Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.
Xanax acts a bit more quickly and has a shorter duration of action; so it can be taken if the person feels a panic attack is beginning, and then wears off more rapidly than klonopin. Klonopin is usually taken regularly each day to prevent future panic attacks and it has much longer half-life, meaning that it stays in your system longer. Both are quite addicting, with klonopin, I think, being somewhat more so than xanax. But people vary greatly in their reactions to these medications and the addictive potential varies from person to person, and also, as a function of daily dosage, how long (months, years) the person takes the medications, etc. For this reason, neither are really good drugs to be taken long term
(more than 2 months or so) because a person regularly taking either will face dealing with tapering the drugs and problematic withdrawal symptoms. Again, I have found the withdrawal symptoms from klonopin to be really troublesome for many patients. Just about everyone who has been on klonopin for many years takes months to taper off of the drug comfortably, and around 12-18 months post detox to feel fully 'well' again.
I would make sure I complement the medication for your panic disorder with regular visits to a clinical psychologist who REGULARLY works with patients with anxiety
disorders and who uses cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorder specifically. Patients can learn to mange situations they perceive might put them at risk for a panic attack, find ways of using relaxation and other cognitive techniques to reduce the frequency and duration of panic attacks, and prevent a serious complication of panic disorder, which is Agoraphobia
. You can read about this therapy, and treating agoraphobia by Googling these topics. So please give serious consideration to the notion that, due to its addictive properties, the benzodiazepines such as xanax and klonopine should be used short term to get a 'handle' on panic attacks, and then used only 'as needed', and that the long-term solution would probably lie with cognitive behavioral therapy. I think the combination of these is best.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Please hit the green Accept button at the bottom of your screen. Thanks.