Compare Ativan vs. Vistaril

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

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(Hydroxyzine Pamoate)

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.Coming soon.
How it works
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.Coming soon.
Type of medication
Prescription only
Coming soon.
Available as
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
  • Anxiety Pruritus Sedation; Adjunct
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
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Reviews for Ativan (Lorazepam)
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Side effects

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

More about Ativan side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Vistaril side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Vistaril »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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 »
      Coming soon.
      Pregnancy category
      • 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.
      No specific alcohol-related info.
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      • 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.
      No specific sleep-related info.
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      • 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.
      Coming soon.
      Downsides and risks
      • 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.
      Coming soon.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      • 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.
      Coming soon.
      Learn more
      More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about VistarilSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert