Valium vs Xanax: What’s the difference?

Both Valium and Xanax are the medications helpful in treating anxiety, comes under the class of benzodiazepine drugs, also called sedatives. Although both the pills work almost similarly, there are notable differences in their side effects and drug interactions. Comparing the efficacy or effectiveness of both drugs can tell the difference.

Names and Strengths –

Valium is the brand name for generic diazepam, while Xanax is the brand name for generic alprazolam. They both are brand name version medicines for anxiety.

Buy Valium Online in the strengths of 2mg, 5mg, and 10mg of diazepam.

Order Xanax Online in the strengths of 0.25mg, 0.50mg, 1mg, and 2mg alprazolam.

Prescription –

Valium and Xanax are two different medications in different strengths. Doctors should prescribe the more suitable one among the two, considering the inter-patient variability.

Patients can buy both medications in the form of pills and liquids. However, doctors prescribe tablet formulation of both the drugs to the adults.

Dosage –

A recommended dosage for an average adult is taking Valium or Xanax one to four times a day, depending upon the intensity of each patient’s condition and as directed by the health care professional.

Effects –

The effects of Valium last around 4 to 6 hours; however, it has a long half-life ranging from 20 to 70 hours. It means Valium can take up to six weeks following the last dose to completely clear off from the body of the user.

The effects of Xanax last for about 5 hours, and its half-life is 11 hours. It can take several days for the Xanax to leave the body of the user altogether.

Working of Valium and Xanax –

Xanax and Valium are benzodiazepines. They both work in the brain to boost neurotransmitters called GABA receptors.

GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) is the receptor that is responsible for reducing activities in parts of the brain that control emotions, logic thoughts, memory, and some functions such as breathing.

Xanax and Valium boost the effects of GABA, thus making the muscle relax, reducing anxiety by increasing calmness, and causes drowsiness or lethargy.

Key Facts –

Xanax Valium
Helpful in treating severe anxiety and panic disorder, short term symptoms of anxiety, and depression due to anxiety. Useful for the treatment of less severe anxiety disorder, drug and alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and muscle spasm.
Onset of action is within 15 to 30 minutes of intake, for immediate-release forms. Rapid onset of action within 15 minutes of intake.
Causes dependency Causes dependency
Causes withdrawal symptoms Causes withdrawal symptoms

Side Effects of The Medications –

Since Valium and Xanax work in the same manner, they have almost similar side effects. The akin side effects of both drugs include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Giddiness
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Appetite changes
  • Constipation
  • Sex drive changes
  • Difficulty urinating

The side effects that are common only in Valium use are:

  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Joint pain
  • Increased salivation

The side effects that are common only in Xanax use are:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight changes
  • Muscle pain

Xanax and Valium also cause some adverse effects. Similar severe side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe skin rashes
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Respiratory depression

Severe side effects of Valium are:

  • Fever
  • Shuffling walk
  • Lasting tremors
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irregular heartbeats

Severe side effects of Xanax are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Memory problems or memory impairment
  • Confusion
  • Speech problems such as slurred speech
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Lightheadedness
  • Talkativeness
  • Behavior changes
  • Mood swings

Withdrawal Symptoms –

Patients taking Valium or Xanax for a long time or at higher doses can experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop taking them. There can be both physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal.

Symptoms of withdrawal are majorly similar for both drugs, but Xanax can cause more symptoms, or sometimes Xanax withdrawal symptoms can be severe also.

Common signs and symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Sleeping problems or insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Increased anxiety
  • Stomach cramps
  • Feeling of restlessness

Xanax withdrawal causes the occurrence of multiple severe seizures and status epileptics.

Drug Interactions –

Drugs that interact with both Valium and Xanax are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Tagamet
  • Prozac
  • Rifamate and Rifater
  • Nizoral
  • medication for depression
  • medication for seizures
  • oral contraceptives
  • sedatives
  • sleeping pills
  • St. John’s Wort

Drugs that show interaction with Xanax include:

  • Zoloft
  • Brisdelle, Paxil, and Pexeva
  • Luvox
  • Cardene
  • EES and Eryc
  • Cardizem, Cartia XT, and Tiazac
  • Gengraf, Neoral, and Sandimmune
  • antifungal medication
  • Cordarone, Nexterone, and Pacerone
  • Onmel, and Sporanox

Drugs that show interaction with Valium include:

  • Lanoxin
  • Antabuse
  • Rytary, Sinemet, and Stalevo
  • Medicines for Parkinson’s disease
  • Medications for asthma, cold, and allergies
  • Lopressor and Toprol XL
  • muscle relaxants
  • Probalan, and Col-Probenecid
  • Hemangeol, Inderal, and Innopran
  • Zantac
  • Elixophyllin, Theo 24, and Theochron
  • Depakene

Precautions for Valium and Xanax –

Valium and Xanax contraindicate in patients having some conditions. Doctors prescribe these pills to the people who have no apparent risk of severe adverse effects or contraindications.

