Xanax vs. Valium vs. Ativan: Sweet Dreams

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Difference between Xanax, Valium and Ativan

Millions of people all over the world suffer from a potentially serious condition in which they are unable to get a basic need that many of us take for granted: a good night’s sleep. There are various reasons for insomnia and all its attendant symptoms, but medications such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan have provided a measure of relief. Such medications require a bit of caution however, as they can cause some potentially serious effects, as you will see in this comparison article.



Xanax (generic name: alprazolam) falls in the category of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

Valium (generic name: diazepam) is also a benzodiazepine type of medication, and it is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and nervousness. Valium may also be useful in treating alcohol withdrawal, and it also has numerous benefits as a muscle relaxant and anti-seizure medication.

Ativan (generic name: lorazepam) is yet another type of benzodiazepine, and it is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety.


Xanax should not be taken with ketoconazole and itraconazole under any circumstances.

As for Valium, care should be taken when taking it with cimetidine, St. John's Wort, valerian, and medications intended for the treatment of anxiety or sleeping disorders. Valium may even react unfavorably with something as seemingly innocuous as grapefruit juice.

Ativan may result in unfavorable reactions with several drugs as well. In addition, care should be taken when taking Ativan while under treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, bipolar disorder, depression, or any other type of mental condition. Ativan may also cause untoward effects in patients suffering from glaucoma, kidney and liver disease, and asthma. As with many other medications, it is also important to consult with your doctor if you are planning to take Ativan while pregnant or nursing.

Side Effects

Among the side effects you could expect from Xanax use are allergic reactions, confusion, depression, insomnia, lightheadedness, mood changes, cramps, and unusual fatigue.

Valium may also cause a number of side effects such as allergic reactions, unexplained anger and depression, breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, cramping, and even tremors among others.

Ativan for its part has been know to cause similar side effects to those associated with Xanax and Valium use, including allergic reactions, vision problems, depression, mood swings, aggressiveness, cramps, and unexplained fatigue. Still other side effects associated with Ativan use are headaches, nausea, and difficulty sleeping.



  • Generic name: alprazolam
  • Falls in the category of drugs known as benzodiazepines
  • Used to treat anxiety and panic attacks
  • Should not be taken with ketoconazole and itraconazole


  • Generic name: diazepam
  • Also a benzodiazepine type of medication
  • Commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and nervousness
  • May react unfavorably with grapefruit juice


  • Generic name: lorazepam
  • Another type of benzodiazepine
  • Commonly used in the treatment of anxiety
  • Care should be taken when taking it while under treatment for alcohol or drug abuse

Which sleep aid gives a fresher feeling after waking?
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • jack wrote on August 2011

This drug gave me my life back, seriously. I suffered a minor heart attack a couple of months ago, caused by a blocked artery. After taking a month off I was feeling fine. However, once I went back to work I would experience severe attacks where I had severe shortness of breath and dizziness. I also had similar attacks while driving. I ended up on the ER 3 times in 3 weeks because I thought I was having another attack. Turns out the severity of the panic/anxiety attacks was the root cause. I take one 1mg a day (2nd 1mg ONLY if necessary) and my life is back to normal.

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