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What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is medication for preventing and treating panic disorders, anxiety, seizures, and akathisia (movement disorder) that belongs to benzodiazepines. Like other benzodiazepine drugs, Clonazepam works by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
Clonazepam is an antiepileptic or anticonvulsant drug and helps treat seizure disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or absence seizures in adults and children. It also helps treat panic disorders such as agoraphobia in adults.
Clonazepam is a drug that can slow down or stop your breathing, especially if you have been using opioid medication, other medicines, or alcohol to slow your breathing. Misuse of drugs like Clonazepam can cause overdose, addiction, or death. Never share Clonazepam with someone else.
Some people have suicidal thoughts while taking Clonazepam. Stay alert to mood changes symptoms. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine, or you could have seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
What to know before taking Clonazepam?
Before taking Clonazepam, tell your doctor or any other healthcare provider if you are allergic to this medicine or other benzodiazepines like diazepam, lorazepam; or if you have specific other allergies. Clonazepam may contain some inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
Before taking this medicine, tell your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, especially of:
- Porphyria (a specific blood disorder);
- Narrow-angle glaucoma (a particular form of eye problem);
- Kidney disease;
- Liver disease;
- Lung or breathing problems;
- Mood problems or mental disorders such as thoughts of suicide, depression; or
- Personal or family past of any substance use disorder like addiction or overuse of drugs or alcohol.
Clonazepam can make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or cannabis can cause more dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid taking alcohol or alcoholic beverages and consult your doctor regarding the usage of cannabis during treatment with Clonazepam or any other benzodiazepines.
Before having any surgery, tell your doctor, dentist, or surgeon about all the products you use, including herbal products, prescription or nonprescription drugs.
Clonazepam may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor regarding this. Take it only when you urgently need it; otherwise, avoid using this drug during pregnancy.
How to take Clonazepam?
Read the medication guides carefully before you start taking Clonazepam and each time you go for a refill. Then, take this medication orally as per your doctor’s recommendation, usually twice or thrice a day.
Take this medication regularly to attain the maximum benefit. To help you remember, your doctor may suggest you take it at the exact time every day.
Do not suddenly stop taking this medication, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Instead, take your doctor’s help to stop using this medication safely.
Store Alprazolam away from heat and moisture at room temperature.
Your dosage will depend upon your age, medical condition, and response to the initial treatment.
Usual adult dosage for seizure prophylaxis:
- 5 mg orally every day into three separate doses; your doctor may increase it from 0.5 mg to one mg until the seizure controls adequately or until effects preclude any further increase.
- Maximum dose- 20 mg per day
Usual pediatric dose for seizure prophylaxis:
- Up to 30 kg of body weight or ten years of age: 0.01 mg per kg per day orally in two to three divided doses. Maximum amount- 0.1 to 0.2 mg per kg daily
- Up to 10 years or older or 30 kg and over: 1.5 mg orally every day into three separate doses; your doctor may increase it from 0.5 mg to 1 mg until the seizure controls adequately or until effects preclude any further increase.
- Maximum dose- 20 mg per day
Usual adult dosage for panic disorder:
- Initial dose- 0.25 mg orally twice a day
- Maintenance amount- 1 mg per day orally
- Maximum quantity- 4 mg per day
If you overdose on Clonazepam, take emergency medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms to Clonazepam may include confusion, extreme drowsiness, muscle weakness, or coma.
What to avoid while using Clonazepam?
Alcohol consumption can cause dangerous side effects, or death may occur.
Avoid driving vehicles or performing any hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Drowsiness or dizziness may cause accidental falls or severe injuries.
Clonazepam side effects
The use of Clonazepam may cause dizziness, drowsiness, loss of coordination, tiredness, or an increase in saliva production.
Few patients who take anticonvulsants for any condition such as pain, seizure (or convulsions), bipolar disorder may experience suicidal thoughts or attempts, depression, or other mood problems or mental disorders.
Tell your medical healthcare professional immediately if you notice any unusual change in your thoughts, mood, or behavior, including:
- Memory problems;
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts;
- Signs of depression; or
- Thoughts about harming yourself
Any severe allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, take medical help instantly if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction such as trouble breathing, hives, swelling in your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Consult your doctor regarding side effects. In addition, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Clonazepam?
Taking Clonazepam with other medications that slow down your breathing or make you sleepy can lead to dangerous side effects or death. Tell your medical healthcare professional about all the other medicines you use, especially valproic acid and phenytoin.
Consult your doctor before taking a muscle relaxer, an opioid medicine, a sleeping pill, or medication for seizures or anxiety. It is not a complete list, and other drugs may also interact with Clonazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, and vitamins.