How Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) Affects the Brain
Adderall is comprised of four amphetamine salts and is used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall is also sometimes used off-label in the treatment of depression or obesity. Adderall works by promoting catecholamine release (dopamine, norepinephrine) at synapses (brain connections).
How Klonopin (clonazepam) Affects the Brain
Klonopin (clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug which activates gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) A receptors in the brain, decreasing neuronal excitability. Klonopin therefore tends to globally decrease brain activity, which can be beneficial in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, bipolar disorder and epilepsy.
Mixing Adderall and Klonopin: Interactions
No known interactions exist between Adderall and Klonopin in terms of the metabolism of the two drugs. Adderall is metabolized by CYP2D6, whereas Klonopin is metabolized by the hepatic (liver) enzyme CY34A.
However, because Adderall is a potent psychostimulant and Klonopin is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, mixing the two medications can result in serious adverse events.
Combining Adderall and Klonopin may adversely affect the heart by sending it mixed signals. Adderall promotes the release of norepinephrine, which may increase heart rate, heart contractility and blood pressure. Conversely, the benzodiazepine Klonopin may oppose these cardiovascular effects.
Adderall and Klonopin for Treatment Resistant Social Anxiety Disorder
Anecdotal reports suggest that the conbination of Adderall and Klonopin is very effective for the treatment of severe, refractory social anxiety disorder. Klonopin possess potent anxiolytic, hypnotic and sedative properties, whereas Adderall reinforces rewarding behavior and increases social confidence and extroversion (in some but not all subjects) by enhancing dopaminergic signaling in specific brain regions.
Co-administration of Adderall and Klonopin should only be considered as a therapeutic option while under the care of an expert psychopharmacologist.
Other well-characterized options for treatment resistant social anxiety disorder include the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) Nardil (phenelzine) and Parnate (tranylcypromine).
Using Benzodiazepines to Ease the Adderall Comedown
Substance users may use benzodiazepines (such as Klonopin) to mitigate the comedown after an Adderall binge. This amounts to using downers to take the edge off of uppers.
Klonopin is actually a poor choice for this purpose. Due to its very long half life (~35 hours), ingesting Klonopin in the evening will almost certainly result in a multi-day hangover in subjects who are benzodiazepine-naive. Other short-acting benzodiazepines are more useful for the purpose of coping with a psychostimulant crash, such as xanax, though the short-acting variety have considerably more abuse potential than comparable long-acting benzodiazepines.
Resources & Further Reading
Dealing with the Adderall Comedown – An article about the steps you can take to rejuvinate your body after using Adderall
Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms – How to recognize Adderall withdrawal symptoms and what to do about them.
Adderall Alternatives – Effective alternatives to Adderall to manage the inattentive symptoms of ADHD.