Compare Xanax vs. oxazepam

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

Xanax
(Alprazolam)

Serax
(oxazepam)

Helps you relax. Xanax (Alprazolam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety, and longer-term for panic attacks. More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.Controls anxiety symptoms and alcohol withdrawal. Serax (oxazepam) helps make sure the seizures that happen during alcohol withdrawal don't get worse. Serax (oxazepam) is also good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.35Xanax
Reviews for Xanax (Alprazolam)
74%
of people (All ages) say Xanax (Alprazolam) is worth it
55%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
1287 reviews
Have you used Xanax (Alprazolam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Serax (oxazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Xanaxoxazepam
  • Drowsiness 34%
  • Fatigue and tiredness 6%
  • Impaired coordination 23%
  • Irritability 3%
  • Memory impairment 11%
  • Increased appetite 10%
More Xanax side effects »

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

More about oxazepam side effects »
How it works
Xanaxoxazepam
Xanax (Alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine. It binds to certain parts of nerves called GABA receptors, and stops the spread of signals that cause anxiety symptoms, or seizures in alcohol withdrawal.
Type of medication
Xanaxoxazepam
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
Xanaxoxazepam
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
Xanaxoxazepam
Risk factors for serious side effects
Xanaxoxazepam
  • History of drug abuse
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • Taking more than 4 mg/day or longer than 12 weeks
  • Stopping Xanax (Alprazolam) suddenly
  • Severely depressed
  • Taking with alcohol or drugs
  • First trimester of pregnancy
  • Current liver problems
Detailed Xanax (Alprazolam) risks & warnings »
    • Taking opioids
    • People age 65 or older
    • High blood pressure
      Detailed Serax (oxazepam) 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 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.

      Alcohol
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • 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.
      • Serax (oxazepam) is a first choice medicine to treat seizures that can happen in alcohol withdrawal.
      Kidneys and liver
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
      No kidneys and liver related info.
      Sleep
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      No sleep related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety.
      • Effective longer-term for panic attacks.
      • 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).
      • Serax (oxazepam) is a first choice medicine to treat seizures that can happen in alcohol withdrawal.
      • Serax (oxazepam) only lasts for a short time, so there's little risk of hangover effects or sleepiness.
      • Serax (oxazepam) is recommended for people who have advanced liver disease because it doesn't affect the liver.
      Downsides and risks
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • 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.
      • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
      • Serax (oxazepam) is addictive, so its use for anxiety should be limited to the shortest time possible.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      Xanaxoxazepam
      • Good for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
      • Starts working in 45 minutes when swallowed.
      • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
      • Addictive. Long-term use can cause dependence or abuse.
      • Not safe to use with alcohol.
      • Take Serax (oxazepam) exactly as your doctor tells you.
      • If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember; unless it's been more than 1 hour, then skip that dose and take Serax (oxazepam) at the next scheduled time. Don't take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
      • Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Serax (oxazepam) affects you since it can make you sleepy. Drinking alcohol can make the sleepiness worse.
      • Serax (oxazepam) for anxiety is only good for 4 months. Talk to your doctor if you're still having anxiety and Serax (oxazepam) hasn't helped.
      Learn more
      More about XanaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Xanax (Alprazolam)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about oxazepamSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Serax (oxazepam)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it