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Alprazolam Vs Diazepam: What are the Similarities and Differences

Alprazolam vs Diazepam

In the current era, mental or emotional health problems are increasing rapidly same as physical health problems. There are several types of emotional health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress, etc. Anxiety is a type of mental disorder. The symptoms of anxiety include nervousness, panic, and fear that can cause sweating and increased heartbeat. Worries and instructive thoughts typically cause anxiety disorders. If a thought is disturbing someone that he wants to push out of his mind, that is called an instructive thought. The more you think about it, it will make you more anxious and the disturbing thought will get worse. The two common medications doctors may prescribe for anxiety-related mental disorders are Alprazolam and Diazepam. Here, in this article, we will learn all about Alprazolam vs Diazepam and their similarities and differences.

What are Alprazolam and Diazepam drugs?

Alprazolam and Diazepam both are benzodiazepines. So, these drugs have a similar mechanism of working in the body.

Alprazolam

Alprazolam is a prescription medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Various other branded drugs that come under Alprazolam are Xanax, Xanax Extended-Release (XR), and Niravam.

It belongs to a drug class named benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines produce a calming effect on the central nervous system including the brain and nerves. Alprazolam is prescribed to treat panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and depression caused by anxiety condition.

Alprazolam works by increasing the effect of a chemical messenger called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) a neurotransmitter situated in our brain. GABA transmits signals in our body. Enough levels of GABA are beneficial for preventing anxiety in the body.

Diazepam

The FDA has approved the benzodiazepine medication Diazepam for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Diazepam is available as both a generic and branded name drug. The branded drug that comes under diazepam is Valium. This medication is useful for temporary relief of anxiety as well as stress symptoms. It can also provide relief to certain patients with epilepsy.

Diazepam works by increasing the effect of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter a chemical messenger that transmits signals throughout our body. GABA transmits signals in our body.

Now, we will have a look at the uses of Alprazolam and Diazepam. These uses can be similar or differ in some conditions because both medicines belong to a similar drug class.

Similarities between Alprazolam and Diazepam

Alprazolam

  • Alprazolam is mainly used for treating panic attacks and anxiety disorders associated with depression.
  • This medication is approved by the FDA for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.
  • The FDA has also approved this drug for treating patients with panic attack disorders.

Anxiety disorders – Alprazolam is one of the most effective medications used to get rid of anxiety condition. As we have mentioned above this is a benzodiazepine drug and according to a guideline of the FDA, most benzodiazepine drugs such as Alprazolam are included in the list of medications that are used for managing anxiety disorder. The calming effect of this medication is very helpful in relieving symptoms of anxiety.

Panic attack – This medication impacts receptors for GABA. It mainly affects GABA neurotransmitters that are responsible for sleep regulation, relaxation, and anxiety. This mechanism aids in slowing down the Central Nervous System (CNS), which results in decreasing agitation and euphoria (over-excitement). This whole action is completed by creating a relaxing effect.

Diazepam

Diazepam medication helps to treat health conditions such as.

  • Depression-caused anxiety disorders
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as agitation or tremors. It mainly happens when someone drinks alcohol daily in an excessive amount and stops consuming it suddenly.
  • Enhancing the effects of skeletal muscle spasms and certain types of seizures.

It can be used as a combination therapy that means it is needed to be used with other drugs. Generally, Combination therapy term refers to using multiple therapies or medications to treat a particular health condition.

Differences between Alprazolam and Diazepam

Availability

Alprazolam medication is available in the form of oral tablets (extended-release and disintegrating tablets) and concentrated oral solutions. Disintegrating oral tablet means it dissolves quickly in the mouth.

Diazepam is a prescription-only drug and it comes in the form of tablets, solution, and concentrated liquid that are administered orally by healthcare professionals to individuals suffering from particular health complications.

Dosages

For Alprazolam:

Doctors may increase or decrease dosage after examining the patient. The various dosage strengths of Alprazolam with their forms include:

  • Available Oral Tablet- 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and also in 2 mg.
  • Tablet (Extended-Release) – 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg and 3 mg also.
  • Tablet (Orally Disintegrating) – 0.25 mg, 0.5mg, 1 mg and 2 mg.
  • Oral Solution – 1 mg/ ml

Dosing information for Alprazolam –
Common dose of Alprazolam for adults with anxiety condition:
Immediate-release/Orally disintegrating oral tablet: 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg orally administered 3 times a day. The maximum dose is up to 4 mg in a day for individuals suffering from anxiety condition.

The usual dose of Alprazolam for adults for panic attack conditions:
Immediate-release/Orally disintegrating oral tablet: The recommended dosage is 0.5 mg. It can take orally thrice a day.

Extended-release tablets: The optimal dose is 0.5 mg to 1 mg per day and the suggested maximum dose is 10 mg per day which can be increased or decreased gradually by the healthcare professionals.

For Diazepam:

Doctors may increase or decrease dosage after examining the patient. The various dosage strengths of the generic medication Diazepam with their forms include:

Available Oral tablets- 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg
Oral solution- 1mg/1ml and 5mg/ml

Dosage for its brand-name medication Valium, which is available in oral tablet form are:

Oral tablet- 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg

Dosing information for Diazepam

  • You can take Diazepam with or without food.
  • According to various research and studies, it was found that Diazepam is intended or not to be used by children under the age of 6 months. As of now, no trials and examinations have been held to recognize whether the dosage of Diazepam is suitable for them.
  • For children aged 6 months to 17 years: The usual dose is 1 mg to 2.5 mg which is administered orally three or four times a day.
  • The standard dose for adults suffering from anxiety and aged between 18 to 64 years: The common dose is 2 mg to 10 mg. Take orally two to four times a day or prescribed by a doctor.
  • Dose for individuals who are above 65 years of age: The optimal dose is 2 mg to 2.5 mg. Take orally one or two times a day or after the prescription of the doctor.

Side effects of Alprazolam and Diazepam

Alprazolam may cause several side effects such as:

  • Constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Unable to coordinate
  • Trouble in concentrating
  • Slurred speech
  • Change in appetite
  • Allergic reaction
  • Light-headedness
  • Hypotension
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Reduced alertness
  • Increased levels of liver enzymes
  • Jaundice
  • Confusion
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Jerking movements
  • Floppiness
  • Unusual movements
  • Hallucinations
  • Risk of dependence and addiction
  • Risk of severe harm and death
  • Severe allergic reactions

Diazepam can cause various side effects that are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inability to control muscle movements (ataxia)
  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth or excessive saliva
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Increase in frequency
  • Increase in severity
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of the room spinning (vertigo)
  • Slowed or slurred speech
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Memory loss
  • Extreme excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased muscle spasms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Tremor
  • Abdominal or muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Convulsions

Precautions

These medications are useful for psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression that is a root cause for panic attacks. Alprazolam and Diazepam may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions. Taking alcohol and marijuana with these drugs can trigger dizziness and drowsiness.
So, before taking Alprazolam and Diazepam always consult with a healthcare professional.

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