What Is the Difference Between Ativan and Klonopin?

The main difference between Ativan and Klonopin is that Ativan is mainly prescribed to relieve anxiety, whereas Klonopin is primarily used to control seizures and relieve panic attacks, states MedlinePlus. Klonopin is sometimes prescribed to treat certain movement problems that occur as medication side effects. Ativan is not used to treat these problems but is sometimes prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal.

According to MedlinePlus, Ativan and Klonopin may cause different side effects. Potential side effects of Ativan include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea, appetite changes, restlessness, constipation, problems urinating, blurred vision and changes in sex drive. Possible side effects of Klonopin include drowsiness, dizziness, coordination problems, memory problems and muscle or joint pain. Serious side effects of both Ativan and Klonopin, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing and skin rash, require immediate medical care. MedlinePlus states that Ativan sometimes produces other serious side effects, such as shuffling while walking, fever, tremors and irregular heartbeat.

Both Klonopin and Ativan are classified as benzodiazepines. MedlinePlus states that benzodiazepines decrease abnormal activity in the brain and allow relaxation. Both Klonopin and Ativan may be habit-forming and should be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor.