Taking medication for a mental health problem can be life-changing, but it’s important to know the side effects and risks of those medications. Klonopin is the brand name of clonazepam, which is often prescribed to control certain types of seizures or to treat anxiety, panic attacks or trouble sleeping.
Taking Klonopin can help people control their symptoms and return to their usual activities. However, there are some side effects and risks that should be considered when taking this medication. Learning the uses and side effects of Klonopin can help to avoid misuse, abuse or dependence.
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a type of medication known as a depressant, which helps reduce activity in the body and brain. Klonopin medication works by targeting chemical imbalances or blocking certain receptors in the brain. It produces a sedative or tranquilizing effect.
The sedative effect of Klonopin helps people to feel calm and relaxed. This effect is beneficial for people who need the medication for medical purposes, but it also makes Klonopin a target for misuse or abuse.
Klonopin is recommended for short-term use only. Long-term use can harm the brain’s reward system or cause drug dependence or tolerance to develop.
Some of the effects of Klonopin, like sleepiness or feeling calm, are similar to other types of drugs. Klonopin is often misclassified as a narcotic. However, Klonopin is classified as a benzo and is different from narcotics in its use and side effects.
Uses for Klonopin
Klonopin can be used as a medication for many conditions. Klonopin works by enhancing the effects of a chemical called GAMA, which has a calming or sedative effect on the brain.
Increases in GAMA can help to treat seizures as well as a range of mental health conditions. What Klonopin does is help reduce overactivity in the brain that can be the cause of anxiety, panic or difficulty sleeping. The conditions that Klonopin might be prescribed for include:
- Sleep Problems
- Depression, in combination with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Alcohol Withdrawal
- Akathisia (restlessness of feeling the need to constantly move)
Klonopin may be used on its own or in combination with other medications. Combinations of medications should always be discussed and cleared by a doctor before they’re used.
Dosage and Administration
Klonopin is prescribed based on individual tolerance, illness severity and individual characteristics like size and weight. The medication comes as a tablet, fast-dissolving tablets or wafers and is taken orally. A doctor may prescribe for it to be taken one to three times a day, with or without food.
Tablets usually come in a Klonopin dosage of 0.5 mg, 1 mg or 2 mg, and wafers are available in lower doses, starting at 0.125 mg. Klonopin can be prescribed to be taken on an as-needed basis or following a daily dose.
Proper Administration Methods
Administration of Klonopin should be medically supervised so that a doctor can check whether a dose is appropriate and monitor any possible side effects. A low dose should be used at first to avoid uncomfortable side effects.
Klonopin is a prescription medication approved for use in certain medical conditions, and should not be used without a prescription. Using Klonopin without supervision or a prescription can increase the risk of harm and overdose.
How Klonopin is Abused
A common type of Klonopin abuse is by accessing multiple prescriptions through different doctors and taking higher-than-recommended doses. This type of misuse usually occurs with tablets or wafers. People abusing Klonopin might take consistently high doses on a daily basis, or take very high doses at a time more sporadically.
Recreationally, some users may snort or inject Klonopin. Overall, these methods are less typical and are more likely to occur when a person is abusing other drugs or injectables. People may abuse Klonopin as a way to “come down” from the effects of stimulant drugs, to enhance the high of other drugs or to help them feel relaxed. This type of abuse increases the risk of overdose.
What Does Klonopin Look Like?
Klonopin comes as a tablet or wafer. Klonopin looks like many other medications but might have a “K” cut in the middle. Tablets and wafers are round and some wafers might have the dose printed on the medication. Klonopin pictures show that the color of Klonopin tablets might vary depending on the dose.
Klonopin is the most common brand name of the generic drug clonazepam. Clonazepam is sometimes sold under the brand name Rivotril internationally, but this is not as common in the United States.
Klonopin Side Effects
The sedative effects of Klonopin can control seizures and reduce panic attacks, but there are also risks involved with taking the medication. People using this medication can experience short and long-term side effects. The experience of side effects can depend on a person’s tolerance to the medication and are usually experienced at the beginning of using Klonopin.
Common Klonopin side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty with thinking or memory
- Feeling unsteady or uncoordinated
- Muscle or joint pain
These side effects can impact a person’s ability to drive or operate heavy machinery safely, and these activities should be avoided. In rare cases, a person might have a more serious reaction like shortness of breath or losing consciousness. In this case, medical assistance should be contacted immediately.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
There is a risk of developing a dependence on Klonopin, regardless of whether it is taken in small doses and if it is taken as prescribed. The addictive effects of Klonopin can be more dangerous if combined with other types of drugs like opioids.
Using Klonopin frequently or in high doses can increase the risk of addiction or dependence. In some cases, Klonopin dependence might not be noticeable until a person tries to stop taking the drug. A person who is dependent on Klonopin will experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.
Even if someone is dependent on Klonopin, it is dangerous to stop the drug without tapering. Treatment for Klonopin addiction should include tapering the drug slowly over weeks or months.
If you or someone you care about is affected by an addiction to Klonopin or any other substance, contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health today to discuss treatment options.
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Jones, Jermaine; et al. “Polydrug abuse: a review of opioid and benzodiazepine combination use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, September 2012. Accessed July 24, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.