How Does Benzodiazepine Work For Anxiety
Benzos do their job by affecting the gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, receptors within the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that works by sending messages throughout the spinal cord and the brain. When benzos are taken, it inhibits or slows down those messages from being sent and relaxes your system.
Benzos are very fast acting and relieve symptoms of anxiety in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, this also means they are typically only prescribed for the short term and used in emergent situations. That is why they are so helpful when anxiety or panic attacks arise because they can calm you dont and stop it within minutes.
Drug Interactions Of Ativan Vs Xanax
Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan and Xanax, should not be taken in combination with opioid painkillers, due to increased risk of sedation, respiratory depression, and overdose, possibly leading to death. If no other combination is possible, the patient should receive the drugs at the lowest possible dose and for the shortest duration, and be closely monitored. Benzodiazepines also should not be taken with other CNS depressants such as alcohol, antipsychotics, antidepressants, sedating antihistamines, and anticonvulsants.
An especially dangerous combination, nicknamed the holy trinity, is an opioid plus a benzodiazepine plus Soma . These drugs should never be prescribed together the use of these three medications can result in very serious respiratory depression, overdose, or even death.
Other drug interactions may occur. Consult your healthcare provider for a full list of drug interactions.
List Of Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are drugs prescribed to treat anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and insomnia. Theyre often abused because of their sedative-hypnotic properties and the pleasurable sense of relaxation they can produce.
There are many types of benzodiazepines. Some are stronger than others, and some last longer. Which one a doctor prescribes depends on your personal needs.
The strength of a benzodiazepine depends on its potency as well as its half-life. Half-life is how long it takes for your body to metabolize and excrete half of the drug dose.
Long-acting benzodiazepines take effect gradually and stay in your system for a prolonged period. Theyre typically prescribed for anxiety.
Short-acting benzodiazepines take effect quickly but dont last as long. Theyre often prescribed for insomnia .
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Do Benzodiazepines Affect Other Medication
Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking before you start to take benzodiazepines. This includes any supplements or herbal medicines you take. Benzodiazepines can react with other types of medication and cause more side effects such as extra tiredness or low blood pressure. Medication that can react with benzodiazepines includes:
Are There Any Side Effects
Not everyone who takes benzodiazepines will get side effects. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about side effects.
You should only be prescribed benzodiazepines for the shortest amount of time possible. Taking benzodiazepines regularly for a few weeks or more can lead to addiction. Doctors recommend that you only take them for 2-4 weeks.
Intermittent use may help to avoid addiction. Intermittent means that you dont take it regularly. For example, you dont take it every day.
The risk of addiction is higher if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Or if you have a personality disorder.
Common side effects
- Hallucinations. This is when you see, her, smell or feel things that are not there.
- Delusions. This is where you have beliefs that dont match reality
When will withdrawal side effects stop?
Your withdrawal side effects will usually stop after a few weeks. But they can last longer for a small amount of people. You may not get withdrawal side effects when you stop your benzodiazepine medication.
You should talk to your doctor or local pharmacist if you are worried about the withdrawal effects of benzodiazepines.
Is there anything that can help with my symptoms through withdrawal?
Antidepressant and mood stabilizing drugs may help with the withdrawal effects of benzodiazepines.
If you have insomnia you may benefit from treatment with melatonin.
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Risks And Dangers Of Use
Aside from addiction, benzodiazepine dependence carries with it a host of adverse health effects and dangers. These include:
- Alzheimers disease and dementia
- birth defects
- sexual assault
Like all forms of drug use, individuals who use benzodiazepines frequently experience an extreme loss of quality of life. In many cases, the need to use the drug becomes so extreme that it overrules a persons desire to take care of their family or fulfill other obligations, such as those relating to work or school.
Benzodiazepine use has been linked to increased risks of suicide and suicidal ideation . Chronic use of these drugs may change a persons ability to feel emotions. Some people struggle to feel any emotions at all, a state referred to as emotional anesthesia.
