Compare chlorpromazine vs. Ativan

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

Thorazine
(chlorpromazine)

Ativan
(lorazepam)

Stabilizes your mood. Thorazine (chlorpromazine) has more side effects than other medicines like it. It is most useful during psychotic episodes because it slows you down quickly.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.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Thorazine (chlorpromazine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ativan
71%
-71% worse vs. chlorpromazine
51%
-51% worse vs. chlorpromazine
15%
+15% better vs. chlorpromazine
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
chlorpromazineAtivan

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

More about chlorpromazine side effects »
  • Sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More Ativan side effects »
How it works
chlorpromazineAtivan
Thorazine (chlorpromazine) is a derivative of phenothiazine, which regulates dopamine levels in your brain to improve your mood.Ativan (lorazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects areas of the brain that help calm you down. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
chlorpromazineAtivan
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for
chlorpromazineAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • People over 65 with dementia and psychosis
  • Taking antipsychotic medications
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Acute respiratory infections
Detailed Thorazine (chlorpromazine) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with opioids
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking Ativan (lorazepam) for longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
Detailed Ativan (lorazepam) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Interactions
chlorpromazineAtivan
No interactions related info.
  • 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.
Alcohol
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Don't combine with alcohol or narcotics because it can cause you to stop breathing.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • 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.
Sleep
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Can make you very sleepy so don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Upsides and benefits
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Acts fast to slow you down during a psychotic episode.
  • Can also be used for nausea or migraines.
  • Safe for use in children as young as 6 months.
  • Comes in a sugar-coated pill for easy administration.
  • 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 and risks
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Has more side effects than other medicines like it.
  • Can affect how your other medicines work.
  • Makes you more sensitive to the sun.
  • Can make you dizzy or lightheaded, especially when injected.
  • Cannot be stopped right away.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
chlorpromazineAtivan
  • Can make you very sleepy so don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Can cause involuntary muscle movements just like other medicines for your mood.
  • Can dry you out and make you more sensitive to the sun.
  • Don't combine with alcohol or narcotics because it can cause you to stop breathing.
  • Cannot be stopped suddenly.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Take only as much as your doctor prescribes. Taking more than directed or taking this for a long time can cause you to become dependent on it.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Use caution or avoid use in older adults.
Learn more
More about chlorpromazineSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Thorazine (chlorpromazine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it