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Clonazepam, Oral Tablet

Highlights for clonazepam

  1. Clonazepam oral tablet is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Klonopin.
  2. Clonazepam comes as both an oral tablet and an oral disintegrating (dissolving) tablet.
  3. Clonazepam is used to treat panic disorder and seizures.
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Important warnings

Important warnings

FDA warning: Dangerous effects with opioid use.
  • This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
  • Using clonazepam with opioid drugs can cause dangerous effects. These can include severe drowsiness, slowed breathing, coma, and death. If your doctor prescribes clonazepam with an opioid, they will monitor you closely. Examples of opioids include hydrocodone, codeine, and tramadol.
  • Slowed response time warning: 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.

About

What is clonazepam?

Clonazepam oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Klonopin. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Clonazepam comes as both an oral tablet and an oral disintegrating (dissolving) tablet.

Clonazepam is a controlled substance drug.

Why it's used

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

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

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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Side effects

Clonazepam side effects

Clonazepam oral tablet 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. It can cause other side effects as well.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of clonazepam oral tablet 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 911 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

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.

Interactions

Clonazepam may interact with other medications

Clonazepam oral tablet 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.

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 lorazepam, clonazepam, triazolam, and midazolam. You may feel more sedated and drowsy.
  • Opioids, such as codeine and hydrocodone. Taking these drugs with clonazepam puts you at serious risk of severe drowsiness, slowed breathing, coma, or death.
  • Barbiturate and nonbarbiturate 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.

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Other warnings

Clonazepam warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

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.

Allergy warning

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).

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For 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.

For 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.

For 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.

Warnings for other groups

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

For women who are breastfeeding: Clonazepam passes into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

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.

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.

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Dosage

How to take clonazepam

This dosage information is for clonazepam 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

Forms and strengths

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

Dosage for panic disorder

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.

Dosage for seizures

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 every 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.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Clonazepam oral tablet is used for short-term treatment. It comes with 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 911 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.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking clonazepam

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes clonazepam oral tablet.

General

  • You can take clonazepam with or without food.
  • Take this drug at the times recommended by your doctor.
  • You can cut or crush the tablet.
  • Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.

Storage

  • 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.

Refills

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.

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Alternatives

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.

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.

Article Resources

Klonopin tablets (clonazepam). (2016, December). Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/017533s058lbl.pdf

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