Valium vs Xanax: What’s the Difference?
There are some notable differences between Valium and Xanax, but also some similarities.
What are Valium and Xanax?
Valium is a brand name for diazepam and Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam. Although both drugs are benzodiazepines, so have a similar mechanism of action, there are structural differences between them that affect their activity in the body.
Which one works quicker?
Valium may be absorbed slightly faster than Xanax; however, the difference is minimal. Peak concentrations of both usually occur within 1-2 hours. Effects of Xanax last on average 5 hours although there are wide variations between individuals (see below). Effects of Valium last approximately 4 hours, although may persist for longer in some people.
How much Xanax equals 5mg of Valium?
Benzodiazepine equivalency tables state that 0.5mg of alprazolam (Xanax) is approximately equivalent to 5mg diazepam (Valium). However, people of Asian descent metabolize Xanax differently to people of other races, and certain disease states such as alcoholism, liver and kidney disease, obesity and even old age can affect how Xanax behaves in the body; so benzodiazepine equivalency tables should be used as a guide only as they do not reflect individual variation.
How do Valium and Xanax work?
Both Valium and Xanax, like all benzodiazepines, enhance the actions of a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This neurotransmitter can reduce the activity of nerve cells, so enhancing it has a calming effect which can improve symptoms of anxiety, reduce muscle tension, stop seizures, and induce sleep.
Which drug is more effective for anxiety?
A trial that directly compared Valium with Xanax for the treatment of anxiety reported Valium to be slightly more beneficial than Xanax at relieving anxiety, particularly if the anxiety was also accompanied by depression, but the differences were unlikely to be clinically meaningful.
Which drug is more addictive or has more withdrawal reactions?
Generally speaking, benzodiazepines with a shorter half life (such as Xanax) are harder to stop than those with a longer half life (such as Valium). Both drugs readily enter brain tissue which reinforces drug taking and is generally associated with more severe withdrawal symptoms. Some experts advise Xanax to be used with caution as it has been associated with more severe withdrawal symptoms compared with other benzodiazepines.