Which is stronger Ativan or Xanax?

Which is stronger, Ativan or Xanax?


Ativan and Xanax are both benzodiazepines. Doctors use benzodiazepines to treat various ailments, such as panic disorders, anxiety disorders, sleeplessness, and mania. Although Xanax ( alprazolam ) and Ativan ( lorazepam ) have many similarities, doctors distinguish between them and choose which one to use based on each drug’s distinct characteristics. This blog compares and contrasts Ativan and Xanax, examining their functions, side effects, and potential for abuse. It also looks at how they are used and how they operate.

Which is more powerful, Xanax or Ativan?

Xanax and Ativan are more effective at treating mental and physical signs of Anxiety. They also work well for panic disorder. However, the danger prevents them from being a first choice therapy for critical conditions.

Xanax and Ativan have immediate Anti-Anxiety effects and can begin to operate in an hour or two. In contrast with other anxiety medicine like Sertraline-based Zoloft and Fluoxetine-based Prozac, which take a few weeks to start working, Xanax and Ativan are frequently used to treat acute anxiety symptoms. This is especially true for those who have severe symptoms and want quick relief or for those who don’t have symptoms frequently.

When you initially start taking an antidepressant like Zoloft or Prozac, sometimes Xanax and Ativan are also recommended. This antidepressant is helpful if you have anxiety and depression simultaneously, but it takes some time to work until the antidepressant starts functioning; Xanax or Ativan will be prescribed.

While both medications are equally effective, their varying durations in the body and rates of action necessitate different dosages for each.


The brand name for Lorazepam is Ativan which is most frequently recommended for anxiety disorders that may also involve sleeplessness. Because it interacts with comparable brain receptors, Ativan is commonly used to treat alcohol withdrawal.


The brand name for Alprazolam is Xanax. It is most frequently given for anxiety disorders, including panic disorder because the effects of Xanax begin to take action more quickly than Ativan’s; it is more effective for treating panic attacks.

How long do they stay in your body?

Both medications might take some time to exit your system entirely. It might take up to 56 hours ( more than two days ) for one dose of Xanax IR to leave our body. One amount of Xanax ER pills might take at least 79 hours to take effect ( about three days ). One dose of Ativan may take at least 70 to 90 hours ( about 2 to 4 days ) to exit your body.

These periods can range for each person and rely on your health issues and how many dosages you have already consumed. For instance, the liver breaks down ( metabolizes ) both drugs. As a result, Xanax and Ativan may linger in your system longer if you have liver issues.

Which medicine is more addictive?

Due to the possibility of addiction and dependency, both Ativan and Xanax should only be used temporarily. In general, benzodiazepines with a shorter half-life ( such as Ativan and Xanax ) are more difficult to discontinue using than those with a longer half-life ( such as diazepam ). Both Ativan and Xanax easily penetrate brain tissue, which encourages brain tissue, which promotes drug use and is typically linked to more severe withdrawal symptoms. Thus, there is considerable potential for misuse of both Ativan and Xanax. Although no research directly compares Ativan with Xanax, several specialists have recommended that Xanax be taken cautiously because it has been linked to particular lousy withdrawal symptoms.


Side effects of Xanax and Ativan

Both Ativan and Xanax have comparable side effects. The majority of adverse effects are brought on by how drugs affect the central nervous system ( CNS ).

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Poor coordination
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Changes in sexual desire
  • Changes in appetite
  • Skin rash

There are also other circumstances in which some people may experience harsher side effects. This encompasses those who:

  • Drink alcohol:  Alcohol with Xanax or Ativan should not be used simultaneously. The interaction can make harmful effects like fatigue and attention problems worse.
  • Take opioid drugs simultaneously: Opioids and benzodiazepines need not be used simultaneously, if feasible. Medications like Methadone, Morphine, and Oxycodone are examples of opioids. When taken simultaneously, there is a significantly increased risk of overdose and serious adverse effects.
  • For elders:  Xanax and Ativan may cause more severe adverse effects in older people than in younger adults, who are generally regarded as 65 years or older.

The standard doses of Xanax and Ativan

Both Xanax and Ativan come in oral tablet form that may be used at home. They are often used on an as-needed basis for temporary goals, but depending on the circumstances, they may also be utilized regularly.

The dosage for both Xanax and Ativan will change depending on the person. Typically, your healthcare professional begins on the lowest dose possible and gradually increases it based on how you feel.

How is Xanax dosed?

Xanax is available as a brand and generic medication. This drug is known as alprazolam when prescribed as a generic drug. There are dose formulations for immediate-release ( IR ) and extended-release ( ER/XR ) medications for brand and generic names.

The Immediate release tablets come in the following doses:

When starting this drug, you typically take 1 mg or 2 mg orally as required every eight hours.

ER tablets come in the following doses:

How is Ativan dosed?

Ativan comes in brand name and generic forms; however, pharmacists typically only dispense the generic version. It is known as lorazepam when given out as a generic drug. There is no ER version of Ativan, unlike Xanax. There is just an IR version offered. There are several dosages of Ativan tablets:

Ativan dosage per day can range from 1 mg to 2 mg. However, a usual Ativan dosage for anxiety disorders is 2 mg, used twice or thrice daily, as required. Remember that each person needs a different dose of Ativan. Discussing your particular requirements with a healthcare professional who can guide you in choosing the correct amount is advisable.


There are numerous comparable cautions for Ativan and Xanax. Both drugs come with a boxed warning, the strongest warning required by the FDA. Due to the possibility of significant drowsiness, severe respiratory depression, or even death, benzodiazepines like Ativan and Xanax should not be used with opioid medications. The patient should take the lowest dose for the shortest time and be closely watched if the combination cannot be avoided. Patients should not drive or operate machinery and tell effects are known:

Other warnings for both drugs include:

  • The danger of developing a physical and psychological reliance on diazepines increases with greater dosages, continued use over a more extended period, or a history of substance misuse. Take benzodiazepines only as directed if prescribed to you.
  • Benzodiazepines should only be taken temporarily, and to prevent withdrawal symptoms, the dosage should be gradually tapered off. Seizures are one of the numerous symptoms of withdrawal, along with anxiety, disorientation, a fast pulse, vertigo, and another symptom.s
  • Patients who have seizure disorders are more likely to have withdrawal symptoms.
  • Suicide is a possibility among depressed patients. Antidepressants should be used in treating depressed patients, along with constant observation.
  • And individuals with severe hepatic insufficiency and encephalopathy use care and reduced dosages.
  • In individuals with compromised respiratory function, benzodiazepines should be taken with care ( COPD, sleep apnea ).

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