Clonazepam, sold under the brand Klonopin among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat seizures, panic disorder, and the movement disorder known as akathisia. It is a tranquilizer of the benzodiazepine class. It is taken by mouth. Effects begin within one hour and last between six and twelve hours.
How to use Klonopin
Clonazepam is used to prevent and control seizures. This medication is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. It is also used to treat panic attacks. Clonazepam works by calming your brain and nerves. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. For children, the dose is also based on weight. Older adults usually start with a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than directed. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
What is the most important information I should know about klonopin (Clonazepam)?
You should not take clonazepam if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- severe liver disease; or
- a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine (alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, Ativan, Restoril, Tranxene, Valium, Versed, Xanax, and others).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney or liver disease;
- breathing problems;
- depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior; or
- porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system).
Some people have thoughts about suicide when taking seizure medication. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
If you use clonazepam while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Common side effects
- Feeling dizzy, drowsy, fatigued, or lightheaded
- Impaired coordination, decreased ability to concentrate
If you experience these side effects after starting clonazepam they will often improve over the first week or two as you continue to take the medication.
Serious side effects
- Shortness of breath, trouble speaking, feeling very tired, dizziness, or passing out.
- Increased heart rate, headache, memory impairment, irritability, and restlessness may occur.
- Some people taking benzodiazepines develop a severe allergic reaction and swelling of the face. This can occur as early as with the first dose.
- Some people taking benzodiazepines for sleep have experienced various behaviors while they were asleep/not fully awake, such as sleep driving, making phone calls, and preparing or eating food. The individuals have no memory of the events when they awaken.
- Signs of feeling depressed or low mood, thoughts of harming or killing yourself, or lack of interest in life.