Difference between Xanax and Klonopin

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In the present fast paced world almost everyone is under a certain amount of anxiety. However, it is classified as a disorder if anxiety starts interfering in the routine tasks of a person. It is in this situation that drugs which treat anxiety disorders are prescribed.

About Benzodiazepines:

Benzodiazepines are fast acting anti-anxiety medicines which offer relief from panic attacks or any other symptoms of anxiety disorder within thirty minutes to an hour. Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) both belong to the benzodiazepines class of anti anxiety drugs.

Xanax Vs Klonopin:

  • Alprazolam is marketed under the brand name Xanax while Clonazepam is marketed as Klonopin.
  • Xanax is an anti anxiety drug prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders in addition to depression as a consequence of anxiety. Klonopin is prescribed for panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and associated physical manifestations such as epilepsy, seizures and insomnia.
  • Klonopin was made available in the market as early as the year 1975 as a drug to treat epilepsy while Xanax was marketed much later in the year 1981 as a medication for panic disorder.
  • Xanax stabilizes and slows down the chemicals of the brain that are imbalanced during panic attacks or anxiety. Klonopin also performs the same function though it does it in a slower and subtler manner.
  • One of the significant differences between these drugs is the way in which an individual’s body processes the drugs. Half life of a drug is the time taken to eliminate half of the amount of drug that was ingested from the blood stream. The longer the half time the longer is the effect of the drug on our body. This is where the two drugs act differently. Xanax acts immediately after ingesting, has a faster onset and relives the symptoms of panic attacks instantaneously. However, it has a shorter half time and the calming effect of the drug lasts for a couple of hours only. Klonopin has a longer half time subsequently a slower onset and is effective for a longer duration.
  • This difference makes Xanax to be prescribed for relieving panic attacks as and when needed while Klonopin is used for treating anxiety disorders of a chronic nature.
  • Also Klonopin has a lesser chance of becoming addictive while Xanax has a higher addiction risk. This is a reason why patients are prescribed Klonopin tablets first to treat the anxiety disorders.
  • Xanax is available as tablets of varying dosages and extended release tablets. While patients might need to take these tablets several times a day depending on the symptoms extended release tablets should be used only once a day. However, it is advised not to crush or disintegrate the tablet before ingesting it as the sudden release of the medicine will cause severe side effects. Klonopin is available as tablets and as disintegrating tablets. These tablets can be taken 1 to 3 times a day on the advice of the physician.


Anxiety medications do offer relief from the symptoms of anxiety disorder though it does not clear the problems that underlie the disorder. Both the tablets have numerous side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, lethargy, loss of memory, slurred speech, lack of concentration and many more. With drawal symptoms are also common when the medicines are stopped. The medication need to be weighed for their benefits and drawbacks before deciding on the right one for the individual. However, lifestyle modifications and therapies which help the individual to overcome the disorder should also be undertaken as these medications are not a long term solution.

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