Clonazepam, also known as Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine drug used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. The drug is given by oral administration. Clonazepam is sold under a prescription only.
It has a potential for abuse, hence should be used cautiously by a doctor's recommendation. Even if you use the drug as prescribed, it can lead to physical dependence, and withdrawal symptoms can appear if suddenly stopped.
Clonazepam is also used as a combination therapy with other medications. In this article, we will discuss everything related to clonazepam.
What Is Clonazepam Used For?
Clonazepam is used for treating the following conditions:
- Seizures (As an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic)
- Panic disorders
- Akathisia (A movement disorder).
- Involuntary muscle spasms
How Does Clonazepam Work? - Mechanism Of Action
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug. It works by potentiating an inhibitory neurotransmitter in our brain known as GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid).
Hence, the inhibitory action of GABA produces a calming and relaxing effect, relieving anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and relaxing tense muscles.
It also reduces chemical imbalances in the brain to treat panic attacks and anxiety.
How Should I Take Clonazepam?
Here are some crucial points on how you should take Clonazepam:
- Take Clonazepam as prescribed by your doctor.
- Clonazepam can be taken with or without meals.
- You can cut or crush the tablet. But make sure you receive its full dose because cutting or crushing medicines holds the risk of dosage loss.
- If you have been prescribed an orally disintegrating tablet, peel it with clean and dry hands. Do not push the tablet through the foil to take the tablet out. Place it under your tongue to let it dissolve with your saliva. Engulf the dissolved tablets.
- You can swallow the orally disintegrating tablets with or without fluid.
- Take Clonazepam at the same time every day.
- Don't store Clonazepam in moist or damp places like the kitchen or bathrooms.
- Store Clonazepam between 15-degree centigrade to 30-degree centigrade.
- Do not suddenly stop taking Clonazepam without your doctor's recommendation as it can give rise to withdrawal effects like seizures, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Clonazepam Dosage Forms and Strengths
Clonazepam is prescribed as oral tablets or orally disintegrating tablets, depending on some factors like:
- Your age
- The severity of your disease
- Your disease history
Oral tablets come in the strength of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.
Orally disintegrating tablets come in the strength of 0.125 mg, 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.
What Dose Of Clonazepam Should I Take?
Take the dose of Clonazepam as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. The dose may vary from patient to patient depending on the condition being treated and your medical history. For example, if you are suffering from renal disease, your dose may be reduced.
The usual prescribed dose of Clonazepam includes:
For Panic Disorders:
The starting dose of Clonazepam is 0.25 mg twice daily. Your dose may be increased to 0.5 mg after three days. The maximum dose of Clonazepam is 4 mg per day.
The starting dose of Clonazepam for seizures is 0.5 mg three times daily, which may be increased to 1 mg after every 3 days until seizures are controlled. The maximum dose of Clonazepam for seizures is 20 mg per day.
What Are The Side Effects Of Clonazepam?
The most common side effects of Clonazepam include:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Coordination issues
- Muscle or joint pain
- Changes in sex drive
- Increased salivation
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Memory problems
The severe side effects of Clonazepam include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rashes or hives
- Swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or eyes.
- Depression or suicidal thoughts
If you face severe side effects of Clonazepam or the common side effects persist or worsen, consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately. The drug holds a black box warning, which means Clonazepam's effects can be dangerous if misused and should be alerted by doctors and pharmacists.
How To Manage Clonazepam Side Effects?
The common side effects of Clonazepam go away with time. So, you don't need to worry about them as they usually occur. However, if they persist or become intolerable, consult your pharmacist to switch your medication. The side effects of Clonazepam vary from patient to patient. Here are some tips for managing the common side effects of Clonazepam:
- If you face GIT disturbance or nausea with Clonazepam, use the drug during your or before a meal. You can also take Clonazepam with milk.
- Do not engage in any mentality exerting activity after taking Clonazepam. Take rest as the drug causes dizziness and drowsiness.
- Start with a lower dose and gradually increase the Clonazepam dose to minimize side effects.
- Take Clonazepam regularly at the same time every day.
- Do not take Clonazepam with any sedative drug, antidepressants, or antipsychotics, as they may worsen the side effects of Clonazepam.
- Do not eat or drink grapefruit or grapefruit juice while on Clonazepam therapy.
- Do not take Clonazepam with opioids. For example, codeine, hydrocodone, and tramadol.
- Drink plenty of fluids for managing diarrhea and GIT disturbances.
- Do not take alcohol with Clonazepam.
- In case of Clonazepam overdose or toxicity, your doctor may give you a flumazenil injection to reverse the drug's toxic effects.
- Do not take Clonazepam if you have been allergic to the drug.
- Before starting Clonazepam, tell your doctor if you are on any other herbal or prescription medication treatment.
- Inform your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease before taking Clonazepam.
- If Clonazepam is affecting your mental health, inform your pharmacist right away.
Why is Clonazepam considered good treatment option for Anxiety?
Clonazepam is a potent drug and can cause physical dependence. It has strong sedating effects on the brain and works by increasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, thus relieving anxiety.
Alternative Treatment Options for Anxiety and Seizures
Clonazepam can be addictive. It holds risk for patients who are drug addicts. Several alternatives are available for relieving the anxiety that is not addictive and has less chance of causing physical dependence. The alternatives for Clonazepam to reduce anxiety include:
- Antidepressants like SSRIs or SNRIs
The alternative to Clonazepam for treating seizures is Lamotrigine and Lorazepam.
Can I buy Clonazepam Online?
Yes, but it can depend on different pharmacies, their policies, and whether you have a prescription or not. Clonazepam is sold by prescription only as it has a severe risk for physical dependence and abuse.
So, if you have a prescription for Clonazepam and its online order is applicable in the pharmacy, you can purchase Clonazepam online by showing your prescription. On the other hand, if you don't have a prescription, you cannot buy Clonazepam online or make an in-store purchase
Furthermore, refilling the prescription of Clonazepam is allowed, but as it is a controlled drug, you cannot refill the prescription more than 5 times for a period of six months.
When should I take Clonazepam?+
Take Clonazepam as prescribed by your doctor. Take the drug at the same time every day. Commonly Clonazepam is given up to three times per day (morning, noon, and at night).
How long does it take for Clonazepam to work?+
For seizures and muscle spasms, Clonazepam may take a few days to weeks to fully show response. While for panic disorders and restless leg syndrome, Clonazepam may take around 1 hour to show effect.
Can I take Clonazepam while pregnant?+
There are incomplete data available for the use of Clonazepam in pregnancy. Hence, the drug should be used cautiously when clearly needed and if the benefits outweigh its risk in your pregnancy.
Can I drive after taking Clonazepam?+
No. You cannot drive after taking Clonazepam. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine, which means it has sedative activity. This can be hazardous for alerting activities like driving or operating machinery and holds a risk for injury or accidents.
How long can I take Clonazepam for?+
As Clonazepam is highly addictive, it is prescribed for short-term treatment. Usually, the drug is given for a maximum of 2 to 4 weeks.
Does long-term use of Clonazepam have adverse effects on my health?+
Yes. If you use Clonazepam for longer than 4 weeks, it can adversely affect your health. Using Clonazepam for longterm has the risk of physical dependence, abuse, depression, suicide tendency, and severe breathing problems. Other adverse effects of long-term use can include impaired cognition, memory loss, and reduced sex drive.
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