Science

Is Klonopin An Opioid? Experts Give Answer

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 22, 2017 01:30 AM EST
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What is fentanyl, the opioid drug 50 times stronger than heroin?

Is Klonopin an opioid? This is the question that a lot of people ask because of the increasing opioid overdoses that plague the US and the UK. Also due to the current practice of doctors to hand out opioid painkillers like candy, people are now getting more conscious about the drugs that are being commonly prescribed to them.

So the answer to the title question is no. Klonopin, a commonly prescribed drug to relieve symptoms of anxiety, is not an opioid, rather, it is classified as a benzodiazepine derivative. The differences between opioids and benzodiazepines lie in their target areas in the brain, effect on target receptors, indications, and drug examples.

Klonopin, as a benzodiazepine derivative, acts selectively on gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain. These are neurotransmitters that reduce the activity of nerve cells in the brain, making the drug effective in relieving anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, or sleep disorders. It's also used as a muscle relaxant during opiate or alcohol withdrawal, or before surgery to induce relaxation and amnesia, the Treatment4Addiction reports.

On the other hand, opioids are strong narcotic pain medications that can have disastrous adverse effects. They take effect by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body to reduce the sending of pain messages. These drugs are used to treat moderate to severe pain that do not go away with other pain medications.

Klonopin is grouped with common sedative drugs such as Xanax and Valium, while opioids are Morphine, Fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Interestingly, both drugs have similar systemic and side effects since they both act on the brain; that's why they are often both used recreationally, but opioids differ in such a way that they can be highly addictive. According to the Morning Sun News, Klonopin was recently used in combination with opioids to cause the drug overdose death of a woman.

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