Ativan vs. Klonopin: How are they different?

Klonopin or clonazepam and Ativan or lorazepam both belong to the group of drugs known as benzodiazepines. This family of drugs is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. The doctor may also prescribe both these drugs for treating seizures.

Mechanism of action:

It is believed that excess activity in the brain might lead to anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. Klonopin and Ativan, like other benzodiazepines, works by increasing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, that slows down the activity of the brain.

Side effects and Valium vs. Xanax

JXanax and Valium have similar side effects, which include fatigue, drowsiness, and problems in speech. However, a tiny line of difference can be drawn between side effects of Xanax and that of Valium wherein constipation, memory problems, and changes in weight can be seen after taking Xanax and side effects like rash, diarrhea, loss of balance, euphoria, rage, confusion, muscle spasm, lack of sleep and double vision.

Klonopin and Ativan- Where does the difference lie?

Klonopin (clonazepam) is an anti-anxiety drug of the benzodiazepine family, primarily used for treating panic disorder and for the prevention of certain types of seizures.

Ativan or lorazepam can be prescribed for the management of anxiety disorders, in case of short-term relief of symptoms linked with anxiety or others associated with depression. It can also be given in case of insomnia and panic attacks.

Sometimes the doctor recommends it in combination with other medications to prevent vomiting and nausea that occurs as a result of chemotherapy. Before administering anesthesia, the doctor gives Ativan for sedation. It can be used to treat alcohol withdrawal and seizures (status epilepticus).

Do side effects vary in Ativan and Klonopin?

AMost of the side effects are similar after you take Klonopin or Ativan.


Sedation and dizziness are the most common side effects associated with Klonopin or clonazepam. Some other common side effects of Klonopin include:

  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • A feeling of depression
  • Loss of orientation
  • Rash
  • Irritability
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Changes in sexual desire

Some severe side effects of Klonopin or clonazepam include fainting, respiratory depression, enlarged liver.


The most common side effects associated with Ativan are:

  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of orientation
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbance
  • A feeling of depression
  • Amnesia

After taking Ativan, severe possible side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Extrapyramidal symptoms
  • Respiratory depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

Side effects like fatigue, confusion, lack of inhibition, rash, changes in sexual desire, and irritability are seen in Klonopin and not in Ativan.

How is the dosage of Klonopin and Ativan different?

The strengths of both drugs differ in different cases.


Depending on the case and the needs of the patients, the doctor prescribes an appropriate dose of Klonopin or clonazepam. In the case of seizures in adults, the starting recommended dose is 1.5 mg daily in 3 divided doses.

The doctor may increase the dose by 0.5 to 1 mg daily every three days till the time; seizures are controlled. A prescription is not exceeded by more than 20 mg daily. For the management of panic disorders, the usual recommended is 0.25 mg twice daily. The doctor may increase the dose to the target dose of Klonopin or clonazepam 1mg daily after three days.

These are available in the form of pills and dissolving tablets. You can buy Klonopin online or at local drug stores, although you would need a doctor's prescription to buy it at the drug stores.


For treating anxiety, the prescribed dose is 2-6 mg to be taken orally every 8 to 12 hours. In the case of insomnia, a dose of 2-4 mg is recommended at bedtime.

Ativan is available in the form of pills, injection, or liquid. You can buy Ativan online owing to its easy availability online.

Do these mild tranquilizers cause physical dependence?

Sudden cessation of Klonopin or Ativan after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal, including headaches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, sweating, light-headedness, anxiety, sweating, and fatigue.

Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan has addictive properties and may cause physical dependence. A sudden stoppage of the therapy after prolonged therapy may give rise to withdrawal symptoms like a feeling of loss of self-worth, insomnia, agitation, seizures, sweating, tremors, and muscle cramping and vomiting.

In case Klonopin is stopped suddenly, it may produce withdrawal symptoms like increased heart rate, blood disorders, and low blood pressure. Other severe adverse reactions may include clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, attempts, or unusual changes in moods and behavior.

When Ativan is taken in, especially large doses, a person may feel symptoms like euphoric high, muscle relaxation, a sense of calm, and drowsiness.

Some signs of a Klonopin overdose include slurred speech, extreme drowsiness, memory impairment, unsteady walking, reduced attention span, and lack of coordination. Prolonged usage of Klonopin can also lead to episodes of depression and panic attacks.

Drug interactions with Klonopin and Ativan:

Both these drugs, Klonopin and Ativan may interact with alcohol and other medications such as narcotic painkillers, barbiturates, and tranquilizers that cause sedation or dizziness.


When taken with other drugs like alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics, Clonazepam or Klonopin, like all other benzodiazepines, enhances the effects of other drugs that slow the brain's processes, resulting in increased sedation.


Some studies are evidence that when Ativan was given to patients taking the tranquilizer loxapine (Loxitane), there is a drug interaction.

Are Klonopin and Ativan safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Both Klonopin and Ativan, like other benzodiazepines, are not prescribed in pregnant women. These may have been linked to causing fetal damage, including congenital malformations. These are not to be taken by pregnant women in their first trimester as well as in nursing women as these can be secreted in breast milk.