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What Are Some Prescription Drugs That Are Like Xanax?

by
author image Demi Buckley
Demi Buckley's 10 years of professional writing experience have included investigational and technical writing positions for some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry, including Abbott Laboratories and Baxter Health Care. He earned his B.S. in biology (with a minor in English/creative writing) from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
What Are Some Prescription Drugs That Are Like Xanax?
Xanax belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Photo Credit medicine image by dinostock from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Xanax is an anti-anxiety and anti-convulsant medication belonging to the benzodiazepine class of pharmaceuticals. While there are a number of drugs that belong to this family of prescription medicines, it is important to remember there are large discrepancies in the potencies between different benzodiazepine dosages, and one drug may not be a suitable substitute for another. Therefore, seek a doctor's advice in choosing the right medication and corresponding dosage for your particular treatment.

Valium (Diazepam)

Diazepam, better known by its brand name Valium, is a widely prescribed pharmaceutical that is used to treat a number of mental health issues. Besides general anxiety, it can also be prescribed as a treatment for seizures, insomnia and occasionally to alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Valium, like the other members of the benzodiazepine family, has the potential for being addictive and is therefore classified as a schedule IV drug in the United States.

Klonopin (Clonazepam)

The drug clonazepam has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) capabilities, and can also be prescribed for epilepsy, chronic anxiety, and panic disorders. There are a number of side effects associated with Klonopin, including increased drowsiness, impaired judgment and motor skills, and irritability. Long-term use can result in reduced sex drive and possible depression. Additionally, it should be noted that Klonopin is one of the longer-acting benzodiazepines, which means it remains in your body's system for a longer period of time in comparison to Xanax and similar medications.

Ativan (Lorazepam)

This pharmaceutical is a relatively strong anti-anxiety drug that is often used as a pre-anesthetic prior to some surgical operations. It possesses strong muscle relaxant and sedative properties, making it useful for patients that may be undergoing certain procedures during which they will be kept awake, such as dental work or colonoscopies. Due to this drug's strength, it actually has the potential to lead to strong side effects that may be contradictory to what is expected of benzodiazepines, such as increased aggression or suicidal behavior. Additionally, it is known to have a very high potential for chemical dependence.

Lexotan (Bromazepam)

An anxiolytic with strong sedative and hypnotic characteristics, Bromazepam, like Lorazepam, is also sometimes used to calm patients prior to surgical procedures. Bromazepam can impair memory, visual processing by the brain, and lead to a lowered sex drive. However, grogginess-related side effects with this medication are considered to be less pronounced than with benzodiazepines like Lorazepam. This medication is not recommended for pregnant women, as it has been shown to affect the health of unborn children. As with all drugs in the benzodiazepine family, patients are urged to consult medical professionals prior to use.

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