Valium vs Xanax: What are the Differences and Which to Choose?

Valium vs Xanax: What are the Differences and Which to Choose- DATOS

Valium and Xanax are medicines that doctors give to people who feel really worried. But, they have some differences in how they can affect your body.

Valium and Xanax are special names for two kinds of anxiety medicines. Valium’s real name is diazepam, and Xanax’s real name is alprazolam.

When you’re super anxious, it’s because your brain chemicals are a bit mixed up. These medicines can help fix that.

These medicines can slow down parts of your body. It might make you feel sleepy or more relaxed.

The right medicine and how much you need are not the same for everyone. It depends on each person.

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Similarities and differences

Things that are the same and things that are not the same:

Valium and Xanax are not the same kind of medicine. A doctor should help you choose which one is better for you.

You can take both of these medicines as pills or as a liquid, but usually, grown-ups get pills from the doctor.

Most people take Valium or Xanax one to four times a day, but the amount you take depends on what you need and the type of medicine because they work for different amounts of time.

Here are some key aspects of Xanax and valium:

Type of MedicationXanax is one type of anxiety medication.Valium is another kind of anxiety medicine.
Generic NamesAlprazolamDiazepam
How They WorkThey both help by making a calming brain chemical called GABA work better.They also boost the effects of GABA to relax muscles and reduce anxiety.
Common UsesUsed for anxiety and panic disorders.Used for anxiety and muscle spasms.
Dosage and FrequencyUsually taken one to four times a day, depending on your needs.Taken one to four times a day, depending on your needs.
Dependency RiskBoth can make you dependent, so it’s crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions.Both can lead to dependency if not used carefully.
Duration of UseDoctors usually recommend them for short-term use.Typically prescribed for short-term use.
Withdrawal SymptomsCan cause withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly, such as anxiety, headaches, and trouble sleeping.Stopping them suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms like stomach cramps and increased anxiety.
InteractionsCan interact with certain medications and substances, including opioids and alcohol.May interact with specific drugs like opioids and alcohol.
Who Should AvoidPeople with certain health conditions, like breathing problems or addiction history, should avoid them.Not suitable for those with breathing issues, addiction history, or severe health conditions.
Pregnancy and NursingIt’s important to consult your doctor if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing.Consult your doctor if you’re pregnant, thinking of getting pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Driving and MachineryBoth can make you drowsy, so it’s usually not safe to drive or use machinery while taking them.Because they can cause drowsiness, it’s best not to drive or operate machinery while using them.

How they do their job

  • Both medicines do their job by working with a brain chemical called GABA.
  • GABA helps slow down parts of the brain that handle things like memory, feelings, thinking, and even breathing.
  • Valium and Xanax make GABA work better. This makes your muscles relax, lowers anxiety, and can make you feel sleepy.
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When someone has been taking Valium or Xanax for a long time and suddenly stops, they might feel some bad things happening in their body or mind. This is called withdrawal, and it can happen to both medicines, but Xanax might make it worse.

Some of these withdrawal things include:

  • Tummy pain
  • Feeling more worried
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Trouble sleeping

It’s super important not to just stop taking these medicines on your own. You should talk to your doctor and make a plan together. This is really important because withdrawal can be tough.

Sometimes, these bad feelings can last for weeks or even months. Having support from friends, family, or a group can help you deal with it. And sometimes, your doctor can give you other medicine to make it easier.

Safety Concerns

Valium and Xanax are usually safe if a person doesn’t have specific health problems and follows the doctor’s advice.

Both can make you need them because they change your brain, and quitting can be hard. That’s why doctors usually suggest using them for a short time.

Drug Interaction

You might not be able to take some other medicines with Valium or Xanax. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist and check what medicines you can or can’t use.

The list below talks about some medicines that might not work well with Valium or Xanax, but there could be more. You should talk to your doctor about all the medicines you take to be safe.


Valium can have problems when taken with other stuff like:

  • Strong painkillers (opioids)
  • Alcohol
  • Stomach medicine (antacids)
  • Certain other drugs (like phenytoin)

Medicines that affect the brain (centrally acting agents), which can be things like antipsychotics or sleeping pills.
But this list is not everything. Before you use Valium, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about everything you take, like other medicines, herbs, or vitamins, to make sure it’s okay.