Prolonged benzodiazepine use can cause some very problems the drugs are designed to treat. When a physically-dependent person quits benzodiazepines, withdrawal can set in. In certain cases, withdrawal may last for several months. This is called post-acute withdrawal syndrome . Individuals facing PAWS experience anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Acute withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs can become very dangerous, to the extent that professional treatment is necessary . Certain individuals may experience withdrawal so severe that their life is in jeopardy. In these instances, withdrawal may cause seizures or delirium tremens.
Drug Interactions Of Klonopin Vs Ativan
Klonopin and Ativan can interact with other drugs that cause similar effects. Taking narcotics or opioids with benzodiazepines can increase side effects such as sedation, drowsiness, and, in severe cases, slowed breathing, coma, and death.
Benzodiazepines can interact with other CNS depressant drugs such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anesthetics, barbiturates, and other sedatives. Using these drugs together can increase side effects such as drowsiness and sedation.
Because Klonopin and Ativan are processed in the liver, they should be avoided or monitored with other drugs that are processed in the same way. Liver enzyme inhibitors include erythromycin, ketoconazole, and ritonavir which can increase the level of benzodiazepines in the body and increase their side effects. Liver enzyme inducers include carbamazepine and phenytoin which can decrease the level of benzodiazepines in the body.
*This may not be a complete list of all possible drug interactions. Consult a doctor with all medications you may be taking.
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Warnings Of Ativan And Xanax
Ativan and Xanax have many similar warnings. Both drugs come with a boxed warning, which is the strongest warning required by the FDA. Benzodiazepines such as Ativan or Xanax should not be used in combination with opioid painkillers due to the risk of extreme sedation, severe respiratory depression, coma, or even death. If the combination cannot be avoided, the patient should take the lowest dose for the shortest period of time and be closely monitored. Patients should not drive or operate machinery until effects are known.
Other warnings for both drugs include:
Xanax has some additional warnings:
- Patients with panic disorder often use higher doses of Xanax, so there may be a higher risk of dependence.
- Early morning anxiety or anxiety symptoms between doses have occurred in patients with panic disorder. In these situations, it is recommended that the drug be given in smaller doses, more frequently, adding up to the same total daily dose.
Ativan or Xanax should not be used in pregnancy both drugs are classified as pregnancy category D, meaning there is a risk to the fetus. If you are taking Ativan or Xanax and find out that you are pregnant, consult your doctor immediately.
Both drugs are on the Beers List . Older adults have increased sensitivity to benzodiazepines and there is an increased risk of cognitive impairment, delirium, falls, fractures, and motor vehicle crashes in older adults when Ativan or Xanax is used.
List Of Commonly Abused Benzodiazepines From Strongest To Weakest
Stronger benzodiazepines are more commonly abused than weaker ones because they have a more intense effect. Some people prefer fast-acting benzos that hit their system quickly. Others prefer a longer-lasting high.
High-potency, long-acting benzodiazepines are the strongest:
- Clonazepam : Clonazepam is prescribed to treat panic disorders and some seizure disorders. It can help reduce the occurrence and severity of panic attacks and anxiety.
- Flunitrazepam : Flunitrazepam has the same potency as lorazepam , but lasts longer. Its illegal in the United States but has a reputation as a date-rape drug because its primarily abused to sedate people without their knowledge.
High-potency, long-acting benzodiazepines are also strong but dont last as long:
- Triazolam : Triazolam is prescribed for short-term insomnia relief. It slows brain activity, so you can relax and go to sleep.
- Alprazolam : Alprazolam treats anxiety disorders and panic attacks by reducing abnormal brain excitement. Its one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety and also one of the most abused.
- Lorazepam : Lorazepam is an anxiolytic drug prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, and certain types of seizures. Its also used in combination with anesthesia before surgery.
Low-potency, long-acting benzodiazepines are weaker but still have a prolonged effect:
- Flurazepam : Flurazepam treats insomnia by reducing brain activity. Its typically prescribed only for short-term use.
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What Is The Strongest Short
Alprazolam is another benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety. It is listed on the same table of benzodiazepines as clonazepam.
For this reason, alprazolam is the strongest short-acting benzodiazepine prescribed by doctors because it stays in the body for less than 26 hours.
Lorazepam is ranked next since it has a half-life of 20 hours, and triazolam follows suit with a half-life of just five hours.
The Risks Of Dependence After Benzo Use
The biggest risk associated with benzos is dependence, abuse, and addiction. Some people may develop a dependence without doing it on purpose. Over time, your body becomes adjusted to having it in your system. This may cause you to take higher doses to achieve the same effect. Other people abuse and become addicted to benzos in order to feel high.
According to NIH:
Among past-year benzodiazepine misusers, 46.3% reported that the motivation for their most recent misuse was to relax or relieve tension, followed by helping with sleep . About 5.7% reported experimentation as their main motivation for misuse, and 11.8% reported using them to get high or because of being hooked.
These numbers are very high and alarming, but no matter why you have become dependent upon benzodiazepines, there is help available to get you off of them.
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Excessive Sedation & Overdose
Like most prescription drugs, benzodiazepines can have side effects, such as drowsiness, muscle weakness, and memory problems. They can cause excessive sedation that interferes with everyday life. These unpleasant effects are more likely to occur with drug abuse.
Abusing benzodiazepines also increases the risk of overdose, especially if you combine them with other CNS depressants, like alcohol or opioids.
What Are The Main Differences Between Klonopin Vs Ativan
Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam. It is used to treat panic disorder and seizures. Klonopin stays in the body relatively long with a half-life of 30 to 40 hours. This means that a person can still feel the lingering effects of Klonopin for some time after its taken.
Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam. It can be used to treat anxiety and seizures. The injectable form can also be used for anesthesia before certain procedures. Ativan has a half-life of around 20 hours in the body.
|Main differences between Klonopin vs. Ativan|
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Are Withdrawal Symptoms More Severe With Xanax
Yes. Reviews suggest discontinuation from Xanax is particularly difficult and is associated with more serious rebound and withdrawal symptoms.5 Compared to Klonopin, Xanax has a much shorter half-life .4,5,6 Half-life is a technical term for the time it takes for 50% of an administered drug to leave your body it is not the same as duration of effect. The blood levels of drugs with longer half-lives tend to remain relatively more constant in the body, and tend to cause much less severe withdrawal symptoms than dramatic fluctuations seen with benzodiazepines with a shorter half-life such as Xanax.
Withdrawal symptoms may include agitation, convulsions, hallucinations, tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps. More severe withdrawal symptoms are likely in people who have taken larger dosages over an extended period of time.
Do Xanax And Ativan Have Risks Of Dependence Addiction And Overdose
In short, yes. This is a main reason why its recommended to only use these medications temporarily when possible.
Its possible to develop dependence, addiction, and tolerance while taking Xanax and Ativan. This means you may feel the need to take more pills over time to function normally. And when you stop taking them, you may feel symptoms of withdrawal.
Long-term use of either Xanax or Ativan carries the risk of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them, such as:
Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
Thats why neither should be used long-term, if possible. You and your healthcare provider should regularly check in to see if the medication is working and if you need to continue taking it.
But, its also important that you dont stop taking Xanax or Ativan abruptly, especially if you take it every day. Instead, your healthcare provider can assist you with lowering your daily dose slowly over time until you no longer take the medication.
Its also possible to have too much Xanax or Ativan in your system, and this can lead to overdose symptoms. These symptoms are usually severe. Specific overdose symptoms vary, but they usually include:
Severe drowsiness or dizziness
Low blood pressure
Certain factors may also raise your risk for having a benzodiazepine overdose. For instance, an overdose may be more likely to happen if you also have substances like opioids or alcohol in your system.
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What Is The Strongest Benzodiazepine For Anxiety
Benzodiazepines, are a class of psychoactive drugs used for things like anxiety and seizures. What is the strongest one for anxiety?
One of the most prescribed medications and one of the most addictive on the market are benzodiazepines. While it is prescribed for several things, like seizures and sleep disorders, it is most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are mostly used for their tranquilizing and anti-anxiety effects, but they are also abused for the same reason.
Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Klonopin Vs Ativan
Generic Klonopin is usually covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of Klonopin is about $241. With a SingleCare discount card, you can save on generic Klonopin and pay around $10.
Generic Ativan is usually covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of Ativan is about $21. With a SingleCare discount card, you can save on generic Ativan and pay around $7.
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