Compare Abilify vs. Ativan

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Abilify
(Aripiprazole)

Ativan
(Lorazepam)

Helps control your thoughts and mood. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is good for treating psychosis and mania, and can help with depression. Less likely to cause side effects than any other antipsychotic, but has a risk of suicidal thoughts for people age 24 and younger.Helps you relax. Ativan (Lorazepam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety and sleep. Less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.150943396226415Abilify
Reviews for Abilify (Aripiprazole)
42%
of people say Abilify (Aripiprazole) is worth it
38%
say it works well
35%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Ativan (Lorazepam)
70%
+28% vs. Abilify (Aripiprazole)
50%
+12% vs. Abilify (Aripiprazole)
15%
+20% vs. Abilify (Aripiprazole)
Side effects
AbilifyAtivan
  • Drowsiness 20%
  • Extrapyramidal disorder 17%
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 17%
  • Fatigue 15%
  • Restlessness 9%
  • Fever 8%
  • Vomiting 7%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
  • Excessive saliva 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
More Abilify side effects »

The Ativan FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Ativan side effects »
How it works
AbilifyAtivan
Abilify (Aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to change dopamine and serotonin activity in your brain, which affects thoughts and mood.Ativan (Lorazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
AbilifyAtivan
Antipsychotic
Atypical
Prescription only
Anti-anxiety
Benzodiazepine
Prescription only
Available as
AbilifyAtivan
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
AbilifyAtivan
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Abilify (Aripiprazole)The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Ativan (Lorazepam)
Risk factors for serious side effects
AbilifyAtivan
  • Elderly patients with dementia
  • Age 24 years or younger
      • History of heart problems
      • Drug interactions
        • People with diabetes
        • People with high cholesterol
        • People with diabetes
        • Alcohol
        • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
          • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
          Detailed Abilify (Aripiprazole) risks & warnings »
          • Taking more than the prescribed dose
          • Taking longer than 4 weeks
          • History of drug abuse
          • Long-term use
            • Alcohol
            • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
              Detailed Ativan (Lorazepam) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              AbilifyAtivan
              CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              Alcohol
              No specific alcohol-related info.
              • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
              • Not safe to use with alcohol.
              Food
              • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can increase your blood sugar and cholesterol. However, Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to raise your blood sugar and cholesterol compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can cause you to gain weight. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to cause weight gain compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              No specific food-related info.
              Kidneys and liver
              No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              Sex
              No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
              Sleep
              • Makes you energized. Take in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping.
              • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
              • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
              • Stopping Ativan (Lorazepam) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and muscle pain or burning. Withdrawal symptoms can last 6 weeks or longer. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
              Weight
              • Least likely antipsychotic to cause weight gain.
              • Abilify (Aripiprazole) can cause you to gain weight. Abilify (Aripiprazole) is the least likely to cause weight gain compared to other antipsychotic medications. Exercise and eat healthy food to lower your risk.
              No specific weight-related info.
              Upsides and benefits
              AbilifyAtivan
              • Effective at relieving psychotic symptoms and manic episodes. All antipsychotic medicines are about equally effective.
              • More energizing than other antipsychotics.
              • Fewer side effects than any other antipsychotics.
              • Least likely antipsychotic to cause weight gain.
              • Less likely to cause heart problems compared to some antipsychotics.
              • Studies show that it can also be helpful for depression, especially in women, if your symptoms don't go away with an antidepressant alone.
              • Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
              • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety and sleeplessness.
              • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
              • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
              Downsides and risks
              AbilifyAtivan
              • Mild risk of Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): Movement disorders that include stiffness, tremor, restlessness, and slow, repetitive, or involuntary movements.
              • Can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger.
              • You might need routine blood tests to check how the medicine is affecting your body.
              • All antipsychotics come with side effects that make them difficult to take. You might need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you and that you can tolerate.
              • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
              • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
              • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
              • Most people find that it gets less effective over time.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              AbilifyAtivan
              • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to see full effects on thoughts and mood.
              • Makes you energized. Take in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping.
              • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
              • May worsen cholesterol or blood sugar.
              • Report any unusual thoughts, inability to control muscle movements, or fever and excess sweating to your doctor.
              • Elderly people with dementia shouldn't take it.
              • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
              • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
              • Starts working in 10 to 20 minutes when dissolved under your tongue.
              • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
              • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
              • Not safe to use with alcohol.
              Learn more
              More about AbilifySide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert