Compare Soma vs. Valium

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

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Relaxes your muscles. Soma (Carisoprodol) is widely used to treat muscle spasms and is available as a generic, but it's not considered a first-choice treatment for muscle spasms. It's also not meant for long-term therapy.Helps you relax. Valium (Diazepam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety and for pain and sleeplessness from muscle spasm. Less severe withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.
How it works
Soma (Carisoprodol) is a muscle relaxant. It works in the brain to help calm down muscle spasms.Valium (Diazepam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and muscle spasms, and causes sleepiness.
Type of medication
Muscle relaxerPrescription only
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Rectal gel
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Soma (Carisoprodol)
of people say Soma (Carisoprodol) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Valium (Diazepam)
+10% vs. Soma (Carisoprodol)
+16% vs. Soma (Carisoprodol)
6% vs. Soma (Carisoprodol)
Side effects
  • Drowsiness 11%
  • Dizziness 6%
  • Hedache 3%
  • Any side effect 2%
More Soma side effects »

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

More about Valium side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness
  • Recreational drug use
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Prior history of drug abuse
  • Prior history of overdoses of drugs of abuse, recreational drugs or alcohol
Detailed Soma (Carisoprodol) risks & warnings »
  • 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
      • Current liver problems
      Detailed Valium (Diazepam) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      • Don't drink alcohol while on this medication.
      • Taking Soma (Carisoprodol) can make you feel sleepy and dizzy, especially if you're taking other medications that can also make you feel sleepy, or if you're taking recreational drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Avoid driving or doing other tasks that require concentration until you know how this medication affects you. Get up very slowly from a seated or lying down position.
      • There have been reports of seizures in people taking Soma (Carisoprodol). However, this has been rare and only reported in people who were also overdosing on other medications, recreational drugs or 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.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      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.
      No specific sleep-related info.
      • Stopping Valium (Diazepam) 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 weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      • Available in generic.
      • Available in two different strengths, although the smaller strength is only available as brand name and thus more expensive.
      • 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).
      • Effective at relieving muscle spasms caused by a variety of conditions.
      • Less severe withdrawal symptoms compared to other benzodiazepines.
      Downsides and risks
      • Not first line for treating muscle spasms.
      • Can cause dizziness and sleepiness.
      • Not meant for long term therapy.
      • Can cause dependence and withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly.
      • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
      • 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.
      • Most people find that it gets less effective over time.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, and sleepiness.
      • Take the medication at the same time each day.
      • Not to be used for long-term treatment (2 to 3 weeks maximum)
      • Don't drink alcohol while on this medication.
      • Can cause stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
      • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
      • Starts working in 30 minutes when swallowed.
      • Helpful with muscle spasms.
      • 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 SomaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about ValiumSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert