Clonazepam | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

clonazepam, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Klonopin
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for clonazepam

Oral tablet
1

Clonazepam is used to treat panic disorder and seizures.

2

This drug comes in the forms of a tablet and disintegrating (dissolving) tablet you take by mouth.  

3

Clonazepam is available as a brand-name drug called Klonopin. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include drowsiness, problems with walking and coordination, dizziness, depression, and problems with memory.

5

In some cases, clonazepam can cause serious side effects. These can include suicidal thinking and behavior (thoughts or actions of harming yourself).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Slowed response time

Clonazepam is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This type of drug can slow down your brain’s activity and interfere with your judgment, thinking, and reaction time. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or use other drugs that can also slow down your brain’s activity while you’re taking this medication. You also shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other activities that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you.

Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Clonazepam can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior (thoughts or actions of harming yourself). Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.

What is clonazepam?

Clonazepam is a controlled substance drug. It’s available as an oral tablet or an orally disintegrating (dissolving) tablet.

Clonazepam is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Clonazepam may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Clonazepam is used to treat panic disorder. It’s also used to stop seizures.

How it works

Clonazepam belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.

More Details

How it works

Clonazepam belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Clonazepam works by increasing the activity of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is a chemical that sends signals throughout your nervous system. If you don’t have enough GABA, your body may be in an excited state. This may cause you to have panic attacks or seizures. When you take this drug, you’ll have more GABA in your body. This will help you have fewer panic attacks and seizures.

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clonazepam Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

The more common side effects of clonazepam can include:

  • drowsiness

  • problems with walking and coordination

  • dizziness

  • depression

  • fatigue

  • problems with memory

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Depressed mood or thoughts of suicide (harming yourself)

  • Seizures. These are more likely to happen if you stop taking this drug too quickly or if you already have a seizure disorder

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Clonazepam may cause drowsiness. This drug can slow down your brain’s activity and interfere with your judgment, thinking, and reaction time. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other activities that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you.

Clonazepam can cause dizziness and drowsiness during the first few hours after you take it.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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clonazepam May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Clonazepam can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of sedative effects from clonazepam. You may have slowed reflexes, poor judgment, and sleepiness. This can be dangerous. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs that increase the risk of side effects

Taking clonazepam with certain other medications may cause more side effects. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as triazolam and midazolam. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Narcotics, such as codeine and hydrocodone. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Barbiturate and non-barbiturate sleep drugs, such as amobarbital, butabarbital, eszopiclone, pentobarbital, zaleplon, and zolpidem. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Other drugs used to treat anxiety, such as buspirone and hydroxyzine. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Other drugs used to treat seizures, such as gabapentin and pregabalin. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Clonazepam warnings
depression
People with depression

Your depression might get worse while you’re taking this drug. If you have worsening symptoms of depression or any suicidal thoughts (thoughts of harming yourself), call your doctor right away.

acute narrow angle glaucoma
People with acute narrow angle glaucoma

You shouldn’t take this drug if you have acute narrow angle glaucoma. It can make your condition worse.

liver disease
People with liver disease

If you have liver problems, your body may not be able to clear this drug well. This can cause the drug to build up in your body. This puts you at a higher risk for side effects.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Clonazepam is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things: 

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. This drug should only be used during pregnancy in serious cases where it's needed to treat a dangerous condition in the mother.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Clonazepam passes into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

children
For children

This medication hasn’t been studied in children with panic disorders. It shouldn’t be used for the treatment of this condition in people younger than 18 years.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Clonazepam can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

acute porphyria warning
People with acute porphyria (an inherited blood disorder)

This drug can make your breathing issues worse. Ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you.

breathing problem warning
People with breathing problems
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How to Take clonazepam (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Panic disorder

Generic: clonazepam

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 0.125 mg, 0.25, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg

Brand: Klonopin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Typical starting dose:  0.25 mg taken twice per day
  • Dose increases: Your doctor may increase your dose to 0.5 mg taken two times per day after 3 days.
  • Maximum dose: 4 mg per day.
  • Dose reduction:  Your doctor should decrease your dose slowly when stopping treatment with this drug. They should decrease your dose by no more than 0.125 mg every 3 days. For example, if you were taking 2 mg two times per day, your doctor would decrease your dose to 1.875 mg taken two times per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that clonazepam is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years for this condition.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Seizures

Generic: clonazepam

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Form: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 0.125 mg, 0.25, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg

Brand: Klonopin

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Typical starting dose:  0.5 mg taken three times per day
  • Dose increases: Your doctor may increase your dose by 0.5–1 mg every 3 days until your seizures are controlled.
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg per day, taken in divided doses.
Child dosage (ages 11–17 years)
  • Typical starting dose: 0.5 mg taken three times per day 
  • Dose increases: Your doctor may increase your dose by 0.5–1 mg every 3 days until your seizures are controlled.
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg per day, taken in divided doses.  
Child dosage (ages 0–10 years or children who weigh 66 lbs. [30 kg] or less)
  • Typical starting dose:  0.01–0.03 mg/kg of body weight per day. The dose shouldn’t be more than 0.05 mg/kg per day given in 2–3 divided doses.
  • Dose increases: Your doctor may increase your child’s dose by 0.25–0.5 mg over 3 days until their seizures are controlled.
  • Maximum dose: 0.1–0.2 mg/kg per day taken in divided doses.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Clonazepam comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed. 

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take this drug, your panic disorder or seizures won’t get better and may get worse. If you stop taking it suddenly, you may have symptoms of withdrawal. These include irritability, trouble sleeping, and anxiety.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

You may have withdrawal symptoms if you don’t take the drug on schedule. 

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • sleepiness or drowsiness
  • confusion
  • trouble with coordination or slow reflexes
  • coma (being unconscious for a long time)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have fewer panic attacks or seizures.

This drug is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking clonazepam
take with or without food
You can take clonazepam with or without food
timing
Take this drug at the times recommended by your doctor
can cut or crush
You can cut or crush the tablet
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
Travel
Travel
See Details
Clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
prior authorization needed
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store clonazepam between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Kidney function. Your doctor may do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dose.
  • Mental health and behavioral problems. You and your doctor should watch for any unusual changes in your behavior and mood. This drug can cause new mental health and behavior problems. It can also make problems you already have worse.
  • Seizures. If you’re taking this drug for seizures, you and your doctor should monitor the number of seizures you have.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does clonazepam Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for clonazepam

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for clonazepam on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for clonazepam on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 12, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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