Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) are both benzodiazepine medications that are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
While both Klonopin and Xanax may be used to treat symptoms of anxiety, there are differences in how long they work and may be prescribed to treat other medical conditions.
When a person mixes these two benzodiazepine medications together, it can cause dangerous combined and deadly side effects.
Taking Xanax and Klonopin together increases the risks for overdose, adverse drug effects, loss of consciousness, and death.
How Xanax And Klonopin Affect The Brain And Body
Benzos slow down activity in the central nervous system and are commonly used to treat medical conditions including anxiety, seizure disorder, and alcohol withdrawal.
The calming and sedative effects produced by benzodiazepines are caused by how the medications increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits activity in the central nervous system.
Abuse of these medications can lead to drug addiction and permanent damage to an individual’s health.
Side Effects Of Mixing Xanax And Klonopin
People who use Xanax and Klonopin in combination with one another may do so to enhance the effects of each drug.
Others may accidentally take both medications without being aware of the dangers that come with mixing benzodiazepines.
Since both drugs belong to the same drug class and are similar medications, abusing both drugs together will enhance their sedative, relaxant, and tranquilizing effects.
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Mixing benzodiazepine medications and other central nervous system depressants greatly increases an individual’s risk of adverse side effects and overdose.
The main difference between these drugs is how the drugs are metabolized. Klonopin lasts longer than Xanax, while Xanax has a shorter half-life and provides faster effects.
Effects Of Benzodiazepine Drug Abuse
Both benzodiazepine medications may cause physical dependence, addiction, drowsiness, sedation, fatal overdose, and death. When taken together these dangerous side effects are amplified.
Both of these medications may cause the following side effects:
- abdominal distress
- allergic reaction
- changes in appetite
- memory impairment
- vision impairment
- dry mouth
- slurred speech
Xanax And Klonopin Drug Interactions
The current medical recommended number of prescribed benzodiazepines is only one medication per class of drugs or category.
When one or more medications from the same drug category or class are used to treat a medical condition, it can lead to therapeutic duplication.
Therapeutic duplication is the unintentional prescribing of similar medications to treat the same condition. This can happen when a person has seen more than one doctor, or has not informed their physician of prescription medication usage.
Taking two benzodiazepine medications together increases blood concentration levels of drugs that suppress activity in the brain and central nervous system.
Therapeutic duplication of benzodiazepines may lead to dangerous sedation, overdose, coma, and death.
These side effects may occur when taking these medications with other drugs that depress the central nervous system, like alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics.
Overdose Risk When Mixing Xanax and Klonopin
Taking high doses of benzodiazepines or taking multiple benzodiazepine tranquilizers enhances the risk of developing a severe overdose. People who overdose on these medications may become suddenly responsive.
Overdoses caused by Xanax alone are increasingly common in the United States. Dangerous side effects, including hypotension, coma, and death, may result when mixing Xanax and Klonopin.
People who overdose on Xanax and Klonopin may experience:
- respiratory depression
- poor coordination
- blurred vision
- hypotension (low blood pressure)
Doctors will prescribe low doses of benzodiazepine medications for short durations to avoid risks of chemical dependency, addiction, and overdose.
Withdrawal from these medications can be life-threatening.
Treating Xanax And Klonopin Addiction
Addiction treatment for Klonopin and Xanax drug abuse must address the independent and combined side effects of both drugs and potential symptoms of panic disorder to prevent relapse. Further, treatment must support safe detox and management of withdrawal symptoms.
Effective drug treatment programs for polydrug substance abuse are designed to support a person safely towards rehabilitation.
This helps ensure the addicted individual has access to medical advice and a network of support services that includes healthcare and necessary mental health services.
Due to the severe risks associated with Xanax and Klonopin drug abuse, people who use these substances together should seek treatment.
Without medical support and intervention, people who become addicted to these substances remain at high risk of overdose and other dangerous side effects.
If you or someone you know has a Xanax or Klonopin addiction, or if you have questions about the treatment programs available for this substance use disorder, please connect with a specialist today.
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- International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research — A Case Report on Therapeutic Duplication of Benzodiazepines
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Benzodiazepine usage and patient preference for alternative therapies: A descriptive study
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Challenges of the pharmacological management of benzodiazepine withdrawal, dependence, and discontinuation