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.
How to use Clonazepam
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking clonazepam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
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.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures, mental/mood changes, shaking, stomach/muscle cramps) 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 right away.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk to your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
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.
See also Warning section.
Drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, loss of coordination, or 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).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including slow/shallow breathing.
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.
Before taking clonazepam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzodiazepines (such as diazepam, lorazepam); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a certain type of eye problem (narrow-angle glaucoma), a certain blood disorder (porphyria), liver disease, kidney disease, lung/breathing problems, mental/mood problems (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
For children, the long-term effects on physical and mental/behavioral development are uncertain and may not be seen until after many years. Therefore, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with clonazepam with your doctor.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug, especially drowsiness and confusion. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. However, since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning a pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.