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Trazodone vs. Klonopin: What Are the Differences?

Trazodone and Klonopin may yield similar effects, but they are vastly different substances. While trazodone (sold under various brand names) is officially classified as an atypical antidepressant, Klonopin (clonazepam) is a medication used in cases of anxiety and panic attacks.[1],[2]

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Below, we go over each drug, including their similarities, differences, and what happens when a person uses trazodone and Klonopin together.

DrugBrand namesDrug classAbuse potentialOverdose potential
TrazodoneDesyrel, Desyrel Dividose, OleptroAtypical antidepressantLowLow (may occur in combination with other depressants)
ClonazepamKlonopin, RivotrilBenzodiazepine (anxiolytic)HighModerate (especially when combined with other depressants)

Trazodone vs. Klonopin 

Trazodone can be used for anxiety, but its most popular use is in the treatment of insomnia and depression. Klonopin should not be used for depression, as it has been shown to worsen depression symptoms in some individuals. [1],[2]

Brand Names

In the United States, brand names for trazodone include:

  • Desyrel
  • Desyrel Dividose
  • Oleptro

Brand names for clonazepam include Klonopin and Rivotril.

One of the similarities between these two drugs is that chronic use or misuse can result in physical dependence, which means your body adapts to the presence of the substance. If you suddenly stop taking trazodone or Klonopin after becoming dependent, you will experience distressing and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. 

However, one of the primary differences between trazodone and Klonopin is that trazodone is not considered habit-forming in a general sense, while Klonopin has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. This potential for abuse is why Klonopin is a controlled substance.

How Do These Drugs Work?


Trazodone is considered to be an atypical antidepressant. It is often used in cases where a patient does not respond to other antidepressants. Trazodone is a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI), which means that it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin. [1]

For adults, 150-milligram divided doses each day is the general starting dosage for trazodone. Doctors may adjust the dose depending on what is needed. Doses usually do not exceed 400 mg per day.


Klonopin is in the benzodiazepine class. Benzodiazepines are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States today. [2]

This type of drug affects a specific neurotransmitter called GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. As a result, when someone takes Klonopin, neuron activity in the brain becomes inhibited, producing a calming effect. [2]

Klonopin dosage varies depending on the condition being treated. Doses include 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.

Key Differences Between Trazodone & Klonopin

The most important distinctions between trazodone and Klonopin are the conditions that they are used to treat as well as their potential for abuse. Klonopin has a high potential for abuse and addiction whereas trazodone misuse is fairly rare.

A key difference between trazodone and Klonopin includes their half-lives. Klonopin has a 40-hour half-life, while trazodone has a 7.5-hour half-life. This means that Klonopin stays in your system much longer than trazodone. 

Klonopin is also considered a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse, while trazodone has not been subjected to the Controlled Substances Act.

Is One Drug More Effective Than the Other?

Gauging the efficacy of Trazodone and Klonopin and comparing the two in this regard is sort of a moot point. Each drug is effective in its own way. Since they are used to treat different conditions, one is not more effective than the other.

One could make the argument that Klonopin is a more powerful drug due to its high potential for abuse. However, this does not take away from the efficacy of trazodone in its own right. Both drugs are used to treat different maladies effectively. 

Trazodone is also used in cases where other medications are not producing results, so this would also be an argument for its efficacy.

Is Trazodone or Klonopin More Addictive?

Although both drugs can lead to physical dependence, Klonopin has a high potential for abuse, and trazodone is not considered habit-forming. This supports the argument that Klonopin is more addictive. Klonopin is also more widely abused than trazodone.

While there is no evidence that supports that trazodone is addictive, withdrawal symptoms can occur if an individual stops taking trazodone cold turkey.

Side Effects

Common side effects associated with trazodone include the following: [1]

  • Blurry vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Common side effects associated with Klonopin include: [2]

  • Drowsiness
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Klonopin comes with a high risk of misuse, abuse, and even addiction.

Taking Trazodone & Klonopin Together

Since these two drugs share some similarities, individuals may attempt to mix trazodone and Klonopin together. However, if trazodone and Klonopin are taken together, severe symptoms can occur, which include excessive drowsiness as well as central nervous system depression, which could potentially lead to overdose. 

In cases of addiction, it is best to seek professional treatment. In this day and age, more and more individuals are entering rehabilitation programs based on prescription drug dependencies. With comprehensive addiction treatment, you can address underlying issues that led to substance misuse and develop coping skills to ensure continued recovery.

Can You Overdose on Klonopin and Trazodone?

Yes, it’s possible to overdose on Klonopin or trazodone, separately, as well as together. Because they both have sedating effects, mixing them increases the risk of toxicity greatly.

Klonopin Overdose

Research indicates that a Klonopin dose over .08 mcg/mL can be toxic and cause an overdose. Clonazepam overdose symptoms may include:[1]

  • Drowsiness
  • Double vision
  • Coordination issues
  • Slurred speech
  • Respiratory depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma

Overdoses on Klonopin by itself are relatively rare but overdose risk increases significantly when people combine clonazepam with other depressants like barbiturates, alcohol, or opioids. [1]

Trazodone Overdose

While it is possible to overdose on trazodone, overdoses tend to be rare. Signs and symptoms of a trazodone overdose include:[1]

  • Altered mental status
  • Muscle or nerve issues
  • Problems breathing
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Restlessness
  • Coma
  • Painful, abnormal erection

One of the risks of trazodone toxicity is serotonin syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition usually caused by taking trazodone with other serotoninergic medications like migraine medications, antidepressants, and opioid painkillers.[1]

Updated September 1, 2023
  1. Trazodone. (July 2022). StatPearls.
  2. Clonazepam. (September 2022). StatPearls.
  3. Melatonin Versus Trazodone for the Treatment of New Onset Insomnia in Hospitalized Adult Patients. (September 2022). Hospital Pharmacy.
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