Is Clonazepam harmful on a long-term use?

Clonazepam, commonly known by its brand name Klonopin, is a prescription medication widely used for its anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, and anti-insomnia benefits. This medication is part of a group of substances referred to as benzodiazepines. This group includes drugs such as:

Side Effects

There are various side effects that are associated with the use of Clonazepam. In fact, Clonazepam can cause severe central nervous system depression, which can lead to noticeable impairment in alertness along with slowed bodily functions. However, these side effects only occur when the medication is used recreationally or when taken in higher doses than prescribed.

However, one of the primary causes of severe side effects is taking the medication for a long time. Since the drug is intended for short-term use, it is vital to note that long-term use can result in complications that may deteriorate your health in a number of ways. For example, you may experience the following:

  • Vertigo or extreme dizziness.
  • Syncope or fainting spells.
  • Heaviness or numbness of the extremities.
  • Impaired cognition.
  • Failure to form new memories or short-term memory loss.
  • Confusion or increased bewilderment.
  • Reduced judgment.
  • A decrease in reaction time.
  • Reduced sex drive or low libido.

As mentioned, Clonazepam is not typically recommended for long-term use since it has habit-forming properties. As time progresses, the user's body builds up a notable tolerance to the drug. In simple terms, the body adapts to the presence of Clonazepam and becomes immune to it. Due to this, the prescribed dosage of Clonazepam is no longer effective. The patient's usual dose has little to no effect. This leads one to seek out a higher dosage, thus, resulting in dependence.

Individuals who develop a tolerance to Clonazepam begin taking higher or frequent doses of Clonazepam to experience the relaxing effects combined with the alleviation of symptoms that they experienced during the initial stages.

So, when someone builds a tolerance to Clonazepam, it is highly likely that bodily dependency has also begun. This means that if the drug doses are not frequently updated, or if the person stops taking Clonazepam all of a sudden, they may be at high risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. In addition, some factors are associated with the long-term use and abuse of Klonopin (Clonazepam), such as:

  • Overdose
  • Poly-drug abuse
  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Poor concentration or trouble focusing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mental confusion or anguish
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Episodic memory loss
  • Aggression
  • Hostility
  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Sudden depression
  • Emotional blunting
  • Short-term withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures
  • Protracted withdrawal symptoms
  • Infections
  • Insomnia or worsening of sleeping disorder(s)

Klonopin or Clonazepam should never be used for an extended period. It should be slowly tapered off within the prescription period. It should never be used for more than two weeks at a time. 

So, yes. Clonazepam is highly harmful when used for a long time. A person can become dependent on Clonazepam, which can result in a serious case of addiction. It is intended for short-term use. However, long-term use can lead to severe repercussions relating to one's health. In some cases, it can even cause an overdose, which can be fatal.