Clonazepam (clo-NAZE-i-pam)


Generic Name: Clonazepam (clo-NAZE-i-pam)

Used to Treat: epilepsy

Seizure Type: All seizure types

Forms of the medicine:

1.5 mg. - 20 mg

General Info:
What is Klonopin?
Klonopin (KLON-o-pin) belongs to a family of drugs called benzodiazepine (ben-zo-di-AZEi-peens). It is quickly absorbed from the intestine after being taken by mouth and reaches peak levels in 1 to 2 hours. The generic formulation of Klonopin is known as clonazepam. It may be prescribed for a variety of seizure types and syndromes, including absence seizures, myoclonic, atonic (drop attacks), seizures of focal onset (known as partial seizures) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is most often used as an add-on drug to other antiepileptic drugs.

How do I take Klonopin?
Klonopin can be habit-forming. It is important to take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

Klonopin is manufactured in two forms: tablet and wafer. The tablets should be swallowed whole and may or may not be taken with food. The wafers are designed to dissolve without water. Be sure to dry your hands before removing from the packet.

Tolerance may develop with long-term or excessive use, making the drug less effective. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. Do not skip doses even if you feel that you do not need them. In most patients, Klonopin is usually prescribed for a period of 4 to 6 months, though at times your doctor may decide to keep you on this medication for a longer period of time. You should never stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, irritability and occasionally psychotic symptoms), including seizures. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options for you. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately. If you experience persistent upset stomach, vomiting, or loss of appetite contact your doctor immediately.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Allergic reactions (rashes, hives, difficulty breathing / swallowing, etc)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Chest congestion
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors

Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Protect the wafers from light. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Women who are taking this medication and who wish to become pregnant should discuss treatment options with their physicians before their pregnancy. Klonopin passes into breast milk and it is not known whether the medication will affect a nursing infant. Do not take Klonopin without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Other helpful information
Klonopin may cause drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or difficulty with coordination. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Klonopin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it. Klonopin may cause you to lose consciousness if you have a history of seizures. Do not perform tasks that could be unsafe for you or others if you should lose consciousness. Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness while you are using Klonopin.

Side Effects

Poor coordination, Behavior changes, Unsteadiness, Sleepiness, Fatigue, Drowsiness, Blurred or double vision, Dizziness