Clonazepam

Brand names of clonazepam

  • Alti-Clonazepam
  • Apo-Clonazepam
  • Clonapam
  • Dom-Clonazepam
  • Gen-Clonazepam
  • Med-Clonazepam
  • Novo-Clonazepam
  • Nu-Clonazepam
  • PMS-Clonazepam
  • Rhoxal-Clonazepam
  • Riva-Clonazepam
  • Rivotril

Clonazepam belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines and is used to treat anxiety. Some of the other medications belonging to this group of drugs include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane) and lorazepam (Ativan). All drugs belonging to the benzodiazepine family work by augmenting the influences of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) within the brain. It may be mentioned here that GABA is a neurotransmitter - a chemical substance present in the brain that is used by the nerves to communicate with one another. GABA is responsible for slowing down the functioning of the brain. It is understood that too much activity within the brain may result in anxiety and other psychiatric problems. In addition, clonazepam is also prescribed to put off specific types of convulsions.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking clonazepam

As in the instance of using any other prescription drug, prior to starting treatment with clonazepam, you need to inform your physician or pharmacist whether you have any allergic reactions on taking this medication, to any or its ingredients, any drug belonging to the class of benzodiazepines (for instance, lorazepam or diazepam), or any other form of allergies. Remember that clonazepam may enclose a number of inactive elements which may cause allergies or other problems and, hence, it is advisable that if you are not sure about the contents of this drug, you should ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list of the same.

Before you start using clonazepam, it is important to inform your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you have ever had or are suffering from any liver and kidney ailment; a particular type of eye disorder called narrow angle glaucoma; are suffering from any breathing or lung problems; have a mental mood problem, for instance, suicidal thought or depression; continuous abuse of alcohol or drugs as well as other substances. Using clonazepam may cause drowsiness and light-headedness. Therefore, it is advisable that while taking this medication you do not undertake any activity, for instance, driving or operating a machine, which may require alertness and clear vision till you are sure about the effect of the medication on your body. People undergoing treatment with clonazepam should always keep away from consuming alcoholic beverages, as it will only aggravate their symptoms.

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In case you need to undergo a surgery, including dental operation, tell your surgeon/ dentist that you are already taking clonazepam. Also tell them about all the other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal medications and dietary supplements that you are already taking. It is not certain whether this drug has any lasting effects on the physical as well as the mental behaviour on children, and even if it has they are actually noticeable after several years of having used this medication. Hence, it is important that you consult your physician regarding the hazards as well as benefits of using clonazepam. In addition, elderly people undergoing treatment with clonazepam ought to be more cautious as they are more susceptible to the side effects caused by this medicine, such as drowsiness, confusion and light-headedness.

Clonazepam should be given to pregnant women only when it is absolutely necessary for their condition, as this medication is like to cause harm to the fetus. Nevertheless, as untreated convulsions are always a grave health condition which has the aptitude to cause harm to the pregnant woman as well her still born baby, never stop taking clonazepam till you are asked by your physician to do so. In case you are planning to get pregnant, have become pregnant while taking this medication or believe that you may be pregnant, contact your physician right away. Moreover, you should also discuss the benefits and risks of taking clonazepam during pregnancy.

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Clonazepam is known to pass onto the breast milk and is likely to cause unwanted effects on the nursing baby. Hence, it is advisable that women who are breast-feeding should not use this medication. Nevertheless, if you are already taking this medicine, you should talk to your physician prior to breast-feeding.

Usage

Clonazepam belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines and is prescribed to put off as well as contain seizures. Clonazepam is also known as an anti-epileptic or anticonvulsant drug. In addition to controlling convulsions, this medication is also employed to cure panic attacks. It works by soothing the brain and the nerves.

How to use clonazepam

Clonazepam is available in a tablet as well as disintegrating tablet (tablets that dissolve in the mouth very fast) form and is taken orally. Normally, this medication is taken once to thrice daily either with or without food. It is important to take clonazepam at the same time(s) every day and also carefully follow the instructions on the prescription label. In case you are unable to follow any point or have any query, seek the help of your physician or pharmacist.

