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My dr prescribed 0.5mg Xanax XR twice a day (or as needed) to keep my anxiety more level throughout the day. Does the XR keep the equivalent of .5mg of instant release (regular) Xanax in your system constantly, or is it just .5mg spread out over 12 hours instead of maybe 1-2 hours compared to the instant release?

Also, why would anyone take Xanax XR instead of Klonopin? Aren't they basically the same? My dr said Xanax XR is less "dangerous" but is it? If I stop taking it for more than 1 day (so max dose of 1mg over a 24 hours period, then nothing for the following 24 hours) I start feeling some withdraw symptoms. Scary. Is this normal? I thought withdraw was only a problem when you started getting into the 2,3,4mg daily range.

I'm on Xanax XR .5mg four times per day (one of those is optional, to be taken at bedtime if I have problems with insomnia). I also have a small suppy of immediate release Xanax .5mg to be dissolved under my tongue for the quickest release if a panic attack breaks through. Xanax XR worked very, very well for me about 6 years ago, but this time around it is not as effective with my anxiety, but my current psych claims he likes it and it "worked in the past for me." I primarily have panic attacks, and honestly, research shows that Klonopin is the most effective benzo for panic. It is long-lasting and it just really hits that sweet spot with panic. In my long history with docs, however, many of them just believe that all benzos do about the same thing, that the biggest difference is simply half-life and onset of action. I will say that while I'm not getting optimal results from Xanax XR, taking it on a regular basis has helped prevent most of my full-blown panic attacks so that I can work on overcoming this latest bout of anxiety in other ways (exercising more, being involved with friends and family, etc.).

As far as your "withdrawal" symptoms, first off, unless a person has a history of alcohol or drug addiction, or heavy recreational use, if the person is using a benzo for the symptoms it helps (anxiety, panic, insomnia, muscle relaxation) while the body may become physiologically dependent upon a dosage, that doesn't mean you're "addicted." It just means that you have to wean off it when you're ready. SSRIs cause a "withdrawal" or "discontinuation syndrome" and very few people abuse them because of addiction or recreation, so yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable to come off benzos for anxious people, but that is not the same as being addicted. If you need the meds and don't have addiction risk factors, take them. They will allow you to function normally until you can either get therapy, get a long-term med like an SSRI or something on board, and get into practicing lifestyle changes, or riding out a really stressful time in your life.

As far as the benefits of Xanax XR vs. Klonopin, and why it would be used, well, I suspect that the makers of Xanax wanted to add an extended-release version (that was name-brand for a while way after Xanax had long been available in a generic) to make more $$, and some docs just have the impression that it has the anti-anxiety punch of regular Xanax, but one doesn't need to move up the dosage as much because it is longer acting. That's educated speculation, lol.

If you're really uncomfortable on Xanax XR, definitely ask about Klonopin. It's a great, long-lasting benzo that is awesome for anxiety and one of the few things that is great for people with frequent panic attacks (it's not quick onset, so it should be taken daily for a while), and it is pretty easy, as benzos go, to slowy taper down and off of it. Best wishes to you!

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