Compare Ativan vs. Buspar

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

Ativan
(Lorazepam)

Buspar
(Buspirone)

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.Helps you relax. Buspar (Buspirone) is effective for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and less effective for short-term use.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.14Ativan
Reviews for Ativan (Lorazepam)
71%
of people (All ages) say Ativan (Lorazepam) is worth it
51%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (Lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Buspar (Buspirone)
46%
-25% worse vs. Ativan (Lorazepam)
45%
-6% worse vs. Ativan (Lorazepam)
22%
-7% worse vs. Ativan (Lorazepam)
Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AtivanBuspar
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More Ativan side effects »
  • Dizziness 9%
  • Any side effect 10%
  • Drowsiness 1%
  • Nausea 3%
  • Headache 3%
  • Nervousness 4%
  • Central nervous system disturbances 3%
More Buspar side effects »
How it works
AtivanBuspar
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.Buspar (Buspirone) is an anti-anxiety medication. It's used to stabilize chemicals in the brain that control mood and nervousness.
Type of medication
AtivanBuspar
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
AtivanBuspar
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
AtivanBuspar
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtivanBuspar
  • 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 »
      • Taking with MAOIs
      • Taking with Zyvox or methylene blue
      • Taking with or converting from benzodiazepine medicines
      • Duration of treatment
      Detailed Buspar (Buspirone) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy

      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.

      Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

      Interactions
      AtivanBuspar
      • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
      No interactions related info.
      Alcohol
      AtivanBuspar
      • 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.
      • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
      Food
      AtivanBuspar
      No food related info.
      • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
      Sleep
      AtivanBuspar
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
      Upsides and benefits
      AtivanBuspar
      • 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.
      • Buspar (Buspirone) works very well to control the symptoms of generalized anxiety syndrome (GAD).
      • Buspar (Buspirone) doesn't cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms.
      • Buspar (Buspirone) is only available as a generic, so the price can be pretty cheap.
      Downsides and risks
      AtivanBuspar
      • 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.
      • Buspar (Buspirone) can take as long as four weeks to become fully effective.
      • Not as effective for short-term anxiety conditions or panic disorders.
      • Most people find that it loses effectiveness over long periods of time.
      • Can cause drowsiness or dizziness when you start taking Buspar (Buspirone). Be extremely careful of activities that require mental alertness, such as driving.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      AtivanBuspar
      • 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.
      • Take doses at about the same time each day.
      • It can take several weeks to get the full effect.
      • Don't eat or drink grapefruit juice when using Buspar (Buspirone).
      • Don't use Buspar (Buspirone) within two weeks of using an MAO inhibitor (like Eldepryl, Parnate, or Marplan).
      • Be consistent in taking Buspar (Buspirone) with or without food.
      • Avoid alcohol when taking Buspar (Buspirone).
      Learn more
      More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Ativan (Lorazepam)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about BusparSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Buspar (Buspirone)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it