Medical

Difference Between Klonopin and Xanax

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Main Difference

The main difference between Klonopin and Xanax is that Klonopin contains clonazepam and Xanax contains alprazolam.

Klonopin vs. Xanax

Klonopin is the brand name of clonazepam, and Xanax is the brand name of alprazolam. Klonopin has a half-life of 22-54 hrs, and Xanax has a half-life of 6-25 hrs. Klonopin treats seizures and Xanax cannot treat seizures.

Klonopin is given 0.25mg to adults for anxiety two times a day, and Xanax is given 0.25mg-5mg to adults for anxiety three times a day. Klonopin is given 0.25mg to adults for panic disorders two times a day and Xanax can be given more than 4mg per day for panic disorders. Klonopin is used for the treatment of seizures and Xanax is not used for the treatment of seizures rather, its withdrawal leads to seizures.

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Klonopin is classified under anxiolytics/antiepileptics, and Xanax is classified under anxiolytics. Klonopin is used in combination with SSRIs for depression, and Xanax is used for the treatment of depression although it can be used in combination with other antidepressants. Klonopin’s long-term use leads to physiological dependence, and Xanax’s long-term use leads to physical and emotional dependence.

Klonopin withdrawal symptoms include seizures, muscle pain/cramps, hallucinations, stomach cramps, tremors, and unusual behaviors, and Xanax withdrawal symptoms include vomiting, aggression, muscle pain/cramps mood swings, headache, sweating, tremors, and seizures. Klonopin onset of action is within 1 hr, and Xanax onset of action is around about 1 hr. Klonopin has a duration of action of 6-12 hrs, and Xanax has a duration of action of 5hrs.

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Comparison Chart

KlonopinXanax
Brand of clonazepamBrand of alprazolam
Drug class
BenzodiazepinesBenzodiazepines
Mechanism
Modulators on GABA receptorsModulators on GABA receptors
Receptors
GABA receptorsGABA receptors
Peak plasma concentration Time
1-41-2
Dose frequency
LessMore
Duration of action
MoreLess
Maximum available strength
2mg3mg
Adverse effects
Drowsiness

Dizziness

Unsteadiness,

Loss of orientation,

Sleep disturbances

Sleep problems

Memory Problems

Slurred speech

Drowsiness

Withdrawal symptoms
Muscle pain/cramps, Hallucinations, Stomach cramps, Tremors, and Unusual behaviorsVomiting, Aggression, Muscle pain/cramps, Mood swings, sweating, tremors, and seizures
Major Therapeutic uses
Treats seizures

Treat Panic attacks

Treats anxiety

Treats anxiety

Treat Panic attacks

Treats depression

Contraindications
Suicidal thoughts

Glaucoma

Porphyria

Suicidal thoughts

Glaucoma

Overweight

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is classified as Benzodiazepine and contains clonazepam as the active therapeutic agent. Klonopin is used for both the prevention and treatment of different disorders, including panic disorders, akathisia, and certain types of seizures. The onset of pharmacological actions of Klonopin is within one hour, and its duration of action is between 6-12 hours. Klonopin is found unusually potent to antagonize the effects of seizures induced by pentylenetetrazole.

Klonopin also suppresses kindled seizures spread and generalized convulsions, which are mostly produced by stimulation of the amygdala. Klonopin cannot abolish the abnormal discharge at the amygdala. Klonopin shows its therapeutic actions primarily by modulating the function of GABA in the brain. Klonopin does not replace GABA. Klonopin does not have any effect on GABA levels, but it affects glutamate decarboxylase activity. Klonopin enhances the effect of GABA at GABAA receptors.

Klonopin increases the chloride ion opening frequency, which leads to depression of the CNS. Furthermore, Klonopin decreases the capacity of neurons to utilize the 5-HT(serotonin). Klonopin is involved in inhibiting the synaptic transmission across CNS. Klonopin is lipophilic and crosses BBB and placental membrane barriers. The metabolites of Klonopin are inactive. Only 2% of the drug is excreted unchanged in the urine.

