Compare Paxil vs. Ativan

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

Paxil
(paroxetine)

Ativan
(lorazepam)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.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 Paxil
Best available price for 30 (20mg) tablets of paxil
Coupons for Ativan
Best available price for 60 (0.5mg) tablets of ativan
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.53Paxil
Reviews for Paxil
52%
of people (All ages) say Paxil is worth it
39%
say it works well
24%
say it's a big hassle
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Ativan
71%
-19% worse vs. Paxil
51%
-12% worse vs. Paxil
15%
-9% worse vs. Paxil
642 reviews
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PaxilAtivan
  • Nausea 17%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Dry mouth 6%
  • Headache 1%
  • Muscle weakness 9%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance‡§ 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Diarrhea 4%
More Paxil side effects »
  • Relaxation or sleepiness 16%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Weakness 4%
  • Unsteadiness 3%
More Ativan side effects »
How it works
PaxilAtivan
Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity 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
PaxilAtivan
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
PaxilAtivan
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
PaxilAtivan
Risk factors for serious side effects
PaxilAtivan
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
  • History of bipolar disorder
Detailed Paxil (paroxetine) 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 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 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
PaxilAtivan
No interactions related info.
  • Less likely to have drug interactions compared to other benzodiazepines, so it might be a better option if you're taking multiple medications.
Alcohol
PaxilAtivan
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.
Food
PaxilAtivan
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
No food related info.
Sleep
PaxilAtivan
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
Weight
PaxilAtivan
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
PaxilAtivan
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • 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
PaxilAtivan
  • Can cause more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
  • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 24.
  • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications 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
PaxilAtivan
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
  • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
  • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
  • 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 PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about AtivanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it