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Clonazepam

Pronunciation

Generic Name: clonazepam (kloe-NAZ-e-pam)
Brand Name: Klonopin

Clonazepam is used for:

Controlling certain types of seizures in the treatment of epilepsy and for the treatment of panic disorders. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine. It works by increasing the activity of a naturally occurring chemical in the brain.

Do NOT use clonazepam if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in clonazepam or to another benzodiazepine (eg, diazepam)
  • you have a severe mental disorder, acute angle glaucoma, or severe liver disease
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using clonazepam:

Some medical conditions may interact with clonazepam. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of alcohol or substance abuse or dependence, or if you consume more than 3 alcohol-containing drinks per day
  • if you have a history of mental or mood problems (eg, depression, suicidal thoughts or attempts)
  • if you have myasthenia gravis (a condition in which the muscles become progressively weakened)
  • if you have angle-closure glaucoma, kidney or liver problems, or the blood disorder porphyria
  • if you have chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, or other breathing problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with clonazepam. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Methadone or sodium oxybate (GHB) because an increase in sleep duration and a decrease in the ability to breathe may occur
  • Paroxetine or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because side effects, including confusion, excessive sweating, fever, restlessness, seizures, and twitching, which can rarely be life-threatening, may occur
  • Antifungals (eg, fluconazole), cimetidine, disulfiram, hormonal contraceptives (eg, birth control pills), nefazodone, omeprazole, or valproic acid because they may increase the risk of clonazepam's side effects
  • Rifampin or St. John's wort because they may decrease clonazepam's effectiveness
  • Valproic acid because the effectiveness of both drugs may be decreased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if clonazepam may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use clonazepam:

Use clonazepam as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take clonazepam by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Swallow clonazepam whole with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL).
  • If you are taking clonazepam for the prevention of seizures, taking clonazepam at the same times each day will help you remember to take it.
  • Continue to take clonazepam even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses. Clonazepam works best when there is a constant level of clonazepam in your body.
  • If you miss a dose of clonazepam and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised by your health care provider. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use clonazepam.

Important safety information:

  • Clonazepam may cause drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, or difficulty with coordination. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use clonazepam with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Clonazepam may cause you to lose consciousness if you have a history of seizures. Use clonazepam with caution. Do not perform tasks that could be unsafe for you or others if you should lose consciousness (eg, driving, swimming, running heavy machinery).
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using clonazepam; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Patients who take clonazepam may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions. The risk may be greater in patients who have had suicidal thoughts or actions in the past. Watch patients who take clonazepam closely. Contact the doctor at once if new, worsened, or sudden symptoms such as anxious, restless, or irritable behavior; depressed mood; panic attacks; or any unusual change in mood or behavior occur. Contact the doctor right away if any signs of suicidal thoughts or actions occur.
  • Notify your doctor if seizure control worsens.
  • Carry an ID card at all times that says you take clonazepam if it is used for seizures.
  • Lab tests, including liver function, complete blood cell counts, and electrocardiograms, may be performed while you use clonazepam. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use clonazepam with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially confusion and drowsiness.
  • Clonazepam should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old with panic disorder; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Clonazepam may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using clonazepam while you are pregnant. Clonazepam is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking clonazepam.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, clonazepam may not work as well and may require higher doses to obtain the same effect as when originally taken. This is known as TOLERANCE. Talk with your doctor if clonazepam stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

When used for longer than a few weeks or at high doses, some people develop a need to continue taking clonazepam. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. If you stop taking clonazepam suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include abnormal thoughts or behavioral disorder, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, personality changes, or loss of contact with reality; convulsions (seizures); insomnia; stomach and muscle cramps; tremor. Do not suddenly stop taking clonazepam. If you need to stop clonazepam, your doctor will lower your dose over time.

Possible side effects of clonazepam:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; cough; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; increased saliva production; lightheadedness; loss of coordination; nausea; runny nose; tiredness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); behavior changes; blurred vision or other vision changes; change in appetite; change in the amount of urine produced or painful urination; changes in sexual function; confusion; dark urine; excessive hair growth or loss; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; irregular heartbeat; memory loss or problems; muscle aches or weakness; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, agitation, aggression, anxiety, behavior changes, depression, hostility, irritability, nervousness); new or worsening seizures; painful menstrual periods; pale stools; severe drowsiness; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; slow or shallow breathing; slurred speech or other speech problems; suicidal thoughts or actions; tremor; unusual bruising or bleeding; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include clumsiness; confusion; difficult or slow breathing; dizziness; drowsiness leading to unresponsiveness or coma; lightheadedness, especially upon standing; loss of consciousness.

Proper storage of clonazepam:

Store clonazepam at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep clonazepam out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about clonazepam, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Clonazepam is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take clonazepam or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about clonazepam. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to clonazepam. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using clonazepam.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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