Compare Ambien vs. Ativan

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

Ambien (zolpidem)

Prescription only

Ativan (lorazepam)

Prescription only
Helps you sleep.

Ambien (zolpidem) aids in falling asleep and staying asleep, but it can be habit-forming and might be more likely than other sleep medicines to cause side effects.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 1375 reviewsforAmbien
Helps you relax.

Ativan (lorazepam) is an effective medicine for occasional or short-term anxiety. It's less likely to have drug interactions, but more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 642 reviewsforAtivan
Upsides
  • Effective at helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
  • Extended release form is particularly good for staying asleep, and you can use it for longer than the immediate release form.
  • Generic is available.
  • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other drugs like it, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Downsides
  • Not typically used for long-term treatment because it can be habit-forming.
  • Some people find that Ambien (zolpidem) becomes less effective over time.
  • More likely to cause sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating.
  • Might not be safe if you have problems with your liver, kidneys, lungs, or if you have a history of depression.
  • 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 similar medicines, Ativan (lorazepam) is more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then suddenly stop.
  • Most people find that Ativan (lorazepam) gets less effective over time.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Oral spray
  • Sublingual pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Price
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Reviews
1375 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
50%
saiditworked well
16%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ambien (zolpidem)?

Leave a review
642 reviews so far
71%
saidit'sworth it
51%
saiditworked well
15%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?

Leave a review
Side effects
18possible side effects
  • Drowsiness
    8%
  • Headache
    7%
  • Dizziness
    5%
  • Allergic reactions
    4%
  • Sinus infection
    4%
  • Dry mouth
    3%
  • Back pain
    3%
  • Lack of energy
    3%
  • Drugged feeling
    3%
  • Diarrhea
    3%
  • Sore throat
    3%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    2%
  • Racing heart
    2%
  • Lightheadedness
    2%
  • Depression
    2%
  • Abdominal pain
    2%
  • Constipation
    2%
  • Rash
    2%
See more detailed side effects
4possible side effects
  • Sleepiness
    16%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Weakness
    4%
  • Unsteadiness
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Dependence and withdrawal
    • Continuous use of Ambien (zolpidem) for 2 weeks or more
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medications that make you less alert
    • Less than 8 hours of sleep.
  • Abnormal thoughts
    • Undiagnosed psychiatric conditions
  • Performing activities while asleep
    • Taking Ambien (zolpidem) with alcohol or drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Risk of falls and injury
    • Higher dose
    • Liver problems
    • Taking Ambien (zolpidem) with other nervous system depressants
    • Long-term use
    • Elderly (70 years or older)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Severe sedation with opioid use
    • Taking with opioids
  • Tolerance and dependence
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Taking Ativan (lorazepam) for longer than 4 weeks
    • History of drug abuse
  • Withdrawal
    • Long-term use
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Memory problems
See more detailed risks and warnings