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Clonazepam vs. Alprazolam


11.19.2018 | Haley Carroll
Clonazepam vs
Clonazepam vs. Alprazolam

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These medications are both included in the same general class of drugs, but they also have their differences in the specific reasons they are used, in how they work, in their side effects, and their safety. When Tom goes to see his doctor, they have a discussion about these two medications to decide which would be better for him.

It is also important for patients to be informed that, when taking these medications, they should avoid taking other similar drugs at the same time, whether recreational or prescribed. Combined effects of several sedating medications can contribute to the side effects discussed above. Other medications that have a sedating effect should be avoided, or carefully considered and managed by a physician if they must be taken.

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Pounding heart, sweaty palms, racing heart. Tom feels hot, suffocated, and incredibly panicked. Now, Tom is simply sitting at his desk, finishing up the work day. Tom has felt these sensations before, but only during times when you might expect them, such as before a big football game or an important presentation at work. He knows that at times these sensations can be normal reactions to stressful events, but today they are happening for seemingly no reason at all, and are incredibly severe.

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Xanax must be taken regularly in order to maintain its effect and keep its levels constant in the blood. The effects of Klonopin last longer than the effects of Xanax in the body, which means that Klonopin does not need to be taken as frequently. Xanax is absorbed, and therefore takes effect more quickly, making it ideal to treat acute panic attacks or anxiety that must be addressed at once.

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In comparing the doses, 0.5 milligram (mg) of Xanax is approximay equal to 0.5 mg of Klonopin, so on the most basic level, they are equivalent. Also, some medical conditions can affect how quickly Klonopin is eliminated from the body. People of Asian descent and people with liver or kidney disease or even old age have a harder time breaking down and using Xanax in the body. For those reasons, the two drugs are not exactly equivalent. However, it may be worth noting that some people metabolize Xanax in a unique way.

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When choosing between the two, it depends on the patient's specific needs and needs to be a joint decision between doctor and patient. When comparing the two benzodiazepines, clonazepam (Klonopin) and alprazolam (Xanax), we see that they both affect neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing levels of the calming chemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid ). Klonopin, a long-acting agent, takes longer to have an effect, but lasts longer in the body. Both drugs can contribute to dependence, a state in which the body develops a tolerance and may go into withdrawal if the drug is abruptly stopped. Xanax, an intermediate-acting agent, acts more quickly but lasts for a shorter time.

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Both Klonopin and Xanax work by enhancing the release of GABA, which calms down over-active nerves. In general, benzodiazepines work by affecting the brain's neurotransmitters (chemicals released to aid communication between nerves in the brain). GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that calms down nerve activity, and it is thought that over-active nerves may be a contributing factor in anxiety.

Other potential side effects common to both medications include:

There are differences in how Klonopin and Xanax work even though they are both benzodiazepines.

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In general, and depending on the patient's specific needs, Xanax is more ideal for use on an as-needed basis, and Klonopin is better for long-standing anxiety.

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Dependence may accompany addiction, but dependence in and of itself does not equal addiction. Dependence is not the same as addiction, but is a state in which the body adapts to the medication and develops a tolerance (needing more of a drug for a certain effect) and will potentially go into withdrawal (specific physical or mental symptoms, including agitation, tremors, muscle cramping, hallucination, and/ or seizures) if the drug is abruptly stopped. Both Klonopin and Xanax are not without side effects. Xanax has been noted to contribute to more severe withdrawal reactions when stopped abruptly. It is important to note that not all side effects are certain to occur, and not every person experiences side effects. Both drugs can cause dependence, especially when taken at high doses and/or frequently over long periods of time.

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Side effects that are more common to one specific medication are:

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After 6 months of continuous use, over 50% of people may be considered dependent. Some people form a dependence to benzodiazepines after as few as 14 days of regular use. We have already talked about dependence, a risk with both Xanax and Klonopin, especially when they are taken frequently and at high doses.

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For people who suffer from various forms of anxiety and panic disorders, these symptoms are all too familiar. Two common benzodiazepines are clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) and alprazolam (brand name Xanax). Many times, patients will find relief from taking benzodiazepines, a class of medications primarily used to treat anxiety.

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