Librium vs Klonopin – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Librium

It is the brand name of a medication called chlordiazepoxide, which is part of a family of medications known as benzodiazepines.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat symptoms of anxiety, anxiety disorders, and withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism. Moreover, chlordiazepoxide is used to treat anxiety prior to surgery.

The US Food and Drug Administration first approved this drug in 1960. It is produced by ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc, a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Laval.

Mechanism of Action

This medication works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation.

Contraindications

Before taking this medication, tell your healthcare provider:

  • if you have a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system;
  • if you take a blood thinner such as warfarin;
  • if you take a narcotic medication.

Dosage

For anxiety, the usual recommended dosage is 5 mg or 10 mg, 3 or 4 times a day.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Do not take this benzodiazepine if you’re pregnant or plan to fall pregnant since it can harm an unborn baby.

This benzodiazepine may pass into breast milk and negatively affect a breastfed infant. Therefore, do not use it while breastfeeding a baby.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • confusion;
  • loss of balance or coordination.

Less common side effects may include:

  • drooping eyelids;
  • worsened sleep problems;
  • aggression;
  • severe drowsiness;
  • red or swollen gums;
  • thoughts of suicide;
  • upper stomach pain;
  • unusual changes in mood;
  • fever (high temperature);
  • trouble swallowing;
  • sore throat;
  • anger;
  • muscle weakness;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • mouth sores;
  • dark urine;
  • sudden restless feeling.
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Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Ativan (lorazepam);
  • Effexor (venlafaxine);
  • methadone;
  • Abilify (aripiprazole);
  • Norco (acetaminophen/hydrocodone);
  • hydrochlorothiazide;
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone);
  • Ambien (zolpidem);
  • Lamictal (lamotrigine);
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • Prozac (fluoxetine);
  • Lexapro (escitalopram);
  • Valium (diazepam);
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine);
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • Seroquel (quetiapine);
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine).

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this benzodiazepine since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Klonopin

It is the brand name of a drug called clonazepam, which is part of a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

The US Food and Drug Administration first approved this medication in 1975. It is produced by the Roche drug company, a Swiss multinational company which operates worldwide.

Uses

This prescription medication is used for the treatment of:

  • epilepsy;
  • mania;
  • anxiety disorders;
  • panic disorders;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • social phobia.

Mechanism of Action

It works by acting on nerve cells in the brain.

Contraindications

To make sure that this benzodiazepine is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • open-angle glaucoma;
  • liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease);
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • kidney disease;
  • if you use a narcotic medication;
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction;
  • a history of suicidal thoughts or behavior;
  • asthma or other breathing disorder.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with many other medications which work in your brain and nervous system, including:

  • anti-anxiety medications;
  • sleeping pills;
  • drugs used to treat fungal infections, such as – ketoconazole and itraconazole (Sporanox);
  • drugs used to treat seizures, such as – phenobarbital or phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • HIV/AIDS medications, such as – nelfinavir or ritonavir (Norvir);
  • drugs used to treat depression, including tricyclic antidepressants and certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors;
  • certain antibiotics, like – erythromycin and clarithromycin (Biaxin);
  • muscle relaxants;
  • calcium channel blockers, like – verapamil and diltiazem (Cardizem);
  • narcotic pain medications;
  • cimetidine (Tagamet);
  • drugs used to treat mental illness, such as butyrophenones;
  • the irregular heartbeat drug amiodarone.
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Addiction

Unlike other similar medications, this benzodiazepine is less likely to promote long-term dependency.

However, when a patient stops taking this medication abruptly, he may experience some withdrawal symptoms. Hence, it should be gradually discontinued by decreasing the dose by 0.125 mg every 3 days.

Dosage

The usual recommended dosage for panic disorder is 1.0 mg a day. In addition, it is used in conjunction with fluoxetine.

The maximum recommended dosage is 4 mg per day.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is dangerous to take this benzodiazepine during pregnancy since there is strong evidence that it may increase the risk of birth defects.

This benzodiazepine is not safe to take while breastfeeding a baby. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about other options.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this benzodiazepine since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness;
  • loss of interest in sex;
  • decreased appetite;
  • nervousness;
  • fatigue;
  • memory loss;
  • depression;
  • increased saliva;
  • upper respiratory congestion or infection;
  • muscle aches;
  • constipation;
  • frequent urination;
  • blurred vision.

Less common side effects may include:

  • worsening depression;
  • lack of motivation;
  • thoughts of suicide;
  • mental confusion;
  • impaired motor function;
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue;
  • trouble breathing;
  • chest pain;
  • impulsivity and reckless behavior;
  • liver damage;
  • psychosis;
  • personality changes;
  • aggression;
  • seizures;
  • severe rash or hives.

Bottom Line – Librium vs Klonopin

Librium (active ingredient – chlordiazepoxide) is a medication that is used to treat anxiety disorders and withdrawal symptoms associated with alcoholism. It is part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

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Klonopin (active ingredient – clonazepam) is a medication that works by acting on receptors in the brain called GABA receptors. But, unlike other benzodiazepines, it may trigger depressive episodes in patients with a previous history of depression.

In conclusion, both medications are part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Also, both have a peak plasma levels of about 3 to 4 hours.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 30 capsules of Librium 25mg is $30, while the average retail price for 30 tablets of Klonopin 0.5mg is $85.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413079/
https://academic.oup.com/alcalc/article/35/2/212/152697
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/49/2/272.full.pdf

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