Both Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are in the same class of drug, the benzodiazepines. That means they help to calm a person down and relive symptoms of anxiety or clam down muscle spasms. Both drugs are highly addictive because the body needs larger in larger doses in order to get the same effect.
Valium is manufactured by Roche Laboratories while Xanax is a product of Pfizer. Both medications have been featured in pop songs. Valium was “Mother’s Little Helper” to the Rolling Stones while “Xanax and Wine” is a potentially lethal combination sung about by U2.
There are seven anxiety disorders including panic attack disorder. These include generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, phobias and panic attack disorder. Because of the risk of addiction, both drugs are prescribed for less than six months.
However, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Controlling Anxiety” (Alpha; 2006) notes that patients with panic disorder are often prescribed Xanax for at least one year. Lithium does not make this book’s list of medications recommended for panic disorders because it’s considered to sedating to be of true long-term benefit to an anxiety patient.
Discovery and Use
Valium was the first of the pair to be made available to the public. Its creator was Dr. Leo Sternbach. First available in 1963, it was used for everything from “nerves” to nausea. Now, Valium is prescribed for anxiety disorders, restless leg syndrome, seizures, the excruciating Meniere’s disease, withdraw symptoms from alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms from becoming addicted to benzodiazepines.
Xanax was created in 1969 and was approved for release in 1976. Alprazolam is only approved to treat panic attack disorders or anxiety disorders. But there are many off-label uses prescribed for it, including insomnia, getting over withdrawal symptoms from other drugs and for seizure disorders.
Both Valium and Xanax are not approved for use in pets, but are frequently prescribed off-label by veterinarians for dogs and cats. Just like with people, a prescription is required for pets. Valium is prescribed to calm seizures, inner ear problems, muscle relaxant, to increase a pet’s appetite, to calm an animal down after coming out of surgery and to calm down frightened animals.
Xanax is also used to increase a pet’s appetite or to help calm down pets that get destructive or dangerous during such events as thunderstorms or being left alone while the owner is at work. Training is to be used in conjunction with Xanax, because pets will only get the medication for a few months before tapering off of it, lest they become addicted. Xanax is also used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, according to veterinarian Nicholas Dodman.
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Controlling Anxiety.” Joni E. Johnston, PsyD. Alpha; 2006.
Daily Mail.co.uk: “‘Mother’s little helper’ retuns as drug-takers take more Valium as cheap alternative to heroin.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1051989/Mothers-little-helper-returns-drug-takers-use-Valium-cheap-alternative-heroin.html
U2. “Xanax and Wine.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RtY5L3ZQlM
Wedgewood Pharmaceuticals. “Diazepam for Veterinary Use.” Barbara Forney, VMD. http://www.wedgewoodpetrx.com/learning-center/professional-monographs/diazepam-for-veterinary-use.html