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Is clonazepam a controlled substance?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 16, 2022.

Official answer


Yes, clonazepam is a benzodiazepine prescription drug and is classified by the DEA as Schedule IV controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse relative to other drugs in Schedule III (for example, codeine or buprenorphine) but can still be abused. Abuse may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence.

Examples of Schedule IV benzodiazepines include:

  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • midazolam (Versed, brand discontinued)
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • triazolam (Halcion)

Clonazepam has accepted medical uses in the U.S. and is approved by the FDA to treat:

  • seizures in some types of epilepsy in adults and children (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, akinetic and myoclonic seizures, absence seizures).
  • panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia, an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and panic) in adults.

It is available as a generic oral tablet and orally-disintegrating tablet, or as a brand name tablet known as Klonopin.

Why is clonazepam a controlled substance?

Clonazepam is in the benzodiazepine category of drugs. This group of medicines has been associated with abuse, misuse and diversion. Abuse may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. Keep clonazepam in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse.

Schedule IV drugs have a lower potential for abuse relative to other drugs in Schedule 3, but can still be abused. In addition, withdrawal symptoms may occur after the discontinuation of benzodiazepines.

Selling or giving away clonazepam may harm other people and is illegal. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever abused or have been dependent on alcohol, prescription medications or street drugs.

When did clonazepam become a controlled substance?

Clonazepam was first approved by the FDA in June of 1975. At that time, the DEA assigned it as a controlled substance based on the rules of the Controlled Substances Act. The Controlled Substances Act became effective on May 1, 1971.

Does clonazepam cause withdrawal symptoms?

Yes, clonazepam can cause withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to serious. Gradual withdrawal is essential when discontinuing clonazepam.

Rapid withdrawal may lead to the occurrence of severe seizures. Other severe withdrawal symptoms can include psychosis, hallucinations, behavioral disorder, tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps.

Generally milder withdrawal symptoms such as dysphoria (a extreme sense of unease or discontent) and insomnia (trouble sleeping) may occur when benzodiazepines are taken at therapeutic doses for several months.

Your doctor should develop a slow tapering schedule over a period of time if you stop treatment to help prevent side effects from benzodiazepine withdrawal. Do not stop treatment without speaking to your healthcare provider first.

How much does clonazepam cost?

  • The generic version clonazepam is very affordable for most people, typically costing less than $15 per 30 tablets at the pharmacy. If you have insurance coverage, your plan should pay for the generic, minus your copay.
  • Brand name Klonopin tablets can range from $90 to $130 for 30 tablets depending upon your drug strength, location, pharmacy and if a discount coupon is accepted.
  • Discount coupons are available, but some pharmacies will not accept coupons for controlled substances. Call the pharmacy to check.

This is not all the information you need to know about clonazepam (Klonopin) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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