Klonopin and Xanax are medications, which are primarily used to treat anxiety disorders. The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be emotional and physical. Emotional symptoms include anxiety, fear, and irritability. Physical symptoms are:
- Intermittent breathing;
- Intestinal issues;
- Tremors and twitching;
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Sleep problems and fatigue.
The treatment of anxiety disorders presupposes drug therapy. The doctors usually prescribe Klonopin or Xanax to treat such problems. But what is the difference between these medications?
The active actual substance of Klonopin is Clonozepam. It belongs to the group of derivatives of benzodiazepines. It has a dampening effect on many of the structures of the central nervous system, primarily related to the regulation of emotional activity.
The drug Klonopin has a soothing and moderate hypnotic action; also, it lowers the tonus of skeletal muscles. It increases the seizure threshold and prevents the occurrence of generalized convulsive attacks. It influences favorably on both generalized and focal epileptic attacks. Klonopin is well absorbed from the digestive tract and is excreted mainly with urine.
Klonopin contains lactose. If the patient has lactose intolerance, the patient should inform the doctor before taking this medication.
The active substance of Xanax is Alprazolam. Xanax is a muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant remedy. It stimulates benzodiazepine receptors, promotes GABA liberation and its participation in synaptic transmission. There are some contraindications to the administration of Xanax, here they are:
- Psychotic depressive disorders;
- Pregnancy (especially I trimester);
- Children of 18 years;
- Thyroid disease.
How do These Medications Work?
Xanax as well as Klonopin is the central nervous system (CNS) depressants and both medications are classified as benzodiazepines. They have an impact on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that is the main neurotransmitter in the brain. This makes the nerve impulses slow down throughout the body and leads to the sedating and calming effect. Both Xanax and Klonopin are accessible only with a doctor’s prescription.
Who should Take Xanax and Klonopin?
Both drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks. There are two radical departures between these medications: The first one is that Klonopin is prescribed to treat seizure disorders (like tremors, multiple sclerosis (MS), Tourette syndrome and spasticity). The second one is that Klonopin acts for a few hours, while Xanax has a longer period of duration of action.
There are some side effects, which can be caused by Xanax and Klonopin. For most people, these side effects are taken in stride. They tend to happen at the early stage of administration of the medications and disappear as soon as the organism gets used to the drugs. The most common side effects are drowsiness and delirium.
It should be taken into account that these drugs can affect the ability to drive a vehicle. If the person feels dizzy or sleepy, he/she must not drive or operate with the dangerous equipment. This effect may persist until the next day. The clinical studies have shown the increased risk of traffic accidents for people, who take Xanax or Klonopin.
The administration of Xanax and Klonopin may cause:
- Dryness of the mouth;
- Problems with eyesight;
- Slowed breathing;
- Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite;
- Constipation and diarrhea.
The prolonged administration or overdose of benzodiazepines can also cause:
- Extreme drowsiness;
- Problems with motor coordination;
- Muscular weakness;
- Impaired mentation and memory;
- Confusion of consciousness and disorientation.
The administration of medications is always connected with some risks, and benzodiazepines are no exception. It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to these medications. The obvious symptoms of the allergic reaction are hives, itching, or skin rash. The effectiveness and safety of Xanax have not been established in children. The action may be more powerful or longer lasting for older people.
Addiction and Withdrawal
Even though benzodiazepines can be very helpful, they are habit-forming drugs. If you take them daily for several weeks or longer, you may develop an addiction to them. This means that your organism adjusts to them and you may need a gradual increasing of the dose for the same effect. This also means that you will experience withdrawal — physical or psychological symptoms — if you suddenly stop taking them.
Symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Rapid heart rate;
- Increasing anxiety.
For this reason, you should talk to your doctor, if you want to reduce your dose or discontinue the administration of the medication. Your doctor can work with you to help you slowly taper off the medication.
Both Xanax and Klonopin are CNS depressants. The administration of the additional CNS depressants can intensify the action of the medications’ effect. Be attentive and do not mix Xanax and Klonopin with:
- Sedatives and sleeping pills;
- Tranquilizers and mood stabilizers;
- Muscle relaxants;
- Seizure medications;
- Pain-relieving medications;
Mixing these substances is very dangerous and can cause loss of consciousness. This can be fatal.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The administration of Klonopin and Xanax during pregnancy may cause harm to your baby. Your baby can also develop an addiction to the medication when born and will require treatment. Both medications can also pass into the breast milk and may cause drowsiness, slowed heartbeat, and breathing problems in nursing infants.
Xanax vs. Klonopin. Which medication is better?
If you have such problems as anxiety disorders, discuss with your doctor all the pros and cons of each medication. It’s hard to determine in advance, which medication will be the most effective in each individual case. Your doctor will recommend you the best one according to your symptoms and medical history. If the first choice doesn’t work, you can move on to the next.
Xanax is not an effective treatment for tremor, seizures, or spasticity. If you have MS, epilepsy, or another illness that causes these symptoms, Klonopin may be a treatment option.