Compare Zanaflex vs. Valium

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

Zanaflex
(tizanidine)

Valium
(diazepam)

Relaxes your muscles. Zanaflex (tizanidine) isn't a first-choice treatment for muscle spasticity. Try other options before using this.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
6Zanaflex
Reviews for Zanaflex
81%
of people (All ages) say Zanaflex is worth it
73%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Valium
70%
+11% better vs. Zanaflex
53%
+20% better vs. Zanaflex
15%
-4% worse vs. Zanaflex
976 reviews
Have you used Valium (diazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ZanaflexValium
  • Dry mouth 39%
  • Sleepiness 38%
  • Weakness 25%
  • Dizziness 12%
  • Urinary tract infection 3%
  • General infection 1%
  • Liver test abnormality 4%
  • Constipation 3%
  • Hay fever 1%
  • Speech disorder 3%
More Zanaflex side effects »

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

More about Valium side effects »
How it works
ZanaflexValium
Zanaflex (tizanidine) is an alpha2-adrenergic agonist that works in the nervous system to calm down muscle spasticity.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
ZanaflexValium
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ZanaflexValium
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Rectal gel
Used for
ZanaflexValium
Risk factors for serious side effects
ZanaflexValium
  • Taking maximum doses of Zanaflex (tizanidine)
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Currently on blood pressure control medications
  • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness
  • Recreational drug use
Detailed Zanaflex (tizanidine) risks & warnings »
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use
  • Alcohol
Detailed Valium (diazepam) 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.

Alcohol
ZanaflexValium
No alcohol related info.
  • Not safe to use with 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.
Food
ZanaflexValium
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
ZanaflexValium
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
Sleep
ZanaflexValium
  • Taking Zanaflex (tizanidine) 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.
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
Upsides and benefits
ZanaflexValium
  • Relieves muscle spasticity.
  • Available as a generic.
  • Available in a tablet or capsule form. It also comes in a capsule that can be opened and sprinkled in applesauce for people that can't swallow pills.
  • 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
ZanaflexValium
  • This isn't a first-choice muscle relaxing medication. Other drugs work better and have fewer side effects.
  • Takes over an hour to kick in and only lasts 3 to 6 hours.
  • Zanaflex (tizanidine) can lower blood pressure, so be careful if you are already on a blood pressure medication.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
  • Elderly individuals have more side effects when taking Zanaflex (tizanidine).
  • 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
ZanaflexValium
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
  • Avoid activities requiring mental alertness (like driving) until you know how it affects you.
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • The tablets are not the same as the capsules. This could mean differences in how your body reacts to it, or how it works for you.
  • If you have been on Zanaflex (tizanidine) for a long period of time, you should not stop this abruptly. This can result in rebound high blood pressure, muscle spasticity or fast heart beat. Talk to your doctor about how to slowly lower your dose.
  • 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 ZanaflexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ValiumSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Valium (diazepam)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it