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What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is an effective prescription drug also available as the brand-name medicine Klonopin. It comes in oral tablet form and oral disintegrating (dissolving) tablet whose generic version is available at a comparatively lesser price. But in some cases, a generic drug may not offer you every strength or form as the brand-name version.
Clonazepam is a federally controlled substance that makes anyone administering this drug prone to the risk of addiction (physical and psychological dependence) and side effects. It belongs to the benzodiazepines category of medications, and you might be aware that a class of drugs states a group of drugs that function similarly.
This potent drug helps treat panic disorder, and people also buy Clonazepam online to use the drug to stop seizures. Clonazepam may be medically prescribed as a part of combination therapy. It means an individual may require to take Clonazepam (Klonopin) with other medications.
Clonazepam functions by increasing the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. It is a chemical that transmits signals throughout an individual’s nervous system. If someone does not have enough GABA in their system, they may turn into an excited state. A lack of these receptors can cause people to experience panic attacks or seizures. When an individual takes this medicine, they are likely to get more GABA in their system, and it will help them face fewer panic attacks and seizures.
How to take Clonazepam?
Your healthcare professional is likely to prescribe clonazepam dosage to you keeping several factors in mind, including:
- your age
- the type and severity of the medical condition for which you are using this drug
- other medical issues you may have
- the form of Clonazepam you are taking
Usually, a health expert will start your treatment on a low dosage and adjust it later to reach the amount that is accurate for you. They will ultimately recommend the smallest possible dose that offers you the desired effect.
Clonazepam oral tablet is not meant to be used for a prolonged duration as it carries some risks if an individual does not take it as recommended. If an individual suddenly discontinues the use of Clonazepam, they may experience unpleasant and life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
If someone misses doses or does not take medicine on schedule, they may also experience withdrawal symptoms. While if someone takes it in excessive amounts, they may have dangerous levels of the drug build up in the body. Symptoms of a Clonazepam overdose can include:
- sleepiness or drowsiness
- coma (being unconscious for a prolonged duration)
- slow reflexes, primarily due to trouble with coordination
The following dosing information describes dosages that are widely used or recommended. However, an individual should take the exact dosage the healthcare professional prescribed for them.
Forms and strengths
The strengths are 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg in oral tablet form. While in orally disintegrating tablet form, the strengths are 0.125 mg, 0.25 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.
For panic disorder
Adult dosage (between 18 to 64 years):
- The usual initial dose is 0.25 mg twice a day
- The maintenance dose requires an increased amount of up to 0.5 mg twice a day after every three days after proper consultation with the healthcare professional.
- The maximum amount per day should not exceed 4 mg per day.
- Dose reduction: A healthcare provider should gradually decrease an individual’s dose while planning to stop the treatment with this drug. They should reduce the amount by no more than 0.125 mg every three days. For example, if someone were using 2 mg twice per day, their health expert would start by reducing the quantity to 1.875 mg two times per day.
Pediatric dosage (ages 0 to 17 years)
It is unclear or not confirmed whether this drug is safe and effective for use in anyone younger than 18 years with panic disorder.
Geriatric dosage (ages 65 years and more)
The kidneys of people belonging to this age group may not work as well as those earlier. It can cause their bodies to process the drug gradually. As a result, more drug elements are likely to sustain in the system for an extended period. It may raise the risk of side effects. And to reduce it, the healthcare professional may start an elderly patient on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. It can help keep levels of Clonazepam from building up too much in their system.
Adult dosage (ages between 18 to 64 years)
- The usual starting dose should be 0.5 mg three times a day.
- A healthcare professional may increase an individual’s dose by 0.5 mg to 1 mg every three days until there is no control over the seizures.
- The maximum amount should not be 20 mg per day, administered in divided doses.
Pediatric dosage (ages 11 years to 17 years)
- The typical starting dose should be 0.5 mg administered three times a day.
- A healthcare professional may increase a child’s dose by 0.5 mg to 1 mg every three days until there is control on seizures.
- The maximum quantity should not be more than 20 mg per day, administered in divided doses.
