Is Oxazepam better than Clonazepam? (3+ differences)

In this article, we will discuss whether Oxazepam is better than Clonazepam and vice versa. Furthermore, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between them, the potential side effects associated, cost and accessibility profile and safety precautions while choosing the medication.

Is Oxazepam better than Clonazepam? 

Oxazepam is not necessarily better or worse than Clonazepam. Both medications have their intended purposes. For some people, Oxazepam could be a choice of treatment or vice versa, depending upon certain factors like the specific medical condition being treated, individual patient characteristics and the desired therapeutic effects. (1)

Both Oxazepam and Clonazepam are FDA-approved medications that belong to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. They exert their effects by stimulating the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces calming and sedative effects on the central nervous system. (1,2)

Ultimately, the decision to choose between Oxazepam and Clonazepam should be made by a healthcare provider based on a thorough assessment of the patient’s medical history, the specific condition that needs to be treated and how the individual responds to the medication. (2)

How do Oxazepam and Clonazepam differ from each other? 

Oxazepam and Clonazepam are both benzodiazepines, however, there are some differences between these two formulations which are discussed below: (1,2)




Duration of action
  • Relatively short duration of action
  • Shorter half-life and stays in the body for a shorter time compared to Clonazepam.
  • It has a longer duration of action
  • Longer half-life. Its effects last longer in the body compared to Oxazepam.

For anxiety disorder:

  • Typical starting dose: 10mg-15mg taken 2 to 4 times daily
  • Dosage can be adjusted based on an individual’s response and tolerance. 

For panic disorder:

  • Typical starting dose: 0.25mg twice daily
  • Dosage may be gradually increased based on responses, with the maximum recommended dose of 4mg/day. 

For epilepsy:

  • The initial dose may range from 0.5mg- 1.5mg per day with adjustments made as needed. 
Indication Anxiety disorders, including general anxiety disorder (GAD)

Epilepsy, panic disorders and certain anxiety disorders

Brand name Serax




What are the potential side effects of Oxazepam and Clonazepam? 

Both Oxazepam and Clonazepam, being benzodiazepines can cause various effects which may vary in severity among individuals as everyone is unique and responds differently to medications. (3)

Common side effects (with both medications):

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired coordination (affect motor skills)

Specific side effects of Oxazepam:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain)
  • Dry mouth

Specific side effects of Clonazepam:

  • Increased salivation
  • Behavioural changes (mood swings, irritability)

Serious side effects (with both medications):

While uncommon some serious side effects may occur and require immediate medical attention, they may include:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rashes, itching, swelling on the skin, difficulty breathing and respiratory depression)
  • Severe drowsiness and persistent fatigue

Withdrawal and dependence: 

The long-term use of benzodiazepines including Clonazepam and Oxazepam may lead to physical dependence and abrupt or sudden discontinuation of either of the medications may result in withdrawal side effects. Thus, gradual tapering off over time is recommended to minimize the intensity of these effects and it must be done under the strict supervision of healthcare professionals. (3)

How do Oxazepam and Clonazepam differ in cost and accessibility? 

The prices and accessibility of medications can vary based on several factors, including the region or country among others. Here I am providing you with some general information that might help you. (4)


  • Generic vs Brand name: In general, generic versions of medications tend to be less expensive than their brand-name counterparts. If a generic form is available in your area it is more cost-effective. 
  • Insurance coverage: Some insurance plans cover a larger portion of the cost, making the medication more affordable to the patient. 


  • Prescription requirement: Both Oxazepam and Clonazepam are prescription medications, which means you can’t have access to them without a healthcare provider’s prescription. 
  • Pharmacy Availability: These medications are typically available at pharmacies, but the specific formulations and availability may vary.
  • Local regulations: The accessibility of these medications can be influenced by local regulations and policies regarding the prescribing and dispensing of these medications. (4)

How to ensure the safe use of Oxazepam and Clonazepam?

To ensure the safe and effective use of Oxazepam and Clonazepam, it is essential to follow the recommended guidelines provided by your healthcare provider. Take these medications as prescribed by your doctor, strictly follow the dosage regimen, time and frequency of taking the medication. Do not alter the doses or stop taking them abruptly as it may result in withdrawal symptoms. (1)

Tell your medical and medication history to your doctor. Provide them with the list of any known allergy or pre-existing health conditions especially related to liver or kidney impairment. This might help them in accessing your health situation and prescribing the drug accordingly. (2)

Avoid drinking alcohol and taking other CNS depressants as they may interact with benzodiazepines and lead to excessive sedation or increase the risk of respiratory depression and other serious side effects. (2)

Both Oxazepam and Clonazepam are associated with drowsiness and sedation, so be cautious while driving or operating heavy machinery. Especially avoid these activities if you have just taken the dose of the medication. Also, check the expiry of medication before use as the therapeutic effect and chemical integrity of Clonazepam and Oxazepam can be altered once the expiration date has passed. (3)

Be aware of all the potential side effects and keep an eye on how your body is reacting to the medication. If you experience any unusual symptoms inform your healthcare provider right away. Set time-to-time follow-up schedules with your doctor for regular monitoring and treatment adjustment as needed. (4)

Concluding the discussion- Oxazepam vs Clonazepam:

As a pharmacist, in my opinion, both drugs Oxazepam and Clonazepam have shown significant improvement in their particular line of treatment. Comparing them is not wise and the choice of prescription should be made by your healthcare provider based on your specific health condition and needs. 

You should also be careful not to take them together thinking they might provide more enhanced synergistic effects and improve your condition faster. This may exacerbate the risk of CNS depression as both medications are CNS depressants and may lead to fatal side effects due to harmful interactions. 

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