What is clonazepam?

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Generic Name: Clonazepam Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is clonazepam used for?

Clonazepam is used to prevent and control seizures. Clonazepam 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.

How should I take clonazepam?

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking clonazepam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take clonazepam 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 clonazepam regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.

Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

Clonazepam may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures, mental/mood changes, shaking, stomach/muscle cramps) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

When clonazepam is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if clonazepam stops working well.

Along with its benefits, clonazepam may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take clonazepam exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.

If you have several different types of seizure disorders, you may experience a worsening of seizures when you first start using clonazepam. Consult your doctor right away if this happens. Your doctor may need to add or adjust the dose of your other medications to control the seizures.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store clonazepam?

Clonazepam is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store clonazepam in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of clonazepam that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush clonazepam down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using clonazepam?

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of clonazepam in children with seizure disorders. However, safety and efficacy in children with panic disorder have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of clonazepam in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have confusion and severe drowsiness, or age-related heart, liver, or kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving clonazepam.

Is it safe to take clonazepam during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of clonazepam?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, depression, anxiety, or if you feel agitated, irritable, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • Confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • Weak or shallow breathing;
  • Unusual risk-taking behavior, no fear of danger;
  • Unusual or involuntary eye movements;
  • Pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
  • Painful or difficult urination, urinating less than usual;
  • Pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • New or worsening seizures.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, problems with thinking or memory;
  • Tired feeling, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination;
  • Slurred speech, drooling or dry mouth, sore gums;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, constipation;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Headache;
  • Sleep problems (insomnia);
  • Skin rash; or
  • Weight changes.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with clonazepam?

Clonazepam may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alfentanil, Amobarbital, Anileridine, Aprobarbital, Buprenorphine, Butabarbital, Butalbital, Carbamazepine, Carbinoxamine, Carisoprodol, Ceritinib, Chloral Hydrate, Chlorzoxazone, Clarithromycin, Cobicistat, Codeine, Dantrolene, Ethchlorvynol, Fentanyl, Fospropofol, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Idelalisib, Ketoconazole, Levorphanol, Meclizine, Meperidine, Mephenesin, Mephobarbital, Meprobamate, Metaxalone, Methadone, Methocarbamol, Methohexital, Morphine, Morphine Sulfate , Liposome, Nilotinib, Orlistat, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Pentobarbital, Phenobarbital, Primidone, Propoxyphene, Remifentanil, Secobarbital, Siltuximab, Sodium Oxybate, Sufentanil, Suvorexant, Tapentadol, Thiopental, Zolpidem.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Amiodarone, Desipramine, Ginkgo, Nevirapine, Perampanel, Ritonavir, St John’s Wort, Theophylline.

Does food or alcohol interact with clonazepam?

Clonazepam may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with clonazepam?

Clonazepam may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Depression, history of;
  • Lung or breathing problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Glaucoma, acute narrow angle or untreated open-angle;
  • Liver disease, severe—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Kidney disease;
  • Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Clonazepam for an adult?

Usual Clonazepam Adult Dose for Seizure Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: Should not exceed 1.5 mg/day divided into three doses.

Dosage may be increased in increments of 0.5 to 1 mg every 3 days until seizures are adequately controlled or until side effects preclude any further increase.

Maintenance dose: Individualized for each patient depending upon response.

Maximum Daily Dose: 20 mg.

Usual Adult Clonazepam Dose for Bipolar Disorder:

Initial dose: Should not exceed 1.5 mg/day divided into three doses.

Dosage may be increased in increments of 0.5 to 1 mg every 3 days until seizures are adequately controlled or until side effects preclude any further increase.

Maintenance dose: Individualized for each patient depending upon response.

Maximum Daily Dose: 20 mg.

Usual Adult Clonazepam Dose for Panic Disorder:

Initial dose: 0.25 mg twice a day.

Maintenance dose: An increase to the target dose for most patients of 1 mg/day may be made after 3 days.

The dose may be increased in increments of 0.125 to 0.25 mg twice a day every 3 days until panic disorder is controlled or until side effects make further increases undesired. To reduce the inconvenience of somnolence, administration of one dose at bedtime may be desirable.

Maximum Dose: 4 mg/day

Treatment should be discontinued gradually, with a decrease of 0.125 mg twice a day every 3 days, until the drug is completely withdrawn.

What is the dose of Clonazepam for a child?

Less than 10 years or 30 kg or less of body weight:

Initial Dose: Orally:

In order to minimize drowsiness, the initial dose should be between 0.01 and 0.03 mg/kg/day but not to exceed 0.05 mg/kg/day given in two or three divided doses.

Dosage should be increased by no more than 0.25 to 0.5 mg every third day until a daily maintenance dose of 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kg of body weight has been reached, unless seizures are controlled or side effects preclude further increase. Whenever possible, the daily dose should be divided into three equal doses. If doses are not equally divided, the largest dose should be given before retiring.

Less than 10 years and greater than 30 kg of body weight:

The initial dose should not exceed 1.5 mg/day divided into three doses.

Dosage may be increased in increments of 0.5 to 1 mg every 3 days until seizures are adequately controlled or until side effects preclude any further increase.

The maintenance dosage should be individualized for each patient depending upon response.

Maximum Daily Dose: 20 mg.

How is clonazepam available?

Clonazepam is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Tablet 0,5 mg; 1 mg; 2 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Drowsiness;
  • Confusion;
  • coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time).

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of clonazepam, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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