Klonopin (clonazepam) is a prescribed anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug introduced in 1975 to treat severe seizures. Klonopin is also used to treat panic disorder and movement disorders. The drug helps many patients in managing their symptoms. However, Klonopin side effects range from mild and transient to potentially fatal when misused.
Patients with benzodiazepine allergies, narrow-angle glaucoma, severe liver disease, and a propensity for substance abuse should not take Klonopin. Those considering Klonopin as a treatment option should first disclose their full medical, mental, and lifestyle history with an approved doctor before taking Klonopin.
Klonopin, along with other benzodiazepines, is one of the most widely abused pharmaceutical drugs in the United States. As with any medication, carefully read the provided instructions for correct use. It is important to only take Klonopin as directed.
As with most medications, the patient's personal medical history along with the Klonopin side effects must be discussed with a doctor before a patient begins treatment.
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a medically prescribed, orally administered sedative medication known to create calming effects on the brain and on nerves. Some benzodiazepines are used interchangeably for a variety of anxiety-related conditions; however, Klonopin is prescribed only for specific disorders.
How Does Klonopin Work?
The precise mechanisms Klonopin uses to alleviate symptoms associated with severe seizures and panic disorder are currently unknown. Scientist believe Klonopin influences neurotransmitters, or the brain chemicals, that interact with nerves.
Klonopin is said to affect the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits brain activity. Scientists believe excessive brain activity may cause seizures and panic disorders.
Klonopin could instruct GABA to inhibit the excessive brain activity that creates the undesirable symptoms associated with seizures and panic disorders.
The ongoing use of Klonopin may create a tolerance for the drug. This means that the potency of Klonopin may decrease after regularly taking the medication for a time. Patients must speak with a doctor to assess the dosage If drug tolerance occurs. Patients should not increase the dosage of Klonopin without express consent from a doctor.
Drugs Similar to Klonopin
Klonopin is a tranquilizer in the benzodiazepine drug class. There are over 2,000 types of benzodiazepine drugs, but the FDA has approved only 15 of them in the United States. The suffix ‘pam’ found in a generic drug name (rather than the drug’s brand name) often indicates a benzodiazepine.
Other popular drugs similar to Klonopin include:
Klonopin along with other benzodiazepine drugs can be habit forming, and as a result, are not considered an optimal long-term treatment option.
Klonopin and other similar benzodiazepine drugs are Schedule IV depressants according to the DEA's Controlled Substances Act. They are illegal to possess in the United States without a prescription.
Klonopin and benzodiazepine abuse is prevalent in the United States. Abuse of Klonopin is defined as the use of the drug beyond its scope of medical indications.
Signs of Klonopin or benzodiazepine misuse or abuse are characterized by:
When taken as prescribed, Klonopin side effects may go unnoticed. This is due to the medication working to alleviate symptoms associated with the indicated medical condition.
Severe seizures, panic disorders, or movement disorders can be debilitating. Untreated, these conditions can create difficulty with independent functioning. Klonopin may offer relief of these problematic symptoms.
The Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting Option
Klonopin offers longer periods of relief than similar drugs in the benzodiazepine class, including both Valium and Xanax.
Klonopin is felt approximately 30 minutes after the medication is taken by mouth and last up to twelve hours. On average, other comparable medications take one hour to work and have an effect for three to four hours.
The fast-acting and long-lasting therapeutic effects make it a highly desirable option for patients who want to minimize the amount of medication they consume.
Side effects are unwanted issues that occur along with the restorative benefits of a drug. Although Klonopin may help sufferers of seizures and panic disorders, there are many Klonopin side effects that patients should know. Side effects can range from mild and transient to serious.
One should not drive or operate machinery until one is safe and comfortable with the effects of Klonopin.
Klonopin Side Effects
ome mild side effects will subside with ongoing treatment. Most side effects will end when one stops using the medication, and it has left the body. It may take up to two weeks for all traces of Klonopin to leave the system.
When in doubt, discuss your concerns about Klonopin side effects with a trained medical professional.
Mental or Behavioral Disturbances—Immediately Contact a Doctor
Some patients who take Klonopin may experience negative mental or behavioral disturbances. Contact a doctor if any one of the following side effects occur:
Serious Side Effects—Immediately Contact a Doctor
Seek immediate medical help if one or more of the following serious Klonopin side effects occur:
Very Commonly Reported Klonopin Side Effects
The most reported side effects of Klonopin use are:
Commonly Reported Klonopin Side Effects
Commonly reported side effects of Klonopin include:
Rarely Reported Klonopin Side Effects
Side effects that rarely occur in patients taking Klonopin are:
Very Rarely Reported Klonopin Side Effects
Reportedly, the very rare side effects of Klonopin:
The lists above are not definitive, and other Klonopin side effects may occur. Contact a doctor if Klonopin side effects do not feel right to you.
Klonopin should not be taken with other drugs unless approved by a doctor. Other side effects, including overdose, may occur if Klonopin is taken with alcohol or other drugs.
Mixing Klonopin with alcohol can lead to potentially fatal side effects.
Always consult with your doctor before mixing any over-the-counter, herbal/homeopathic, or prescription drug with Klonopin to prevent severe side effects or death.
Especially avoid taking the following drugs before receiving a doctor’s approval:
Symptoms of Klonopin Overdose:
Call 911 or seek emergency medical assistance immediately if any of the symptoms of Klonopin overdose occur.
Klonopin is a habit-forming medication, meaning dependency on the drug is formed by the patient. Dependency can occur with Klonopin in as little as a few weeks. When a patient stops taking Klonopin, they may experience withdraw symptoms. When the drug leaves the system, negative side effects may result. Klonopin works to suppress anxiety and stress. As the drug leaves the body, the patient must find new ways to cope with this anxiety and stress.
Withdraw symptoms may go unnoticed for some patients; however, some patients may need to seek medical help to wean off of Klonopin and manage withdraw symptoms. The length of dependency often correlates with more severe withdraw symptoms although this isn't always the case.
Klonopin Withdraw Symptoms
No one has to endure Klonopin withdraw symptoms alone. Hospitals and rehab clinics can help one manage symptoms of Klonopin detox and withdraw.
Is Klonopin Right for You?
Klonopin has successfully treated severe seizures, panic disorders, and movement disorders for decades. When used as prescribed, Klonopin can help patients lead active and fulfilling lives, but it is not for everyone.
With many possible side effects, patients must carefully consider the pros and cons of taking the drug. Only a qualified medical professional can address questions about Klonopin side effects.