What Are The Differences Between Ativan And Xanax?

Ativan is a drug used to treat anxiety disorders, which is usually prescribed for occasional and short-term anxiety. However, it is also used for other purposes other than of the prescribed. It belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines.

Like Ativan, Xanax is also used for treating anxiety disorders. However, it can also be effective for panic disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Being a benzodiazepine as well, Xanax shares the feature of being only for short-term anxiety attacks, but it can be used long-term for panic attacks.

As they belong to the same group of drugs, they affect the brain the same manner. Both drugs encourage the production of GABA, a nerve-calming agent, and discourage the production of glutamate, a nerve-exciting agent.

What Are The Common Side Effects Between Ativan And Xanax?

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior
  • Sudden restless feeling or excitement
  • Memory problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of balance or coordination
  • Weakness

Side Effects Of Ativan (1)

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vision changes
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling unsteady

Side Effects Of Xanax (2)

  • Depressed mood
  • Hostility
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements
  • Tremor
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest
  • Feeling anxious early in the morning

Also Read: Klonopin Vs Xanax

What Is Cheaper Between Xanax And Ativan?

The price of Ativan and Xanax can change according to various reasons. Some places offer it for a higher price than other. However, we have described below the average price one can purchase each drug to give you a better picture on which one is cheaper.  (3)

The lowest price for the generic version of Ativan, Lorazepam, costs a measly $8.03 for 60 0.5 mg tablets. For the same amount of tablets, Alprazolam, the generic version of Xanax comes almost a dollar cheaper at $7.24.

For the brand versions, there is a significant surge in prices. 90 tablets of Xanax 0.5 mg will make you at least $427.67 poorer, while the same amount of Ativan in the same dosage is available for $1,973.

The usual dose for Ativan can be anywhere between 2 mg to 6 mg per day. For Xanax to take effect, one only needs 0.75 mg (the minimum) to 4 mg (the maximum) per day. Given this information, Xanax becomes even cheaper than Ativan as one would need less of it to achieve the same results. (4)

Xanax And Ativan Interaction

Xanax and Ativan are both benzodiazepines that affect the central nervous system. With both having a depressing effect, taking them together can increase the risk of respiratory depression. Combining them can make it difficult for a patient to breathe which could have fatal consequences.

There are many other substances that one cannot be combined with the drug Xanax, make sure to consult your doctor regarding this before taking the drug.


To conclude, Xanax undoubtedly dominates Ativan on both price and efficacy. Both are known to be likely to cause withdrawal symptoms. Thus, having less of the drug limits that possibility. Unless you are taking other medications, it makes sense to choose Xanax over Ativan.

The final choice between Xanax and Ativan, however, should lie on the professional judgment of a licensed physician. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug or medications.


ATIVAN. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/ativan.html

XANAX. (n.d.). Retrieved August 14, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/xanax.html

Ativan vs. Xanax by Cunha. (n.d.) Retrieved August 14, 2017, from http://www.medicinenet.com/ativan_vs_xanax/article.htm