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Klonopin vs. Xanax – Very Similar With Key Differences

Klonopin vs xanax is an often asked question because they are both classified as benzodiazepines.  They are prescribed for a list of the similar conditions including anxiety and panic disorders.

What Is Klonopin

Klonopin (aka Clonazepam) is classified as a benzodiazepine. It is generally prescribed to treat the following conditions:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Acute mania or psychosis
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Severe Social Phobia & Anxiety
  • Epileptic Seizures (children)
  • Physicians may prescribe Klonopin to reduce bruxism (teeth grinding) and restless leg syndrome when other treatments fail to successfully treat these conditions

What Is Xanax

Xanax (Alprazolam) is also a benzodiazepine. It is prescribed primarily to alleviate symptoms of panic and anxiety. However Xanax is also prescribed for other disorders including:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Chemotherapy-induced Nausea
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Klonopin vs Xanax – Key Differences

Both are benzodiazepines, they differ in the following ways:

  1. Xanax is absorbed more quickly, by the body, than Klonopin.
  2. Peak concentrations of Klonopin in the brain occur about one to four hours after taking a dose. Peak concentrations of Xanax occur within one to two hours.
  3. Xanax’s sedating effects last about five to six hours while Klonopin’s similar effects last longer, up to 12 hours.
    (Differences in individual body chemistry, metabolism and neurotransmitter levels in the brain may influence the ability of either drug to continue working for these specified hours.)
  4. People taking Klonopin do not need as many daily doses as those taking Xanax because Klonopin remains in the bloodstream and brain longer than Xanax.

Effectiveness

Few studies have been conducted that compare efficacy of Klonopin and Xanax.

  • One study reported no differences between them regarding side effects  such as dizziness, sedation and drowsiness.
  • The same study compared effectiveness of Xanax and Klonopin when prescribed for panic disorder and found no difference.

Addictiveness

All Benzodiazepines are addictive and could cause a user to become psychologically and/or physically addicted to them. People with a history of drug abuse may be more susceptible to an addiction to Klonopin or Xanax.

  • Studies have shown 50 percent of people taking Xanax or Klonopin for six months continuously, are considered to be “dependent” on them.

Withdrawal

Xanax is more difficult to stop using without suffering withdrawal symptoms than Klonopin. The primarily reason is the short half-life of Xanax (about nine to 20 hours compared to the 20 to 60 hour half-life of Klonopin. The term “half-life” refers to the time it takes for 50 percent of the drug to leave the body.

  • What that means is Xanax moves through the human body much more quickly than Klonopin.

Medications with longer half-lives such as Klonopin remain more constant in the bloodstream, which helps reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. People taking Xanax or Klonopin may experience the following signs of withdrawal if they have become dependent to either drug:

  • Insomnia
  • Extreme irritability/agitation/anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors (especially of the hands and legs)
  • Profuse sweating
  • Difficulty concentration or thinking clearly
  • Nausea/dry retching/abdominal pain
  • Palpitations
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Blurry vision

Safety

Since both benzodiazepines come with a high risk of addiction, neither is safer than the other to take. In addition, overdosing on Xanax or Klonopin may occur as patients built a tolerance to these drugs and require higher dosage amounts to feel their affects. In some cases, a user may become so sedated they forget when they last took a dose and take another dose too early. Signs of a benzodiazepine overdose include:

  • Inability to stay awake
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation
  • Possible coma

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