Though both are benzodiazepines, the two drugs are in different classes. Clonazepam is considered a long-acting benzodiazepine, with a rapid onset time of one to four hours and a half-life of approximately 34 hours, while lorazepam is a short-acting benzodiazepine with the same approximate onset time but a half-life of about 15 hours.
I found this:Although most benzodiazepines are used interchangeably, some are most commonly used for certain conditions.
Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and midazolam are used for anxiety disorders;
clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), and diazepam (Valium) are used for seizure disorders;
estazolam, flurazepam, quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion) are used for insomnia;
midazolam, lorazepam (Ativan), and diazepam (Valium) are used in anesthesia;
diazepam (Valium) also is used for muscle relaxation;
chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is used for alcohol withdrawal.
To me, that's the difference: Clonazepam helps a whole lot as sleeping aid (for many years) but Lorazepam helps only up to the second sleepness night, than it causes me even more insomnia but each person reacts differently to certain drugs. Sad to say that in the country I leave now I can not buy Clonazepam :(
Most benzodiazepines do the same job with relatively minor variations between them. Some do help anxiety better than others. Some help with sleeping issues better than others. Some are far more potent than others. And some have long half lives while some don't. Take Librium for example, the original and oldest benzo, and it's close companion Valium which was marketed only a few years after Librium. These two medicines have very long half lives. Whereas Ativan has a short half life. Also, going a little further, Librium is used nowadays primarily for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These benzos release the calming chemical from the brain known as gaba for short. Since Ethanol releases large amounts of gaba, when one attempts to stop drinking, gaba levels drop. This is very dangerous. Hand shaking, cold sweats, vomiting, hallucinations, and seisures can occur. Benzodiazepines practically hault these awful alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can be fatal in their tracks.
They release the so desperately needed gaba back into their receptors. Anyway, getting off track a little, some benzos are removed from the body differently than others. Since Librium has to be broken doen into several metabolites by the liver, and it takes the liver quite a while doing these functions, this is why Librium has a long half life. One would assume, but I am no doctor, that Ativan which also is widely used for alcohol detox would be the wiser choice, since it is removed by the kidneys with only a little help from the liver. I say assume only because the liver of an alcoholic is usually not in its best shape. Well, enough of that. Out of Klonapin and Ativan, to answer the question finally, Klonapin would be my choice, although Ativan is effective, it is also known to stop or inhibit new memories from being made, even in proper doses. Hope this helps.
The difference is they belong to different structural classes within the benzo family. Ativan in my experience is about half as strong and easier on your body. Its good for sleep or mild anxiety. Klonopin is to me anyway mildly stimulating but still works almost as good as Xanax for panic but its the best for anticipatory anxiety and lasts at least double the therapeutic life of Ativan but it has the potential for more serious side effects but even then its not likely
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