Clonazepam is used to prevent and control seizures. This medication is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. It is also used to treat panic attacks. Clonazepam works by calming your brain and nerves. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times daily. Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. For children, the dose is also based on weight. Older adults usually start with a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than directed. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
If you have several different types of seizure disorders, you may experience a worsening of seizures when you first start using clonazepam. Consult your doctor right away if this happens. Your doctor may need to add or adjust the dose of your other medications to control the seizures. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Products that may interact with this drug include: sodium oxybate.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
Common side effects of Clonazepam include:
- Loss of coordination
- Increased saliva production may occur
If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior, including: confusion, memory problems, signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.