Compare Ativan vs. oxazepam

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

Ativan
(lorazepam)

Serax
(oxazepam)

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.Controls anxiety symptoms and alcohol withdrawal. Serax (oxazepam) helps make sure the seizures that happen during alcohol withdrawal don't get worse. Serax (oxazepam) is also good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
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Prices and coupon for 60 (0.5mg) tablets of lorazepam
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Prices and coupon for 90 (10mg) capsules of oxazepam
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

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Have you used Serax (oxazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Ativanoxazepam
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More Ativan side effects »

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

More about oxazepam side effects »
How it works
Ativanoxazepam
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.Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine. It binds to certain parts of nerves called GABA receptors, and stops the spread of signals that cause anxiety symptoms, or seizures in alcohol withdrawal.
Type of medication
Ativanoxazepam
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
Ativanoxazepam
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
Ativanoxazepam
Risk factors for serious side effects
Ativanoxazepam
  • 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 opioids
        • People age 65 or older
        • High blood pressure
          Detailed Serax (oxazepam) 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 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.

          Interactions
          Ativanoxazepam
          • 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
          Ativanoxazepam
          • 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.
          • Serax (oxazepam) is a first choice medicine to treat seizures that can happen in alcohol withdrawal.
          Sleep
          Ativanoxazepam
          • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
          • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
          No sleep related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          Ativanoxazepam
          • 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.
          • Serax (oxazepam) is a first choice medicine to treat seizures that can happen in alcohol withdrawal.
          • Serax (oxazepam) only lasts for a short time, so there's little risk of hangover effects or sleepiness.
          • Serax (oxazepam) is recommended for people who have advanced liver disease because it doesn't affect the liver.
          Downsides and risks
          Ativanoxazepam
          • 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.
          • Serax (oxazepam) is addictive, so its use for anxiety should be limited to the shortest time possible.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          Ativanoxazepam
          • 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 Serax (oxazepam) exactly as your doctor tells you.
          • If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember; unless it's been more than 1 hour, then skip that dose and take Serax (oxazepam) at the next scheduled time. Don't take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
          • Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Serax (oxazepam) affects you since it can make you sleepy. Drinking alcohol can make the sleepiness worse.
          • Serax (oxazepam) for anxiety is only good for 4 months. Talk to your doctor if you're still having anxiety and Serax (oxazepam) hasn't helped.
          Learn more
          More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it
          More about oxazepamSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Serax (oxazepam)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it