Child (ages 0 to 10 years) dosage for children weighing 66 lbs (30 kg) or less:
- The typical initial dose should be 0.01 mg per kg to 0.03 mg per kg of body weight per day. Your daily dose should not exceed 0.05 mg per kg every day administered in two to three divided doses.
- Dose increases: A healthcare professional may increase the amount of a child by 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg every three days until there is proper control on the seizures.
- The maximum quantity should not be more than 0.1 mg to 0.2 mg per kg administered in divided doses.
Geriatric dosage (ages 65 years or more):
The kidney of people belonging to this age group may not work as efficiently as they earlier used to. It can cause their systems to process the drug gradually. As a result, most of the medicine elements are likely to stay in the system for a prolonged duration, and it may raise the risk of side effects. And to reduce it, your healthcare professional may start the treatment of an elderly patient on a different dosing schedule or a lowered dose of the same drug. It can help keep levels of Clonazepam from building up too much in the body.
Things to avoid while taking this medicine
Avoid consumption of alcohol or alcoholic beverages while taking Clonazepam as it may cause dangerous side effects or death may occur. Also, avoid driving, using heavy machinery, or performing hazardous activities until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness caused by Clonazepam may cause accidental falls or severe injuries.
What are the side effects of Clonazepam?
It is possible for Clonazepam to cause breathing problems (slow or shallow) or even stop it, especially if you have been recently using an opioid (narcotic) drug or alcohol. Your attendant or caregiver should seek emergency medical help if you are unable to wake up, have slow breathing with prolonged pauses, or have blue-colored lips.
An allergic reaction can occur with the following signs: hives, breathing issues, or swelling of some body parts (such as the face, tongue, lips, or throat).
Tell your healthcare professional right away if you have new, sudden, or extreme changes in mood or behavior, including new or worse anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, or if you feel irritable, impulsive, aggressive, agitated, hostile, restless, have thoughts of suicide or hurting oneself, or more active or talkative.
Severe side effects of Clonazepam may include:
- severe drowsiness;
- weak or shallow breathing;
- new or worsening seizures;
- confusion, nightmares, paranoia, hallucinations;
- unusual changes in mood or behavior;
- unusual or involuntary eye movements; or
- thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
Common side effects of Clonazepam may include:
- drowsiness, dizziness (more likely to persist in older adults);
- memory problems;
- feeling tired or depressed; or
- problems with walking or coordination
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
After you suddenly stop taking this drug, call the health expert or take any other medical help right away if you have withdrawal symptoms such as being more active or talkative, unusual muscle movements, hallucinations, confusion, sudden and severe changes in behavior or mood, seizures (or convulsions), suicidal thoughts or actions.
Some withdrawal symptoms of Clonazepam are likely to last for up to a year or more after abruptly discontinuing this medicine. Tell your healthcare professional if you experience depression, ongoing anxiety, trouble sleeping, problems with thinking or memory, a burning or prickly feeling, ringing in your ears, or a crawling sensation under the skin.
Clonazepam Drug Interaction
Clonazepam is likely to interact with other medications, and we all are aware that different interactions can cause different effects. For example, some can interfere with the functioning of the drug on the body, while others can increase side effects.
The following list does not contain all the drugs that may interact with Clonazepam, but some significant interactions are mentioned below:
- Opioids, such as hydrocodone and codeine; taking such drugs with Clonazepam can put you at the risk of severe drowsiness, shallow breathing, coma, or death.
- Benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, and triazolam. If this interaction occurs, you are likey to feel more sedated and drowsy.
- Barbiturate and nonbarbiturate sleep medications, such as butabarbital, amobarbital, pentobarbital, eszopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem. In this interaction also, you are likely to feel more sedated and drowsy.
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline and amitriptyline, in this drug interaction also, may feel more drowsy and sedated.
- Other medications used to treat anxiety such as hydroxyzine and buspirone. This drug interaction can also add more to your sedation and drowsiness. ‘
- Other medications used to treat seizures such as pregabalin and gabapentin. This severe drug interaction can also add more to your sedation and drowsiness.