Valium and Xanax contraindicated in people with:

  • Lung diseases or breathing problems
  • Severe liver or kidney diseases
  • Sleep apnea
  • Muscle weakness
  • History of substance abuse or addiction
  • Previous alcohol intoxication
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast-feeding.

Insomnia and Anxiety in Older People

Sleeping Pills Are Not The Best Solution

Approximately one-third of older people in the USA take sleeping pills. Sleeping pills are ‘sedative-hypnotic‘ or ‘tranquilizer‘ drugs. They directly affect the brain and spinal cord of the user. Doctors often prescribe sleeping pills for sleep disorders. These drugs are also helpful in treating other conditions such as anxiety or alcohol withdrawal.

Sedative-hypnotics are not very preferable for older adults. They must try non-drug treatments first. According to the American Geriatrics Society, there are better and much safer ways to improve sleep problems or reduce anxiety for elderly patients.

Here is why sleeping pills could not be the best option for older adults:

Sleeping Pills May Not Help Much

Advertisements say that sleeping pills help get a peaceful full night’s sleep. But according to researches and studies, this is not 100% true in real life. On average, people who take medicines sleep only a little longer than the ones who don’t take them.

Sleeping Pills Can Have Severe, Or Even Life-Threatening Side Effects

Geriatric patients have additional risks by sedative-hypnotic drugs. Elderly users are likely to get more adversely affected by these drugs than the younger ones.

These drugs even stay longer in the systems of elderly users.

In older adults, sleeping pills tend to cause memory problem and confusion:

  • Doubles and even triples the risk of falls and fractures. These are common causes of hospitalization and deaths of elderly patients.
  • Elevates the risk of car accidents.

New ‘Z’ Drugs Also Have Risks

There were massive publicity and advertisement for the new ‘Z’ drug. At first, they were considered safer than other medicines. But current studies show that they have more risks than the old sleeping medications.

Try Treating Without Medicines First

Get thoroughly medically examined. Sleeping issues can be a result of many conditions, including depression or anxiety, restlessness, pain, leg syndrome, and other conditions. Even if the examination does not find the actual condition causing sleep problems, always try different solutions before you go for drugs.

Types Of Sleeping Pills

All the below mentioned sleeping pills have side effects, especially for older adults.

Benzodiazepines

For insomnia

  • Estazolam (only generic)
  • Flurazepam (Generic and Dalmane)
  • Quazepam (Doral)
  • Temazepam (Generic and Restoril)
  • Triazolam (Generic and Halcion)

For anxiety

Barbiturates

  • Secobarbital (Generic and Seconal)
  • Phenobarbital (Generic and Luminal)

‘Z’ Drugs

  • Zolpidem (Generic and Ambien)
  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • Zaleplon (Generic and Sonata)

Over-The-Counter Medicines May Not Be The Right Choice

Common side effects of some of these medicines, such as next-day drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, confusion, and difficulty urinating, can be very bothersome for older users. Try to avoid the following over-the-counter sleep medications, especially for older adults:

  • Diphenhydramine (Generic, Benadryl Allergy, Nytol, and Sominex)
  • Doxylamine (Generic and Unisom)
  • Advil PM (a combination of diphenhydramine and ibuprofen)
  • Tylenol PM (a combination of diphenhydramine and acetaminophen)

When To Try Sleeping Pills

Consider taking sleeping drugs only when other treatment options are inadequate, and your sleep problems are affecting the quality of life. Your health care advisor should monitor you closely to make sure that the drug is useful in getting restful sleep and not causing any adverse effects.

Treatment Through Medicines

If all the other options proved to be insufficient, take FDA approved medications prescribed by your doctor. The most common prescription for the treatment of sleeping problems or insomnia is Ambien. It causes less side effects and provides better efficacy. You can buy Ambien online through online pharmacies. But make sure to take the medication only as directed.

For the treatment of anxiety in younger as well as older adults, buy Xanax online. Xanax is the 19th most prescribed medication in the USA in 2016, with more than 27 million prescriptions. It is safer and better than other anti-anxiety drugs.