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 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.
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Coupons for Lexapro
Best available price for 30 (10mg) tablets of escitalopram
Coupons for Ativan
Best available price for 60 (0.5mg) tablets of lorazepam
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.89Lexapro
Reviews for Lexapro (escitalopram)
61%
of people (All ages) say Lexapro (escitalopram) 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 (lorazepam)
71%
+10% better vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
51%
+3% better vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
15%
Same vs. Lexapro (escitalopram)
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LexaproAtivan
  • Nausea 8%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Problems with ejaculation 9%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Drowsiness 4%
  • Runny nose 1%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Flu-like symptoms 1%
More Lexapro side effects »
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
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 neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.
Type of medication
LexaproAtivan
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
LexaproAtivan
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
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 more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
  • Alcohol
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.

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.

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 benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Alcohol
LexaproAtivan
No alcohol related info.
  • 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.
Sleep
LexaproAtivan
No sleep related info.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
  • 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.
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