Valium vs. Xanax
Valium vs. Xanax: Is There a Difference?
Many of us experience anxiety symptoms from time to time. Anxiety and all of its unpleasant symptoms, on the other hand, are a daily occurrence for some people. Anxiety can interfere with your ability to function at home, school, and work. Valium vs. Xanax is detailed below.
Anxiety is frequently treated with talk therapy and antidepressant medications. Another type of medication used to treat anxiety is benzodiazepines. Valium and Xanax are two commonly prescribed benzodiazepines. These drugs are similar but not identical.
Why they’re prescribed
Both drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders. Xanax also treats panic disorder.
In addition, Valium treats several other conditions, including:
- acute alcohol withdrawal
- skeletal muscle spasm
- seizure disorders
- chronic sleep disorder
How they work
Valium and Xanax are both brand-name versions of generic medications. Valium is a brand name for the medication diazepam, while Xanax is a brand name for the medication alprazolam. Both of these drugs are mild sedatives.
They work by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical messenger that sends signals throughout the body. If your body doesn’t have enough GABA, you may feel anxiety.
If you are taking Valium, you should avoid eating or drinking a lot of grapefruit. Grapefruit inhibits the enzyme CYP3A4, which aids in the breakdown of certain drugs. As a result, eating a lot of grapefruit can raise your Valium levels. This may increase your chances of experiencing side effects.
Because Xanax and Valium are in the same drug class, they share many interactions with other drugs and substances. When combined with benzodiazepines, medications that affect your central nervous system can be dangerous. This is due to the fact that they can have an effect on your respiratory system.
Several groups that interact include:
- other benzodiazepines or sedatives, such as sleeping pills and drugs for anxiety
- pain drugs, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, codeine, and tramadol
- antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics
- antiseizure medications
- tranquilizers and muscle relaxants
These are not all of the possible drug interactions. For a more complete list, see the interactions for diazepam and interactions for alprazolam.
Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about all drugs and supplements you currently take before you start taking any new drug.
Warnings for certain people
Certain people should not take one or either of these drugs. You shouldn’t take Xanax or Valium if you have acute angle-closure glaucoma or a history of allergic reaction to either drug.
You also shouldn’t take Valium if you have:
- a history of drug dependence
- myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease
- severe respiratory insufficiency
- sleep apnea
- severe liver insufficiency or liver failure
Dependence and withdrawal
The most serious concerns about using Valium or Xanax are dependence and withdrawal.
After a few days or weeks, you may become addicted to these drugs. People who use these drugs may develop a tolerance over time, and the risk of dependence increases as you use the drugs for a longer period of time. As you get older, your chances of becoming dependent or withdrawing increase. In older adults, the drugs may have a longer duration of action and take longer to leave their bodies.
These side effects can occur with either drug, so if they are a major concern for you, consult your doctor about the best treatment for your anxiety.
You should also never discontinue these medications abruptly. Stopping these drugs abruptly can result in withdrawal symptoms. Seek your doctor’s advice on the best way to taper off these medications gradually.
Diazepam and alprazolam are effective in treating several conditions, including acute anxiety. However, each drug also treats different conditions. One drug may be more appropriate for you based on the condition you’re trying to treat and your medical history. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and medical history to help them determine what medication may be best for you.