Discussion Topic

Ativan vs. Xanax??

Posted on 05/14/10, 03:45 pm
Was just curious if there's anyone who's taken both and what differences you found? My xanax works well when I take the 0.5 mg and I have mild anxiety, but when I have severe anxiety and take the 1 mg, it makes me sleepy, so I avoid taking a full pill. I'm wondering if ativan might be more effective at a lower dose and not so sedating at a higher dose. I know it's individual specific how the drug affects people, but just curious to see how it affects others who have taken both.

Thanks!
Showing 6 Replies
  • Reply #1 05/14/10  3:57pm
    Have not taken either but am familiar with the benzo. mode of action. Xanax is more potent than Ativan so you might see a decrease in the sleepiness if you switch. However, both are addictive and habit forming so you should weigh the pros and cons before switching. If you do switch, be sure to follow your docs instructions for weaning from the Xanax so you don't go through withdrawl.
  • Reply #2 05/15/10  12:45am
    I have taken both, but can speak more on Xanax. I took Ativan for a brief period a few years back, but had some adverse side effects and switched. I had similar issues as you with Xanax--my roommate and I coined the term "brain punch" for how I felt after taking it in the larger dose recommended by my physician for panic attacks/high anxiety. I stopped taking it after a few months, but now, just as a prn, I take Vistaril. It's a lot cleaner, I think, and not as habit-forming (or so the prescribing psychiatrist said at the time).
  • Reply #3 05/15/10  1:25am
    Xanax didn't do a THING for me, and my doctor wouldn't prescribe me any higher of a dosage for it so they switched me to Ativan and it's been my wonder drug.
  • Reply #4 05/16/10  9:58pm
    You're exactly right - drugs can work much differently for different people. (Anxiety can be due to different things. So person X and person Y can both have anxiety issues, but it can happen because of different issues within the brain.) In this case, these drugs both act on the same part of your brain, but (I'm not sure of the details) one could target more of the brain or a more specific part or something like that, which can be why some people respond to one but not the other. I'd say definitely talk to your doctor about this - it's entirely possible that you would respond to Ativan at a lower dose.

    Best of luck!
  • Reply #5 05/16/10  10:07pm
    I have taken both and had the same utterly knocked the F out feeling from Xanax that the rest of you have mentioned, which was fairly effective in terms of nightmares, but not for day-to-day functionality. Ativan, once I figured out the dosage time and amount that worked best for me, was pretty effective for daytime stuff like work. Unfortunately, Ativan did nothing for nightmares, which is where Xanax, Klonopin, or maybe a tricyclic antidepressant like Abilify might be useful.
  • Reply #6 05/17/10  2:26am
    I'm familiar with the drugs themselves (I'm a new grad nurse,) and I know they work diff for everyone, but often times there's a trend. If memory serves, Ativan has a longer half life and takes a bit longer to kick in than Xanax, and like SleeptoDream, some drugs just don't take to certain people. I'm not unhappy with xanax... as a matter of fact, it's quite effective. It's just the sedation I was hoping would be a trend of "less than" when it came to comparing Ativan to Xanax. I might just stick with the xanax. The two drugs are so similar, that I don't know if it will make that big of a difference.

    I don't have to worry about weening if I change. I only take it as needed, and with my Pristiq (after trying 3 other meds), the anxiety is pretty well controlled. It's still there, quite often, but HUGELY more managable. I only break out the xanax 1, maybe 2 times a week. I don't rely on it for sleep. That's where I would get myself into trouble.

    I'm about to hit the ground running in the psychologists office, so this probably would be a good time to test the xanax to the max. Thanks for the responses. If the xanax becomes too sedating during those times, I will already have this thread to review again to see if I want a change. Better to have it now then trying to make a decision in the throws of anxiety. Never good!!

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