Clonazepam (Klonopin) Vs. Alprazolam (Xanax) | Differences & Similarities

Klonopin and Xanax are both benzodiazepines, but Klonopin is a long-acting benzo while Xanax is a short-acting benzo.

Clonazepam and alprazolam are both benzodiazepines that can produce calming effects and reduce central nervous system activity. Clonazepam is the generic name of Klonopin, while alprazolam is the generic name of Xanax.

Clonazepam has a longer half-life than alprazolam, and the effects last for longer in the body. The effects of Xanax may be stronger than Klonopin, but last for a shorter time on average.

Both are controlled substances with a potential for drug abuse. Abusing either benzodiazepine can have short-term and long-term health effects.

Differences Between Clonazepam & Alprazolam

Klonopin is approved to treat seizure disorders. Xanax may be prescribed to treat seizures, but it is not an official medical use of the drug. Clonazepam has an extended-release formulation, while alprazolam is available in intermediate-release and immediate-release formulations.

It can take about 1 to 4 hours for clonazepam to kick in, compared to about 1 hour for alprazolam. The effects of clonazepam may last for longer (about 12 hours) compared to alprazolam (about 5 hours).

This may include desirable effects such as reduced symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks, but also adverse effects such as drowsiness and impairment. Due to Klonopin’s long duration of action, less frequent dosings may be required to achieve its effects compared to Xanax.

Similarities Between Clonazepam & Alprazolam

Klonopin and Xanax are both in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. They are approved prescription drugs in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Both prescriptions are available as oral tablets.

Klonopin and Xanax can both increase gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA, in the central nervous system. This neurotransmitter can cause sedation, relaxation, and reduced activity in high amounts.

Both benzodiazepines may only be recommended for short-term use. Three or more months of continuous use, which may be considered long-term use, may increase the risk of serious side effects.

Side Effects Of Klonopin & Alprazolam

Alprazolam and clonazepam can have common side effects when taken, including:

  • sedation
  • drowsiness
  • impairment
  • lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • memory problems
  • suicidal thoughts

Both drugs can have interactions with similar prescription medications. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can increase the CNS depressant effects of benzodiazepines. Mixing Klonopin or Xanax with opioids can cause life-threatening respiratory depression in previously safe doses.

Abuse Potential

Both Klonopin and Xanax are schedule IV controlled substances. They have a potential for substance abuse for people taking them with or without a prescription. Klonopin and Xanax may be abused for their sedative effects, and have similar adverse effects when abused.

Both substances can cause a state of dependency, where a person may feel unable to function without the drug in their system. Attempting to quit in this state can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms of both Klonopin and Xanax may include:

  • rebound anxiety
  • drug cravings
  • blurry vision
  • weight loss
  • insomnia

Treatment Options For Clonazepam & Alprazolam Abuse

Treating chronic benzodiazepine abuse may vary depending on the patient’s severity and history of drug use, though methods may be consistent between providers. Potential treatment options include a detox program, behavioral and mental health services, and aftercare planning.

Contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center to see if our benzodiazepine use treatment program works for you or your loved one.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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