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- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Slideshow
- Alprazolam vs. diazepam quick comparison
- What is alprazolam? What is diazepam? How do they work?
- What are the uses for alprazolam vs. diazepam?
- What are the side effects of alprazolam vs. diazepam?
- Are alprazolam and diazepam addictive?
- What is the dosage for alprazolam vs. diazpam?
- What drugs interact with alprazolam vs. diazepam?
- Are alprazolam and diazepam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Alprazolam vs. diazepam quick comparison
- Diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax XR, Niravam) are benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety. Both are available as generic drugs.
- Both drugs are in the same class as other benzodiazepines including clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and flurazepam (Dalmane).
- Diazepam also is used for the treatment of agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal, while alprazolam also is used to treat panic attacks.
- Similar side effects of both diazepam and alprazolam include drowsiness, fatigue, speech problems, confusion, and memory problems.
- Different side effects for diazepam include diarrhea, rash, euphoria, and ataxia (loss of balance).
- Different side effects for alprazolam include constipation and changes in weight.
- Both diazepam and alprazolam can lead to addiction (dependency). Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue. Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal.
What is alprazolam? What is diazepam? How do they work?
Alprazolam (Xanax XR, Niravam) is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family. It is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Alprazolam and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits activity in the brain. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may cause anxiety or other psychiatric disorders.
Diazepam (Valium is an oral benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety. Diazepamt also is used to treat agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal.
What are the uses for alprazolam vs. diazepam?
Alprazolam (Valium) uses
Alprazolam (Xanax) is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks
- Diazepam is used for the treatment of disorders with anxiety.
- Diazepam also is used for the treatment of agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal.
- It is used for the treatment of seizures, relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery.
What are the side effects of alprazolam vs. diazepam?
Alprazolam side effects
Alprazolam is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are characterized by:
- Unrealistic worry and apprehension
- Symptoms of restlessness
- Shortness of breath
- Smothering sensation
- Cold clammy hands
- Exaggerated startle responses
- Problems concentrating
Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of alprazolam.
Diazepam side effects
The most common side effects of diazepam are:
Other important side effects include:
- Paradoxical reactions with excitability
- Muscle spasm
- Lack of sleep
- Speech problems
- Double vision
Possible serious side effects:
Are alprazolam and diazepam addictive?
Both alprazolam and diazepam can lead to addiction (dependency), especially when higher dosages are used over prolonged periods of time. In patients addicted to diazepam or after prolonged use, abrupt discontinuation may cause symptoms of withdrawal such as:
What is the dosage for alprazolam vs. diazpam?
- The starting dose for treating anxiety is 0.25-0.5 mg 3 to 4 times daily using immediate release tablets. The dose may be increased every 3-4 days to a maximum dose of 4 mg daily.
- The starting dose for treating panic attacks is 0.5 mg 3 times daily. Doses can be increased every 3-4 days but by no more than 1 mg daily.
- The effective dose for preventing panic attacks may be as high as 10 mg daily for some patients. The starting dose when using extended release tablets to treat panic disorder is 0.5 mg once daily and the average dose is 3-6 mg once daily.
- Alprazolam may be taken with or without food.
- Diazepam may be taken with or without food.
- Diazepam is disposed of by the liver and excreted mainly by the kidney. Dosages of diazepam may need to be lowered in patients with abnormal kidney function.
- The usual oral diazepam dose for anxiety or seizures is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily.
- The usual rectal dose is 0.2-0.5 mg/kg and depends on the age of the patient.
What drugs interact with alprazolam vs. diazepam?
Alprazolam drug interactions
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), nefazodone (Serzone), cimetidine (Tagamet), and fluvoxamine (Luvox) increase concentrations in the blood of alprazolam and therefore may increase the side effects of alprazolam.
- Alprazolam interacts with alcohol and medications (for example, barbiturates, and narcotics) that suppress activity in the brain by suppressing activity more and causing sedation.
- Carbamazepine and rifampin reduce the effect of alprazolam by increasing metabolism and elimination of alprazolam in the liver.
Diazepam drug interactions
Alcohol or medications that cause sedation may add to the sedative effects of diazepam. Patients taking benzodiazepines should avoid such combinations.
The following drugs may prolong the effects of diazepam by inhibiting liver enzymes that eliminate diazepam so dosages may need to be decreased when these drugs are used with diazepam.
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
- ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- itraconazole (Sporanox)
- omeprazole (Prilosec, Rapinex)
- clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- darunavir (Prezista)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
Are alprazolam and diazepam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Benzodiazepines like alprazolam and diazepam can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used during pregnancy.
- Both alprazolam and diazepam are excreted in breast milk, and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, diazepam should not be used by women who are nursing.
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Related Disease Conditions
Muscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment, prolonged muscle use, and certain diseases of the nervous system may cause muscle spasms. Symptoms and signs of a muscle spasm include an acute onset of pain and a possible bulge seen or felt beneath the skin where the muscle is located. Gently stretching the muscle usually resolves a muscle spasm.
Tremor is the involuntary movements of one or more parts of the body. Causes of tremor include neurological disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, drugs, mercury poisoning, overactive thyroid and liver failure. There are several types of tremor. Treatment depends upon the type of tremor and availability of medications for the condition.
Alcohol and Teens
Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by American teenagers. Teens that drink are more likely to drive under the influence, have unprotected sex, and use other drugs, like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Symptoms of alcohol abuse in teens include lying, breaking curfew, becoming verbally or physically abusive toward others, making excuses, smelling like alcohol, having mood swings, and stealing.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. A person experiencing a panic attack may believe that he or she is having a heart attack or that death is imminent. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms: racing heartbeat, faintness, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers, chills, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of loss or control. There are several treatments for panic attacks.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
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Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Seizures Symptoms and Types
Seizures are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are produced by electrical impulses from throughout the brain, while partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses in a small part of the brain. Seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity.
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Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults can suffer from symptoms of separation anxiety disorder. Common separation anxiety treatment methods include therapy and medications. Factors that contribute to how quickly or successfully a child moves past separation anxiety by preschool age include how well the parent and child reunite, the skills the child and adult have at coping with the separation, and how well the adult responds to the infant's separation issues. For example, children of anxious parents tend to be anxious children.
Seizure vs. Seizure Disorders: What's the Difference?
Seizures and seizure disorders are not the same medical problems. A seizure happens when the electrical activity in the brain is uncontrolled. There are about 40 different types of seizure disorders, in which epilepsy is one. Symptoms depend on the type of disorder, but can include loss of consciousness, uncontrolled twitching or shaking of one side, or the entire body.
Febrile seizures, or convulsions caused by fever, can be frightening in small children or infants. However, in general, febrile seizures are harmless. Febrile seizure is not epilepsy. It is estimated that one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure. It is important to know what to do to help your child if he/she has a febrile seizure. Some of the features of a febrile seizure include losing consciousness, shaking, moving limbs on both sides of the body, and lasts 1-2 minutes. Less commonly, a febrile seizure may only affect one side of the body.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Benzodiazepines (Benzodiazepine Drug Class)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
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- Valium (diazepam) vs. midazolam
- Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Valium (diazepam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.