Medication and Treatment Reviews

Klonopin

Generic Name: clonazepam

Uses

Klonopin is an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug in the benzodiazepine class used for short-term relief of symptoms of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia in adults. Klonopin is also useful alone or in tandem with other medications to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, plus akinetic and myoclonic seizures in adults and children. The safety and effectiveness of Klonopin for treating panic disorder have not been established for adolescents and children under age 18 or elderly patients over age 65.

How to Use Klonopin

Before starting or refilling a Klonopin prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your or your child’s medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

Dosage

As with all medications, follow your Klonopin prescription instructions exactly. Klonopin is taken orally two to three times daily with water or another liquid. Tablets are available in 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg doses.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

The maximum dosage is typically 4mg daily for treatment of panic disorders. Treatment of seizure disorders may require a higher dosage, up to 20mg per day. When taking a higher dosage, you should meet with your doctor regularly to consider dosage reduction and long-term usefulness. Doctors may recommend a lower starting dosage for elderly patients or patients with certain medical conditions who may be particularly sensitive to benzodiazepines.

The optimal dosage varies by patient and condition treated. Your doctor may increase your dosage by 0.5mg to 1mg every three days until symptoms are adequately controlled.

When discontinuing treatment, or decreasing dosage, patients should work with a doctor to gradually taper the level of medication by no more than .125mg every three days. Stopping Klonopin suddenly can create withdrawal symptoms, and seizures can occur. Some patients may need to decrease dosage at an even slower rate.

Do not increase the dosage without discussing it with your doctor. Your doctor should periodically reassess if the treatment is still useful. Long-term treatment with Klonopin increases the risk of dependence, and may cause difficulty when terminating treatment. After an extended period without attacks or symptoms, a patient may work with his or her doctor to taper off the medication gradually.

Side Effects

The most common side effects associated with Klonopin are: drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, depression, memory problems, loss of coordination, and symptoms of dependence/withdrawal with long-term usage.

There is a chance that Klonopin used to treat a seizure disorder can make seizures happen more often, or get worse. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if this occurs.

If you stop taking Klonopin suddenly, it can cause seizures that will not stop, hallucinations, shaking, and cramps.

Taking Klonopin may impair your ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor.

Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide or depression. In a small number of people, Klonopin may cause suicidal thoughts or actions. Panic disorder is often comorbid with major depressive disorders, which can increase risk for suicide. Call your doctor immediately if you experience new or worsening mental health symptoms including hallucinations or sudden changes in mood.

Tell your doctor if you have liver, kidney, or lung problems before taking Klonopin. Klonopin is processed by the liver and kidneys, and impaired function can lead to a build-up in the body. Klonopin causes respiratory depression, which can cause breathing problems for patients with impaired function.

Benzodiazepines like Klonopin are “Schedule IV controlled substances,” a designation that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses for drugs with a potential for abuse. Other Schedule IV drugs include Valium, Ativan, and Ambien. Long-term treatment in higher dosages with Klonopin increases the risk of dependence, especially among people predisposed to addiction.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions and Safety

Store Klonopin in a secure place out of reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Klonopin prescription with anyone, even another person with the same condition. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Klonopin if you are sensitive to benzodiazepines, have liver disease, or have acute narrow angle glaucoma.

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, you should not take Klonopin, because there is a high potential for fetal harm, and increased risk of congenital abnormalities. If you become pregnant while taking Klonopin, talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry.  It is actively collecting information about the safety of anticonvulsants during pregnancy. Klonopin is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

Interactions

Before taking Klonopin, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor.

Using benzodiazepines, like Klonopin, at the same time as opioid medications can cause severe drowsiness, breathing problems, coma, and even death.

Use caution taking Klonopin if you are taking drugs that inhibit metabolism via cytochrome P4503A, such as oral antifungal agents.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, especially any drugs that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep-inducing drugs, muscle relaxants, or narcotics.

Let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Klonopin before having any surgery or laboratory tests. The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions

Sources:

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/017533s046s048,020813s006s007MedGuide.pdf
https://www.gene.com/download/pdf/klonopin_prescribing.pdf
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/017533s045,020813s005lbl.pdf

 

5 reviews

  1. I’m 31, take Adderall 20mg 3x a day-and Klonopin 1mg 3x day. The Klonopin is dual functioning, i have something called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy-a neurodegenerative disorder which can cause significant pain throughout the body. With the RSD I have non-epileptic ‘seizures’ or full body tremors; that sort of resemble Parkinsonian tremors ‘turned up’. The Klonopin quells the tremors by relaxing the muscles around the nerves. Anxiety, stress, and pain induce the non-epileptic seizures…but, i find that with the Adderall, i don’t have the ups and downs in moods that I had before when i was solely taking Adderall. I think that just because you take a ‘stimulant’ medication and also experience anxiety, that your doctor shouldn’t just think that the stimulant is causing the anxiety, or exacerbating it. Most ADHD meds won’t control all symptoms that go along with ADHD; anxiety is an incredibly common co-existing symptom. Adderall makes me focus-relax, etc. but it doesn’t do EVERYTHING… I was anxious to tell my doc about the continuing anxiety, fearing he’d pull me off the Adderall. Thankfully, he didn’t; he didn’t even change my dose! He suggested Ambien to help me as well. It’s best to go always go to a psych with experience with ADHD meds, and who can understand that ADHD is different for everyone. Good luck! And, let me know if anyone has a similar experience… I’ve always felt a bit alone with my meds, symptoms of anxiety, etc… Thanks!

  2. I’m writing because I have anxiety disorder and social phobia (and some depression thrown in). Initially, cognitive-behavioral therapy was very effective and I recommend it. After a while, medication was the thing that made a big difference more than therapy because I already knew the CBT methods. Klonopin for anti-anxiety has helped me a lot. I believe prozac has helped me a lot also with the social phobia.

  3. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD along with anxiety and depression. I take 300 mg Effexor-XR, Lamictal (which is great and for me was worth the risk of the rash I didn’t get), Klonopin for anxiety, and Adderall for my ADHD. Right now am doing okay but I have that seasonal component and that isn’t helping right now.

  4. I have had sleep problems of a similar nature for the last four years. Finally about a year ago I decided to get my anxiety treated. The doctor prescribed Klonopin and it worked really well for my sleep issues. I’d fall asleep quickly and stay asleep long enough to not feel groggy all day. Although it did make me feel groggy initially in the mornings.

    I did eventually stop taking it though for other reasons and was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Now the racing thoughts at night make more sense. I was just prescribed Strattera and I think it is possibly affecting my sleep again. I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. I think I might try changing the time of day that I take Strattera to see if that helps at all.

  5. I used to be tired all day. My pdoc was concerned about the constant fatigue. She sent me for a sleep study. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and now use a cpap every nite. I snored as a kid. The sleep study also revealed I have have restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. It’s very common to have these disorders with add. I’m taking Strattera for add and Klonopin for the other. Life is improving…finally. I’m 52. It’s about time!

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