Xanax can also have issues if you take it with:

  • Strong painkillers (opioids)
  • Alcohol
  • Other medicines that affect the brain (central nervous system depressants)
  • Heart medicine (digoxin)
  • Some antidepressants (imipramine and desipramine)
  • Drugs that can mess with CYP450 3A (like fluoxetine or some birth control pills)

Your doctor might tell you to stop taking some other medicines or change their doses if you’re using Valium or Xanax. They’ll also watch you closely for any problems.

But remember, this isn’t the whole list. Always chat with your doctor or pharmacist about all the stuff you use before you start taking these medicines. That way, you can stay safe.

Does Valium Work Faster Than Xanax

Valium takes a bit longer to start working than Xanax when you swallow them. But if Valium is put into your vein or muscle, it works faster. Xanax only comes as a pill you swallow, and it usually takes around 30 minutes to start working. Valium can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to begin working.

Short-Acting vs. Long-Acting Benzos

We use something called “half-life” to figure out if a benzodiazepine works quickly or slowly. If a benzo has a half-life of less than 12 hours, it’s considered short-acting, and if it’s more than 12 hours, it’s long-acting.

Half-life tells us how long it takes for the body to remove half of the drug. Xanax has a half-life of 11 hours, which is short. Valium, on the other hand, has a half-life of up to 48 hours, which is very long.

Short-acting benzos can be more likely to lead to addiction because withdrawal symptoms start quickly when you stop taking them. Long-acting benzos leave the body more slowly, so detox and withdrawal happen more slowly and are usually not as severe.

Using Valium and Xanax for Anxiety

Doctors used to give out benzodiazepines a lot for anxiety, but they don’t do it as much now because they can be addictive.

If your doctor gives you one of these drugs, it’s usually just for a short time.

Xanax only comes as a pill you swallow, and it’s mainly for anxiety. Valium can be used for other things like alcohol problems, seizures, muscle issues, and really bad mental situations.

Because Valium stays in your body for a long time, it’s helpful for serious conditions like alcohol withdrawal and seizures. But you shouldn’t use these drugs often because they can lead to addiction.

Can You Take Valium and Xanax Together

No, you shouldn’t take Valium and Xanax together. They work the same way in your body, so taking both can make you feel very sleepy, dizzy, and addicted.

Also, it’s very risky to overdose if you mix different benzodiazepines. Overdosing on these drugs is usually not deadly, but when you mix them with other stuff like opioids, it can be really dangerous.

Who Should Avoid Valium or Xanax

Not everyone can use Valium or Xanax. Before a doctor gives you these medicines, they will ask about your health.

People with these health problems usually can’t take Valium or Xanax:

  • Trouble breathing or lung issues
  • Really bad kidney or liver problems
  • Sleep apnea (a sleep disorder)
  • Weak muscles
  • Past or current issues with drugs or alcohol
  • Feeling really sad (depression)
  • Glaucoma (an eye problem)

Kids usually can’t take Valium or Xanax. Older folks can, but they usually get less of the medicine. We don’t have a lot of info on how these medicines work in kids.

If you’re pregnant, might get pregnant, or are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor. We don’t know if Valium or Xanax are safe or not during pregnancy or while nursing.

Both medicines can make you super sleepy. So, you should not drive or use machines when you’re taking them.

Valium and Xanax Addiction

Valium and Xanax can both make you get addicted to them, especially if you take a lot for a long time. Even using them too much for just a few days can lead to addiction.

People who take these medicines might need more of them to feel the same way, and this can make addiction more likely, especially as you get older, because the drugs stay in your body longer.

Getting Help for Valium and Xanax Addiction

Addiction is a big problem, whether it’s from illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescription drugs like Xanax or Valium. If you think you’re addicted to these medicines, it’s essential to ask for help.

Don’t just stop taking them suddenly. It’s safer to get rid of the drugs from your body with the help of doctors in a special place. After that, you can join a program to learn how to overcome addiction.

Bottom Line

Valium and Xanax are not the same, but they can help with similar problems. Your doctor thinks about many things before suggesting which one to use.

Read More: Valium vs Xanax: What are the Differences and Which to Choose?