Discover the differences between Valium and Klonopin and how a genetic test can help you choose the right anti-anxiety medication for your needs.

Valium® vs Klonopin®

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health concerns in the United States today. With over 40 million US adults (19.1% of the population) being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the need for anxiety relief is real. Many people turn to anti-anxiety medication to help manage their symptoms. While healthcare providers are always the best resource for diagnosing anxiety disorders, there are certain testing methods (such as pharmacogenetics testing) that may help determine which medication would be most effective for you. Valium and Klonopin are two of the most common mental health medications used for anxiety disorders. Keep reading to learn about how Valium and Klonopin are similar, how Valium and Klonopin are different, and how DNA testing can help you decide if Valium vs. Klonopin is better for you.

Valium vs Klonopin: What are They?

Valium and Klonopin fall into a medication group called benzodiazepines. Known for being depressant drugs, benzodiazepines are primarily prescribed for anxiety disorders. They may be useful for sedation, sleep disorders (including insomnia), relieve muscle spasms, and help reduce the occurrence of seizures. Both Diazepam (Valium) and Clonazepam (Klonopin) can be helpful for the aforementioned conditions and the symptoms associated with them, but how they interact with individuals depends on individualized metabolisms, body chemistry makeup, and many other factors.

It is important to understand the differences between Valium and Klonopin so you can make an educated decision about which one will be best for you. Let’s take a close look at how each of these benzodiazepines works.

What is Valium?

Diazepam (Valium) is a type of benzodiazepine used for the short-term treatment of anxiety and seizures. Some people also find it useful for helping relieve muscle spasms and symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal. Valium acts on the neurotransmitters in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. By activating the GABA receptors, Valium helps calm the brain and nervous system while simultaneously releasing dopamine into the body.

What is Klonopin?

Similar to Valium, Clonazepam (Klonopin) is a mental health medication that falls under the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Klonopin is often used to treat panic attacks and may be prescribed as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic medication. The drug works quickly but has long-lasting effects that help slow down brain activity and help users relax. Just like Valium, Klonopin increases the GABA receptor activation in the brain to help relieve anxiety, stop seizures, and calm panic attacks.

Valium Vs Klonopin: Common Side Effects

Introducing any new medication into your system comes with a risk of adverse side effects. Every drug has its own set of potential side effects, Valium and Klonopin included. Read on to learn about some of the most common side effects users may experience with Valium and Klonopin.

Side Effects Common with Valium

People who take Valium may experience the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • A spinning sensation
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of balance (ataxia)
  • Short-term memory loss (amnesia)
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased libido
  • Slurred speech

Not everyone who takes Valium will experience these side effects. Please speak with your healthcare professional if side effects continue or worsen.

Side Effects Common with Klonopin

Some people who take Klonopin may have the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness or unsteadiness
  • Depression
  • Loss of orientation
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dry mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blurred vision

Please keep in mind that these lists are not all-inclusive and that people who take Klonopin or Valium may experience other side effects. How people respond to benzodiazepines varies from person to person, but side effects traditionally lessen over time. Additionally, dosage impacts the severity of side effects. For any concerns, we highly recommend contacting your healthcare professional.

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Valium Vs Klonopin: Dosage

Valium Dosage

Valium should always be taken as prescribed by your doctor. It is traditionally an oral medication that can be taken with or without food in either liquid or tablet/pill form. Valium is also available as an intramuscular injection or intravenous injection; if taken in this form, Valium must be administered by a healthcare professional.  

The dosage for Valium varies depending on patients’ needs. It is important to always follow your doctor’s orders and only take Valium as directed. Taking more than your prescribed dose of Valium or more frequently than prescribed could result in psychological or physical dependence.

Most psychiatrists or other healthcare providers advise a starting dose of 2-10 mg, 2-4x a day for adults with anxiety. Valium is not recommended for children up to 6 months of age. The dosage for adults experiencing alcohol withdrawal may be prescribed a starting dosage of 10mg of valium initially. Dosage for muscle spasms and seizures will vary based on need. Please consult your healthcare professional.

Klonopin Dosage

Klonopin is available as an oral medication in tablet form. It comes in 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg strengths but can also be reduced or cut into pieces depending on an individual’s needs.

The correct dose of Klonopin depends on needs, conditions, and circumstances. When taken for panic disorders, doctors often prescribe Klonopin in 0.25mg amounts at 12-hour increments as a starting dose. It is not recommended to exceed 4 mg/day for most patients. For seizure disorders, most doctors prescribe 1.5 mg of Klonopin per day in 8-hour increments. It is not recommended to exceed 20 mg/day.

Taking Klonopin for tremors, sleep disturbances, and other conditions will come with varied dosage recommendations and prescriptions. It is important to always take this medication as directed by your doctor and to never exceed the recommended amount or frequency.

Valium Vs Klonopin: How Long Does it Take to Kick In?

The amount of time it takes for either Valium or Klonopin to take effect depends on the form of the medication, the dosage, and whether the drug was taken with or without food.

When taken orally, Valium usually begins to take effect within 15 to 60 minutes of administration. It is therefore advised that Valium users take it within an hour of sleep and do not operate heavy machinery or vehicles within this time frame.

The calming effects of Klonopin can be expected to take effect within 1 to 4 hours of oral administration.

Valium Vs Klonopin: How Long Does it Last?

Valium typically lasts for between 4-6 hours but has a long half-life. The half-life of a drug indicates how long it takes for about half of the dosage to get metabolized by the body. Valium has an average half-life of about 48 hours, but it is important to note that the amount of time it takes for the body to fully eliminate depends on the dosage.

Klonopin usually reaches peak concentration within 1 to four hours of administration, but its effects may last anywhere from just a few hours to up to 12 hours. Klonopin has a half-life of between 30-40 hours and may take anywhere from 6 to 9 days to fully exit the body.

Valium or Klonopin: Which One Should I Take?

While both Valium and Klonopin are in the benzodiazepines group of drugs, there are unique reasons to take one over the other. Conditions, desired effects, usage, and side effects are often what cause patients to choose Valium vs. Klonopin, but there are other deciding factors that should be taken into account. After reviewing the features of each and the potential side effects you may experience, it will be up to both you and your healthcare professional to determine whether Valium vs. Klonopin will be better suited for your needs.

Valium vs. Klonopin: Similarities and Differences




Drug group




  • Severe anxiety

  • Muscle spasms

  • Alcohol withdrawal

  • seizures

  • Immediate relief of panic attacks and seizures

  • Panic disorders

  • Social anxiety

  • Sleepwalking disorders

  • Burning mouth syndrome

  • Restless leg syndrome

Intended duration of use

Short term/occasional 

Short term

Available in generic form?



May be habit forming?



Available forms

  • Pill

  • Liquid

  • Intravenous/Intramuscular injection 

  • Pill

  • Dissolving tablet 

Safe for use with alcohol



ClarityX: DNA Testing for Medication

The DNA in our bodies contains valuable information that may be useful to determine how we will respond to certain medications. ClarityX examines DNA to uncover this information and provide patients with detailed reports on how they may react to taking certain drugs. We look for variations with the cytochrome 450 enzymes (which metabolize over 70% of drugs). ClarityX offers two testing options with our pharmacogenetics testing:

  • Mindwell test: This focuses on treatments for mental health conditions that include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and more.
  • Max Rx test: This covers 31 therapeutic areas to test how an individual may respond to more than 265 medications.

Both the Mindwell and Max Rx tests may help determine how you will react to Valium and Klonopin. This could help you and your healthcare provider make more informed decisions about your treatment plan. Click here to learn more.

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