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Klonopin vs Xanax: Benzodiazepine Side Effects, Withdrawal & Dosage

Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam) review

  • Klonopin (clonazepam) and Xanax
    (alprazolam) belong to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
  • Benzodiazepines are medications that
    cause drowsiness (sedation) and inhibition of nerve signals within the brain
    (central nervous system or CNS). They also are used for sedation during surgery.
  • Both Klonopin and Xanax are prescribed
    to treat anxiety. Symptoms of anxiety include:

    • Headaches
    • Sleep problems
    • Becoming tired easily
    • Irritability
    • Muscle tension
    • Restlessness or feeling edgy
    • Trouble concentrating
  • Klonopin also is prescribed to treat
    certain types of seizures and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
  • Since both Klonopin and Xanax are
    benzodiazepines, they can cause physical dependence (addiction). Withdrawal
    symptoms from suddenly stopping taking these medications can include insomnia,
    headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, tremors, and seizures.
  • Examples of common side effects of
    benzodiazepines like Klonopin and Xanax include

  • Klonopin and Xanax interact with
    alcohol, barbiturates, narcotics, and other drugs or substances that slow the
    brain’s processes. Xanax also interacts with several other
    drugs.
  • Both Klonopin and Xanax are not
    recommended during pregnancy due to the risk of fetal abnormalities. Both drugs
    also are secreted in breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore they
    should not be used by women who are nursing.

What are Klonopin and Xanax?

What is Klonopin (clonazepam)?

  • Klonopin (clonazepam) is an
    anti-anxiety
    medication in the
    benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes, for example:

  • Klonopin and other
    benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of
    gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a
    chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits
    brain activity. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may lead to
    anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. Clonazepam is primarily used for
    treating
    panic disorder and preventing certain
    types of seizures.
  • The FDA
    approved clonazepam in June 1975.

What is Xanax (alprazolam)?

  • Xanax (alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes,
    for example:

    • diazepam (Valium)
    • clonazepam (Klonopin)
    • lorazepam (Ativan)
    • flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Xanax and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits activity in the brain. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may cause anxiety or other psychiatric disorders.
  • The FDA approved
    Xanax in October 1981.

What generic names are available for Klonopin and Xanax?

  • Clonazepam is the brand name for Klonopin available for in the US.
  • Alprazolam is the brand name for Xanax available in the US.

What are the uses for Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) uses

Klonopin (clonazepam) is used for:

  • The treatment of panic disorder
  • Certain types of seizures, specifically petit mal
    seizures, akinetic seizures, and myoclonus, as well as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
    Klonopin maybe used alone or together with other medications for these
    seizure
    disorders.
  • The short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety.

Xanax (alprazolam) uses

Xanax (alprazolam) is used for the treatment of
anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are characterized by:

Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of
Xanax.




QUESTION

Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes.
See Answer

What are the side effects of Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) side effects

The most common side effects associated with Klonopin (clonazepam)
are sedation, which is reported in approximately half of patients. Dizziness is
reported in one-third of patients.

Other common side effects include:

Other serious side effects of Klonopin include:

Other serious adverse reactions:

  • Antiepileptic medications have been associated with an increased risk of
    suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic
    drugs must balance this risk of
    suicide with the clinical need for the
    antiepileptic drug. Patients who begin antiepileptic therapy should be closely
    observed for clinical worsening,
    suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in
    behavior.

Xanax (alprazolam) side effects

The most common side effects of Xanax taken at lower doses are:

Other side effects include:

  • Fatigue

  • Memory problems
  • Speech problems
  • Constipation

  • Changes in weight
  • Addiction (dependency)

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) withdrawal symptoms

  • Like all benzodiazepines,
    Klonopin can cause physical dependence.
  • Suddenly
    stopping therapy after a few months of daily therapy may be associated with a
    feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and
    insomnia.
  • If Klonopin is taken
    continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce:

    • Seizures
    • Tremors

    • Muscle cramping
    • Vomiting

    • Sweating

  • Therefore,
    discontinuation usually is accomplished by reducing the dose gradually.

Xanax (alprazolam) withdrawal symptoms

Addiction is more likely to occur at high doses given over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of
Xanax after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as:

  • Insomnia

  • Headaches

  • Nausea,

  • Vomiting

  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. Consequently, patients on
Xanax for extended periods of time should slowly taper the medication under a doctor’s supervision rather than abruptly stopping the medication.

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How should Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam) be taken (dosage)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) dosage

The dose of Klonopin (clonazepam) is tailored to the patient's needs.

  • For
    seizures in adults the initial dose is 1.5 mg daily in 3 divided doses.
  • Dosage
    may be increased by 0.5 to 1 mg daily every 3 days until seizures are controlled
    or side effects preclude further increases in dose.
  • The maximum dose is 20 mg
    daily. The initial dose for panic disorders is 0.25 mg twice daily.
  • The dose may
    be increased to the target dose of 1 mg daily after 3 days.

Xanax (alprazolam) dosage

Xanax may be taken with or without food.

Which drugs interact with Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) drug interactions

  • Klonopin (clonazepam), like all other benzodiazepines, accentuates
    the effects of other drugs that slow the brain's processes, such as
    alcohol,
    barbiturates, and narcotics and leads to increased sedation.

Xanax (alprazolam) drug interactions

Xanax (alprazolam) interacts with

These increase concentrations in the blood of Xanax and therefore may increase the side effects of
Xanax.
Xanax interacts with alcohol and medications (for example, barbiturates, and narcotics) that suppress activity in the brain by suppressing activity more and causing sedation.

Carbamazepine
(Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Equetro, Carbatrol) and rifampin reduce the effect of
Xanax by increasing metabolism and elimination of
Xanax in the liver.

Are Klonopin and Xanax safe to take during pregnancy or while
breastfeeding?

Klonopin (clonazepam) pregnancy and breastfeeding safety

  • Klonopin (clonazepam) and other benzodiazepines have been associated with
    fetal damage, including
    congenital malformations, when taken by
    pregnant women
    in their
    first trimester.
    Klonopin is best avoided in the first trimester and
    probably throughout
    pregnancy.
  • Benzodiazepines are secreted in
    breast milk. Mothers who are
    breastfeeding should not take
    Klonopin.

Xanax (alprazolam) pregnancy and breastfeeding safety

  • Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used in
    pregnancy.
  • Xanax is excreted in
    breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, it should not be used by women who are nursing.
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