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Re: klonopin vs xanax

Posted by lostsailor on January 16, 2003, at 10:44:45

In reply to Re: klonopin vs xanax proud mary, posted by comftnumb on January 16, 2003, at 2:07:51

I think I can help a bit here. I am a person that has suffered from GAD and Panic Disorder now for about 7 years and has remained on benzodiazapines virtually continuously for all of those years.

Basically, the family of this medication can be broken down into three main categories depending on the "half-life " of the medication and are at times divided even further. 1) Short acting benzos--xanax and ativan are decent examples. 2) mid-length--Klonopin and 3)long-lasting--valium.

During the past years the ssris and newer meds have not totally alleviated my panic and anxiety prob, though they have helped. Also, while marketed as a salvation and alternative to benzos there is now evidence of a withdrawal syndrome
similar to the benzo family.

I began taking a Prozac and a low dose of xanax as needed in the mid 1990s as directed by my primary care doc. While somewhat helpful I needed a dose that my doc thought indicated a referral to a psychiatrist for work up and consult was in order.
It was then that the words Panic Disorder changed from my description of just the attacks.

Dr M (e.g., my shrink), explained that while xanax is a great med for short-term issues klonopin was a better choice b/c it lasts in your body longer, produces less of a "euphoric" feeling and in general is more politically correct to prescribe. I was also started on paxil and stopped prozac.

While klonopin did help it was not as effective as xanax and it "seemed" that it intensified depressive feelings so we agreed that xnanx was perhaps the better choice for me at the time.

A year or two later, I began to despise carrying xanax everywhere I went. When a "short-acting" benzo wears off, you know it (xanax is like the american express card of the benzo family "don't leave home without it") and asked to go back on klonopin again. And again klonopin "seemed" to cause an increase in feelings of depression but did lessen the amount of daily doses I required.

Being sick of carrying xanax and not having great results with klonopin, doc suggested trying Valium, which proved to be effective.

During the interim, doc and I discussed benzo addiction (which I was terrified of) and Dependence. Doc emphatically emphasized that the distinction is made by the method of use and "drug seeking behavior" in the eyes of the clinician. While it was true that I was physically dependent on benzos he stressed, to help minimize my fears, that addiction--per say--would mean A) using the drug in a fashion to get high B) elevation in the dose required C) the method of obtaining the drug...calling for refills with the excuse of losing them, dog eating, finding other docs to write duplicate scripts, ect or buying them in the street.

I now switch for valium when doing "well" with panic and needing to take it only twice a day which is great and switch to xanax (taken 3 or 4 times a day) when panic is very elevated until it is back in control for a while and then switch back to valium again.

I also take an ssri or ssnri at all times and a mood stabilizer. For many, esp. those with prior or coexisting abuse of drugs or alcohol, the benzo family can be tragic if misused. For others, myself inc, they are a blessing that I cant describe for I would rather be dependent on a benzo than have panic attacks galore. I guess I feel bad that there are such stereotypes involved with this medication family and feel sorry for those who have docs that withhold an effective treatment option due to political corrective ness




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