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Never apply force to open the orally disintegrating clonazepam tablet from the foil, but peel the foil package using dry hands. Take out the tablet and put it inside your mouth instantly. This tablet will soon dissolve in your mouth and you can swallow it along with or even without any liquid. Initially, your physician is likely to start your treatment with a low dose of the medication and increase the dosage gradually, once in three days or so.

Here is a word of caution: taking clonazepam may often turn into a habit. Therefore, it is advisable that never take this medication in dosage more than what has been prescribed. Also, do not take clonazepam more frequently or for a prolonged period than what has been recommended by your physician. You should always take clonazepam strictly as you have been directed to take it. It is advisable that you should neither take more or less of the dosage of this medication than what your physician has prescribed.

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While clonazepam is useful in controlling your condition, it does not help to cure the condition. The benefits of using this medication are not evident immediately, but it may take some weeks or even more for you to feel the complete benefits of using clonazepam. It is important to continue taking clonazepam and complete the regimen even if you start feeling better after a few weeks of treatment with this medication. Never discontinue taking this medication without the consent of your physician even if you undergo the side effects of the medication, such as abnormal changes in your mood or conduct. Remember, discontinuing this medication all of a sudden may give rise to withdrawal symptoms like profuse sweating, changes in mood and behaviour, hallucinations (for instance hearing voices or seeing things that actually do not exist), worsening of the seizures, muscle or stomach cramps, nervousness, involuntary trembling of the body parts and/ or finding it difficult to fall asleep or remain asleep. When you need to stop taking clonazepam, your physician will gradually lessen the dosage of the medication for some time and then ask you to discontinue with it.

How clonazepam works

Normally, using the benzodiazepine drug clonazepam causes a gentle sedation by means of inhibiting the functioning of the central nervous system that includes the brain and the spinal cord. Precisely speaking, clonazepam seems to augment the influence of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for slowing down the transmission of neurons, thereby, lessening the excitement of the nerves.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • light-headedness
  • loss of coordination
  • slurred speech
  • unsteady gait
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
The use of the herb hawthorn while taking clonazepam may possibly result in negative reactions and side effects. Similarly, the use of herbs like kava kava and valerian is likely to cause drowsiness or interact additively. In effect, the use of kava kava as well as valerian may worsen the depression of the central nervous system and, hence, it is advisable to avoid taking these herbs in conjunction with clonazepam. In addition, other herbs like ma huang, Siberian ginseng, kola nut and mate may also dull the effects of this medication. Although the herb St. John's wort is recommended for treating anxiety, this herb is also understood to induce or increase cytochrome P450 enzymes and will have an inclination to dull the effectiveness of clonazepam when used together with this medication.
Alcohol:
Consumption of alcoholic beverages is likely to enhance the depressant consequence of clonazepam on the brain. Hence, it is suggested that people taking this medication should totally keep away from alcohol all through the day as well as night in case they are required to drive or engage themselves in any type of activities that involves some risks.
Marijuana smoking:
People who smoke marijuana while undergoing treatment with clonazepam may experience an augmented sedation as well as considerable damage to their intellectual as well as physical activities.

Discontinuation

In case clonazepam was prescribed to control any type of convulsion, never stop taking this medication all of a sudden or without the consent of your physician. Also do not discontinue with clonazepam suddenly if you have been taking it for over four weeks at a stretch. Prior to stopping this medication, you need to gradually lessen the dosage with a view to avoid any withdrawal syndrome.

Storage instructions

Clonazepam should always be stored in the container in which it was made available and kept in a place that is beyond the reach of children. In addition, this medication needs to be stored at room temperature and at a dark and moisture-free place. It should never be kept in a place where there is excessive heat and dampness, for instance, your bathroom. When any medication becomes outdated or is needed no longer discard it in a proper manner. It is advisable that you consult your pharmacist or any waste disposal company regarding the appropriate and safe disposal of all such unwanted medications.

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