidance.

Ativan is also utilized off-label for various conditions such as alcohol withdrawal, chemotherapy-associated anticipatory nausea, insomnia, delirium, rapid tranquilization of agitated patients, and vomiting as an adjunct or breakthrough treatment.

How Does Ativan Work?

Ativan exerts its effects by targeting the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which regulate anxiety and sleep. Ativan slows down the central nervous system (CNS) activity, reducing excessive excitement in the brain and agitation, ultimately, giving rise to a relaxing and calming effect.

By depressing the CNS, Ativan can reduce panic attacks and anxiety. It is a fast-acting medication, effective for managing panic symptoms temporarily. Many individuals typically experience its calming effects within 20 to 30 minutes after consuming, as it exerts a tranquilizing effect on both the brain and body.

Difference Between Valium vs Ativan

Whenever there is a different medication, it does have differences. You should know the difference between Valium and Ativan.

Generic Name Diazepam Lorazepam
Drug Class Benzodiazepine Benzodiazepine
Brand Name Valium Ativan
Forms of Medicine Oral tablet, injection Oral tablet, injection
Standard Dose 2 to 10mg (2-4 times daily) 2 to 3mg (2 to 3 doses)
How long to use Not more than 4 months Not more than 4 months
Who can use Older than 6 months Older than 12 years

Valium vs Ativan: Which One Is More Effective?

Valium and Ativan are recommended according to your condition, and both medicines are proven effective in treating anxiety and related CNS conditions. Valium is a quick-absorbing and effective medication for fast results, especially for the worst anxiety symptoms. 

Whereas Ativan has long-lasting results but can cause an increase in the amount of drugs in the body. To cover it, the effective benzo is proven from the issue it is treating.

Can You Take Valium Vs Ativan Together?

If you are about to take two medications, you should get a recommendation from the doctor. Otherwise, it can create severe effects on your body. Scientifically it is not recommended to mix one medicine with the other. It can result in severe Central Nervous System issues, coma, heavy dizziness, and drowsiness, leading to accidents or injuries. The side effects of Valium and Ativan togetherly raise the side effects and worsen them.

Valium Vs Ativan With Alcohol Good or Bad?

You might be more prone to alcohol, and consuming it with any medication can have severe consequences. Alcohol is a recreational drug that depresses the central nervous system; whether Valium or Ativan, it can sedate the user. When you mix Valium vs. Ativan with alcohol, they can interact with each other and increase the intensity of soothing properties. It is better to ignore such experiments or habits.

Side Effects Of Valium Vs Ativan

Side effects may vary from one medicine to another. Each medication works on the body differently and shows adverse effects. Valium vs. Ativan effects are as follows:

Severe side effects of Valium Severe side effects of Ativan
Breathlessness Severe drowsiness
Severe rash problems Mood swings
Allergic reactions Suicidal thoughts
Hallucinations Sleep issues
Depressions Jaundice

What Precautions Should You Take For Valium Vs Ativan?

The precautions are similar as both medications belong to the same drug class. For the best dosage suggestion, you should inform your doctor about the medical history and the medicine you have been taking for any other condition. They will provide you with the best dose, or else they can even change the medication. 

Inform your doctor if you are:

  • Allergic to benzodiazepines (such as oxazepam and temazepam)
  • Medical histories like muscle disease, lung disease, and breathing issues.
  • Mental disorders, depression, psychosis, family history of kidney disease.
  • Avoid alcohol and marijuana.

Interactions Of Valium And Ativan

Interactions make the medicines lose effectiveness or can increase their side effects. Several other medications can interact with Valium and Ativan.

  • Opioids
  • Fluoxetine
  • Clozapine
  • Probenecid
  • Cimetidine
  • Antacids

These are not the complete list of medicines that interact with benzodiazepines, do talk to your doctor about the same.

Also Read:

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Medicine having the same drug class can confuse people about their usage or effectiveness. Valium Vs. Ativan is both benzos differences in the detection time. Valium stays for a longer duration in the body.

These medicines effectively work on the conditions. Ativan is known for its fast absorption and low half-life so it can be the first preference. Lastly, your health expert will prescribe you after examining your severity.

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