Compare Valium vs. Ativan

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

Valium (diazepam)

Prescription only

Ativan (lorazepam)

Prescription only
Helps you relax.

Valium (diazepam) is effective for occasional or short-term use for anxiety and muscle spasm. Compared to similar drugs, Valium (diazepam) acts very quickly but can have interactions with other medicines.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 976 reviewsforValium
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.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 642 reviewsforAtivan
Upsides
  • Valium (diazepam) effectively relieves anxiety and muscle spasms.
  • Valium (diazepam) has less severe withdrawal symptoms compared to other similar drugs.
  • Works very quickly.
  • Available in generic.
  • 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
  • Use of Valium (diazepam) can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Valium (diazepam) can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment.
  • Most people find that their body will get used to Valium (diazepam) levels and they may need higher doses over time to achieve the same effect.
  • People with severe liver problems should not take Valium (diazepam). Several drugs can also interfere with how Valium (diazepam) works.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Injection
Price
Want to save even more money?
Sign up now for a 30-day trial and save up to 95% at CVS, Kroger, Albertsons, and other pharmacies.
Reviews
976 reviews so far
70%
saidit'sworth it
53%
saiditworked well
15%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Valium (diazepam)?

Leave a review
642 reviews so far
71%
saidit'sworth it
51%
saiditworked well
15%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Ativan (lorazepam)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Valium (diazepam) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
4possible side effects
  • Sleepiness
    16%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Weakness
    4%
  • Unsteadiness
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Decreased breathing from use with opioids
    • Taking Valium (diazepam) with opioids, drugs or alcohol
    • Using Valium (diazepam) for a longer duration and at high doses
  • Dependence and withdrawal
    • History of substance abuse
    • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Taking long-term
    • Taking a higher dose
    • Stopping Valium (diazepam) suddenly
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol use with Valium (diazepam)
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Drug interactions
    • Current liver problems
    • Taking Tagamet, ketoconazole, Prozac, Prilosec
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Severe sedation with opioid use
    • Taking with opioids
  • Tolerance and dependence
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Taking Ativan (lorazepam) for longer than 4 weeks
    • History of drug abuse
  • Withdrawal
    • Long-term use
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Memory problems
See more detailed risks and warnings