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Klonopin vs. Valium: What's the difference?
- Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are benzodiazepine class anti-anxiety medications used to treat anxiety, and to treat and/or prevent certain types of seizures.
- Klonopin is also used to treat panic disorder and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
- Valium is also used to treat agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal, for relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery.
- Klonopin is a brand name for clonazepam.
- Valium is a brand name for diazepam.
- Side effects of Klonopin and Valium that are similar include drowsiness/sedation, unsteadiness or loss of balance, sleep problems (insomnia), fatigue, confusion, and rash.
- Side effects of Klonopin that are different from Valium include dizziness, depression, loss of orientation, headache, weakness, lack of inhibition, amnesia, changes in sexual desire, and irritability.
- Side effects of Valium that are different from Klonopin include diarrhea, euphoria, excitability, muscle spasm, rage, speech problems, and double vision.
- Suddenly stopping Klonopin or Valium after prolonged use can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
What are Klonopin and Valium?
Klonopin is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine class. Klonapin is primarily used for treating panic disorder and preventing certain types of seizures, and for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Klonopin and other benzodiazepines enhance the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. Research indicates that excessive activity in the brain may lead to anxiety or other psychiatric disorders.
Valium is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety. Valium is also used to treat agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal, as well as to relieve muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery. Other benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), and Dalmane (flurazepam).
What are the side effects of Klonopin and Valium?
The most common side effects associated with Klonopin are sedation, which is reported in approximately half of patients. Dizziness is reported in one-third of patients.
Other common side effects include:
- A feeling of depression
- Loss of orientation
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of inhibition
- Changes in sexual desire
Other serious side effects of Klonopin include:
- Respiratory depression
- Enlarged liver
- Withdrawal symptoms (if stopped suddenly)
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Blood disorders
Other serious adverse reactions:
Antiepileptic medications have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need for the antiepileptic drug. Patients who begin antiepileptic therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
The most common side effects of Valium are:
Other important side effects include:
- Paradoxical reactions with excitability
- Muscle spasm
- Lack of sleep
- Speech problems
- Double vision
Possible serious side effects include:
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What is the dosage of Klonopin vs. Valium?
The dosage of Klonopin is tailored to the patient's needs.
- For seizures in adults, the initial dose is 1.5 mg daily in 3 divided doses.
- Dosage may be increased by 0.5 to 1 mg daily every 3 days until seizures are controlled or side effects preclude further increases in dose.
- The maximum dose is 20 mg daily. The initial dose for panic disorders is 0.25 mg twice daily.
- The dose may be increased to the target dose of 1 mg daily after 3 days.
- Valium may be taken with or without food.
- Valium is disposed of by the liver and excreted mainly by the kidney. Dosages of Valium may need to be lowered in patients with abnormal kidney function.
- The usual oral Valium dose for anxiety or seizures is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily.
- The usual rectal dose is 0.2-0.5 mg/kg and depends on the age of the patient.
What drugs interact with Klonopin and Valium?
Klonopin, like all other benzodiazepines, accentuates the effects of other drugs that slow the brain's processes -- such as alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics -- leading to increased sedation.
Alcohol or medications that cause sedation may add to the sedative effects of Valium. Patients taking benzodiazepines should avoid such combinations.
The following drugs may prolong the effects of Valium by inhibiting liver enzymes that eliminate diazepam:
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
- ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- itraconazole (Sporanox)
- omeprazole (Prilosec, Rapinex)
- clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- darunavir (Prezista)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
Dosages may need to be decreased when these drugs are used with Valium.
Are Klonopin and Valium safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Klonopin and other benzodiazepines have been associated with fetal damage, including congenital malformations, when taken by pregnant women in their first trimester. Klonopin is best avoided in the first trimester and probably throughout pregnancy.
- Benzodiazepines are secreted in breast milk. Mothers who are breastfeeding should not take Klonopin or other benzodiazepines.
- Benzodiazepines, including Valium, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used during pregnancy.
- Valium is excreted in breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, Valium should not be used by women who are nursing.
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Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are benzodiazepines used in the treatment of anxiety and certain types of seizures. Klonopin is also used to treat panic disorder, while Valium is also used to treat hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal and for sedation during surgery. Learn about the side effects, recommended dosage and main differences between these two drugs.
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.