Compare Lexapro vs. Ativan

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

Lexapro
(escitalopram)

Ativan
(lorazepam)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Lexapro (escitalopram) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It is less likely to cause side effects than and has fewer drug interactions. However, it might not be a good choice if you have liver or heart problems.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
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.89Lexapro
Reviews for Lexapro
61%
of people (All ages) say Lexapro is worth it
48%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
1063 reviews
Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ativan
71%
-10% worse vs. Lexapro
51%
-3% worse vs. Lexapro
15%
Same vs. Lexapro
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LexaproAtivan
  • Abdominal pain 1%
  • Problems with orgasm 2%
  • Constipation 2%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Decreased appetite 2%
  • Decrease libido 2%
  • Sinus infection 1%
  • Impotence 3%
  • Increased sweating 3%
  • Dizziness 2%
More Lexapro side effects »
  • Unsteadiness 3%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Sleepiness 16%
More Ativan side effects »
How it works
LexaproAtivan
Lexapro (escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin in the brain which regulates 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
LexaproAtivan
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
LexaproAtivan
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Used for
LexaproAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
LexaproAtivan
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Lexapro (escitalopram) suddenly
  • Taking blood thinners
  • Bipolar disorder
Detailed Lexapro (escitalopram) 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

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
LexaproAtivan
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) has less drug interactions than other similar antidepressants and might cause fewer side effects.
  • 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
LexaproAtivan
No alcohol related info.
  • 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
LexaproAtivan
No sleep related info.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Weight
LexaproAtivan
  • Can cause a small weight gain of 1-5 pounds.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
LexaproAtivan
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers the likelihood that your depression will come back.
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) has less drug interactions than other similar antidepressants and might cause fewer side effects.
  • 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
LexaproAtivan
  • Can cause a small weight gain of 1-5 pounds.
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) is not a good option if you have heart or liver problems.
  • The first antidepressant you try might not always work, so you may need to try a few different medicines until you find one that works for you.
  • 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
LexaproAtivan
  • Don't suddenly stop taking DRUG NAME. Talk to your doctor about how to slowly go down in your dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • Like other SSRI medications, it could take up to 8 weeks to see the full effects of Lexapro (escitalopram).
  • Take Lexapro (escitalopram) in the morning since it can keep you up if you take it at night.
  • 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 LexaproSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lexapro (escitalopram)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it