Drugs Q & A

Clonazepam Vs Alprazolam Which Is Stronger?

What is Clonazepam?

Clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril) is a medication to control certain types of seizures. It is also used to relieve panic attacks (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks). This medication is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug, which is used in the treatment of epileptic seizures. This drug is also used as a treatment for panic attacks, insomnia, and symptoms related to chronic anxiety and anxiety disorders.

Clonazepam was patented in 1964 by the Hoffman La Roche company, at a time when benzodiazepines, in general, were replacing barbiturates as the sedative drug of choice. Klonopin became available for medical prescription in 1975 and was first marketed as a treatment for epileptic seizures.

What is Alprazolam?

Alprazolam (Xanax) is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. Alprazolam was patented in the 1970s, having been developed by J.B. Hester at Upjohn Company (later part of Pfizer, Inc.). In 1981 it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in persons suffering from anxiety or from panic disorder.

Clonazepam Vs Alprazolam Which Is Stronger?

Both clonazepam and alprazolam belong to the same class of drugs called benzodiazepines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

They work by increasing the activity of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is a chemical that sends signals throughout a person’s nervous system. If a person does not have enough GABA, their body may be in an excited state. This may cause them to have panic attacks or seizures. When a person takes this drug, they will have more GABA in their body. This will help them have fewer panic attacks and seizures.

Benzodiazepines aren’t designed as a long-term treatment option. Instead, these medications are prescribed and intended for short-term use for acute symptoms, such as rapid-onset anxiety or panic attacks. This is because tolerance develops with long-term use, meaning that a person needs higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects

However, despite belonging to the same class of drugs, there are specific differences between clonazepam and alprazolam that makes one stronger and more effective than the other when it comes to managing specific conditions.

Clonazepam for instance is specifically used in the treatment of panic disorder and is also effective at controlling seizures.

The effects of Clonazepam last longer than Alprazolam, which means Clonazepam does not need to be taken as frequently throughout the day but alprazolam requires regular dosing to keep blood levels constant.

Both drugs can cause physical and psychological dependence, particularly when taken at higher dosages for longer periods of time; however, more severe withdrawal and rebound reactions have been reported with Alprazolam on discontinuation.

The activity of Alprazolam is affected by race (people of Asian descent achieve higher concentrations and activity of Alprazolam lasts longer), concurrent liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, and obesity.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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