What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a medication used to prevent and control seizures. It is also prescribed to treat panic disorders with regular panic attacks. Seizure disorders like absence seizures, Lennox-gastaut syndrome, and panic disorders, including agoraphobia, can be treated with Clonazepam.
Some of its off-label uses also include treating insomnia due to its tranquilizing effect. Clonazepam is a part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which increases the effect of GABA, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that reduces abnormal activity in the brain and helps prevent seizures.
How does Clonazepam function?
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine Benzos enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric Acid. GABA is known to act as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks or inhibits the initiation, sending, or receiving of chemical signals or messages from one nerve cell to the other. When you have a seizure or a panic attack, your brain is overactive. It increases GABA levels, decreasing the brain’s abnormal activity and reducing the symptoms of seizures and panic attacks.
What are the possible side effects of Clonazepam?
The common side effects are-
- Feeling light head
- Loss of coordination
- Increased saliva production
The common side effects of Clonazepam should decrease with time. It is suggested that you inform your doctor if they persist or get worse.
The severe side effects of Clonazepam are-
- Sudden changes in mood
- Memory problems
- Signs of depression
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempt
The severe side effects are unlikely to be seen. However, it is advised that you immediately look for medical help if you notice them.
A severe allergic reaction to Clonazepam is rare, and it is advised that you inform your doctor and call for medical assistance if you notice side effects like rashes, itching or swelling of the throat, tongue, or face, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
How long does Clonazepam stay in your system?
The half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes half of the active rug to leave the system. It is likely to remain unchanged or unaltered irrespective of the dose or the duration of treatment. Clonazepam has a lengthy half-life of 30 to 40 hours. It usually takes a drug 5 to 6 half-life to be entirely eliminated from the body, so it would take approximately 6 to 9 days to be removed from the body. Some tests can still detect Clonazepam after your last dose-
Urine test – These are uncommon but can detect Clonazepam 4 to 6 days after your previous dose.
Blood test- These tests can detect the presence of Clonazepam for 5 to 6 days after your last dose.
Saliva test- Clonazepam can be found in the saliva for about 5 to 6 days after your previous dose.
Hair follicle test – Hair takes a long time to grow and, therefore, can detect Clonazepam for three months after your last dose.
Precautions to be taken while using Clonazepam
Clonazepam can be addictive and habit-forming, especially if you have previously abused or misused a substance. It is suggested that you use your medications in moderation. It would be best to inform your doctor about your medical history, especially liver disease, kidney disease, breathing problems, glaucoma, and substance use disorder.
It can cause dizziness or drowsiness, and it is recommended that you abstain from alcohol, cannabis products, and other CNS depressants, as they can aggravate your side effects. If you have been using it for a long time, you may develop dependence or tolerance to it, and it is advised that you inform your doctor if you think the dosage given to you isn’t working instead of increasing it on your own.
How should you have Clonazepam?
It is orally administered to patients to treat panic disorders and seizures. You can have it with or without food as directed by your physician. The usual adult dosage for seizures is 1mg to 2mg, divided into three doses throughout the day. The maximum dosage should not increase more than 20mg a day.
The adult dosage for panic disorder is 1mg, to be taken once a day with a maximum dosage of 4mg daily. Its dosage administered to you by your prescribing doctor will be based on your medical condition and response to treatment.