Cytochrome P450 is responsible for the metabolism of Klonopin via nitroreduction. Klonopin has a 19-60 hrs elimination half-life depending upon the availability of Cytochrome P450. The peak plasma concentration of Klonopin is reached in 1-2 hrs, but in some patients, it may take 4-8 hrs. This is the reason behind different plasma concentrations of drugs in different patients.

The most severe side effects of Klonopin are motor impairment and sedation. There are some less common side effects like irritability, lack of motivation, dizziness, loss of libido, hallucinations, anterograde-amnesia, especially when a high dose of Klonopin is consumed. Occasionally seen side effects of Klonopin are dysphoria, thrombocytopenia, behavioral disturbances. Rare side effects of Klonopin are suicidal thoughts, liver damage, and excitement. Long-term oral use of Klonopin causes drowsiness and lethargy.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is classified as Benzodiazepine and contains Alprazolam as the active therapeutic agent. Xanax is among the short-acting Benzodiazepine. Xanax is widely used as an anxiolytic and has replaced a number of drugs that were used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia like barbiturates and meprobamate classes. Xanax is both a safe and effective anxiolytic. Xanax is used both in panic disorders for anxiety and in generalized anxiety disorders.

Xanax also has some other therapeutic actions, and for them, it is used in some other medical problems like it is used in chemotherapy-induced nausea along with other drugs in combination. It takes a week to cure generalized anxiety disorders. Xanax is taken by mouth. Xanax targets GABAA receptors and thus modulates the GABA effects by binding to a highly specific site. Xanax binds to GABAA receptors, then the chloride channel opens, and chloride gains entry into the cell. This causes resistance to depolarisation.

So, Xanax has a depressing effect on synaptic transmission, and by this mechanism, Xanax reduces anxiety. Xanax is well absorbed orally. 80% of taken Xanax binds to plasma protein. The peak plasma concentration of Xanax is reached after 1-2 hrs. The metabolism of Xanax occurs in the liver and mostly by the Cytochrome P450 enzyme. After metabolism, Xanax produces two active metabolites. The metabolites and some unchanged drug is filtered by the kidney and excreted in the urine.

Xanax shows multiple unwanted effects like dry mouth, jaundice, respiratory depression, slurred speech, concentration problems, agitation, hallucinations, urinary retention, mania, and ataxia. Xanax intake during pregnancy may lead to congenital abnormalities. Xanax intake in the last trimester causes drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms in newborns. Xanax overdose can cause severe CNS depression.

Key Differences

  1. Klonopin has clonazepam as an active therapeutic agent on the other hand Xanax has alprazolam as an active therapeutic agent.
  2. Klonopin’s chemical formula is C15H10ClN3O3 on the flip side Xanax’s chemical formula is C17H3ClN
  3. Klonopin treats anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures whereas Xanax treats anxiety, panic disorders, and depression.
  4. Klonopin has a half-life of 22-54 hrs conversely, Xanax has a half-life of 6-25 hrs.
  5. Klonopin is prescribed 0.25mg to adults for anxiety two times a day, on the contrary, Xanax is prescribed 0.25mg-5mg to adults for anxiety three times a day.
  6. Klonopin is included under anxiolytics/ antiepileptics on the flip side Xanax is included under anxiolytics
  7. Klonopin is used in combination with SSRIs for depression, on the other hand, Xanax is used for the treatment of depression although it can be used in combination with other antidepressants.
  8. Klonopin shows its pharmacological actions within 1 hr, and Xanax shows its pharmacological actions in a round about 1 hr.
  9. Klonopin,s duration of action of 6-12 hrs, and Xanax’s duration of action of 5hrs.
  10. Klonopin is prescribed 0.25mg to adults for panic disorders two times a day, whereas Xanax can be given more than 4mg per day for panic disorders.
  11. Klonopin can be used in patients who are overweight conversely Xanax cannot be used in patients who are overweight
  12. Klonopin’s maximum available strength is 2 mg, whereas Xanax’s maximum available strength is 3 mg.
  13. Klonopin cannot be used in porphyria on the other hand Xanax can be used in porphyria
  14. Klonopin dosing is less frequent on the contrary, Xanax dosing is more frequent.

Conclusion

The conclusion of the above discussion is that both Klonopin and Xanax belong to Benzodiazepines and are prescribed for different anxiety and seizures problems.

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Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White