What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a tranquilizer, belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepine. It is available under the brand name, commonly known as Klonopin. Doctors prescribe Clonazepam treat conditions like seizures, panic disorders, movement disorders, or any other conditions as determined by them. It works by enhancing the activity of an inhibitory neurotransmitter (GABA) in the central nervous system. Clonazepam is mostly available in oral form. One can avail of this medication only with a proper prescription from a doctor.
What to know before taking Clonazepam?
You should avoid taking this medication if you are allergic to it or any of its components or if you have:
- Narrow-angled glaucoma
- Severe liver disease
- Allergic reactions to any type of benzodiazepine
To ensure that Clonazepam is safe for you, you should tell your doctor if you have or ever had the following medical issues:
- Kidney disease
- Liver infection
- Porphyria- a genetic enzyme disorder that affects the skin or nervous system
- Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and other breathing disorders
- Suicidal thoughts
- Mental illness
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Use other narcotic medication
Expecting women or lactating mothers should avoid taking this medication; it may harm the baby.
How to take Clonazepam?
Take Clonazepam precisely as prescribed by your doctor. You must follow all the instructions provided on the prescription label carefully. Please don’t take it more often than recommended, and try to be consistent throughout the treatment. Consult your doctor if you are not feeling any improvement in your condition.
It is a highly addictive medication; therefore, buying and selling Clonazepam is a severe offense under the prevailing law. Never share your medicines with others; it may lead to misuse, abuse, and addiction to the drugs and result in a fatal situation.
Please don’t stop taking Clonazepam without consulting your doctor; otherwise, you may suffer through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Keep the medication out of the children’s reach and store it at room temperature away from heat and moisture. After completion of treatment, dispose of the leftover medicines with the help of your pharmacists.
The dosage of Clonazepam prescribed by the doctor is dependent on several factors, such as :
- The age and weight of the patient
- The seriousness of the condition
- Other medical issues that the patient is having
- Other medications that the patient is using
- How the patient reacted to the first dose of the medication
The doctor may prescribe the dosage of Clonazepam according to the different medical conditions of the patient.
Dosage for seizures
For adults and children (above ten years of age)
0.5 mg thrice a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate. However, the maximum amount of Clonazepam for a day should not exceed 20 mg.
For children (upto ten years or 30 kgs of weight)
Dose for the children is directly proportional to the weight of the body. The initial amount for a child is 0.01 mg to 0.03 mg twice or thrice a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate. However, the maximum amount of Clonazepam for a day should not exceed 0.05 mg per kilogram of the child’s weight.
Dosage for panic disorder
For adults (18 years or above)
0.25 mg twice a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if he thinks it appropriate. However, the maximum amount of Clonazepam for a day should not exceed 4 mg.
For children (below 18 years of age)
The doctor may determine the dose for children after a full examination.
If you ever feel that you are experiencing any Clonazepam overdose symptoms, you must consult your doctor and ask for medical help as soon as possible. You can avail of medical assistance by calling the poison helpline number at 1-800-222-1222. It would help if you never ignore these symptoms, as they can be very dangerous.
Some of the overdose symptoms are as follows:
- Difficulty in staying awake
- Mental confusion
- Impaired motor functions
- Impaired reflexes
- Impaired coordination
- Impaired balance
- Respiratory depression
- Low blood pressure
What to avoid while using Clonazepam?
You should avoid taking alcohol after taking Clonazepam, as the interaction between these two can be dangerous. Taking this medication can impair your thinking process or reaction to that. You must be very careful while driving and doing activities that require alertness and attention. Avoid taking a similar medication; it may result in an overdose of Clonazepam.
Clonazepam side effects
Some of the common side effects of using Clonazepam are as follows:
- Tiredness or weakness
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Memory problem
- Loss of coordination
- Problem in balancing
It is obvious to experience mild side effect symptoms, but if these symptoms bother you so much and are unbearable, you should consult your doctor and ask for medical help. You can stop taking medication and tell your doctor if you face the following problems while taking Clonazepam:
- Worsening seizures
- Severe drowsiness
- Unusual mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Weak or shallow breathing
- Pounding heartbeats
- Fluttering in the chest
- Involuntary movements in the eyes
- Allergic reaction to the body
You should also report to your doctor from time to time if you experience any new symptoms or your symptoms are getting even more worst.
What drugs can interact with Clonazepam?
If your doctor is treating you with Clonazepam, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other medications. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over the counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. Some of the following medications which can interact with Clonazepam are:
- Acid-suppressing drugs (omeprazole, ranitidine, etc.)
- Allergy or cold drug (promethazine, hydroxyzine, etc.)
- Antidepressants (such as doxepin, amitriptyline)
- Antifungal drugs(fluconazole, ketoconazole, etc.)
- Antipsychotic drugs (for example, clozapine, quetiapine)
- Anti-anxiety medications (for example, alprazolam)
- Motion sickness drugs (such as meclizine, dimenhydrinate)
- Anti-seizure drugs (carbamazepine, topiramate, etc.)
- Pain killers (morphine, hydromorphone, etc.)
- Sleeping pills (for example, suvorexant, temazepam)
- Tuberculosis drugs (such as rifampin, rifabutin)
- Narcotic medication
- Herbal products
- Nutritional supplements