Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced to treat seizures and certain types of anxiety disorders.
Clonazepam, a type of anti-epileptic drug, is used to treat certain seizure disorders (including absence seizures or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) in adults and children.
Clonazepam is also used to treat panic disorder (including agoraphobia) in adults.
You should not use clonazepam if you have narrow-angle glaucoma or severe liver disease, or if you are allergic to diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) or a similar medicine.
Call your doctor if you have any new or worsening symptoms of depression, unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine. Clonazepam may be habit-forming. Never share clonazepam with another person. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away clonazepam is against the law.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take clonazepam if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- severe liver disease; or
- a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine, such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), chlordiazepoxide, flurazepam, and others.
To make sure clonazepam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney or liver disease;
- porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system);
- asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;
- depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior;
- mental illness, psychosis, or addiction to drugs or alcohol; or
- if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.
Some people have thoughts about suicide when taking seizure medication. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking seizure medication if you are pregnant. Do not start or stop taking this medicine without your doctor’s advice, and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Clonazepam may cause harm to an unborn baby, and may cause breathing or feeding problems in a newborn. But having seizures during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of clonazepam on the baby.
Clonazepam can pass into breast milk, but effects on the nursing baby are not known. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice. Clonazepam is not approved to treat panic disorder in anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take clonazepam?
Take clonazepam exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Clonazepam may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
Clonazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medication for longer than 9 weeks without your doctor’s advice.
Swallow the tablet whole, with a full glass of water.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.
Do not stop using clonazepam suddenly or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including a seizure (convulsions). Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Call your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your seizures or anxiety symptoms.
Seizures are often treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor’s advice.
Store clonazepam at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.