Klonopin is the brand name for Klonzepam, a drug belonging to the family of Benzodiazepines. This drug is known for its an anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic (medicine used to treat anxiety) and hypnotic properties. Klonopin is long lasting than any other Benzodiazepines, with its influence in the body lasting for 18-20 hours. It is mainly used to treat seizures, anxiety and panic attacks.
Klonopin, with its anticonvulsant properties, soothes the nerves when administered in patients with seizures. After a prescribed period of use, patients can withdraw it without the seizures returning. In some patients who stopped the medicine, the seizures did show a comeback. But, it is proved that a rapid administration of the drug in higher doses considerably reduced the seizures. Similarly, it acts as an anxiolytic for patients with severe anxiety disorder and panic attacks.
Klonopin is a slow acting drug. Its influence on the body lasts nearly the whole day. The drug's effectiveness is rated as high and one of the good things about it is that the toxicity when overdosed is comparatively low.
Klonopin is a highly effective drug in the field of epilepsy and anxiety. But like any other drug, Klonopin also shows tolerance, dependency and withdrawal symptoms among users. And, in a typical Benzodiazepines way, Klonopin also tend to show paradoxical effects in patients.
• Long term
Using Klonopin for an extended period of time may result in depression, sexual dysfunction and disinhibition. Cognitive impairments as a result of long term use might even prevail up to six month after the cessation of the drug.
The common side effects of Klonopin include a sense of euphoria, drowsiness and reduced motor and cognitive functions.
• Less Common
The below mentioned side effects of Klonopin are less common but still reported. They include irritability, confusion, hallucination, change in libido, short-term memory loss, impaired motor and cognitive functions, loss of balance and dizziness.
The medicine's long half-life causes some patients to experience symptoms similar to experiencing a hangover, like, sluggishness, headaches and drowsiness.
The occasional side effects include paradoxical effects like, increased frequency of seizures, mood and personality changes and serious psychiatric and psychological effects.
Though rarely, these side effects have known to have occurred in patients using Klonopin. They include liver damage, psychosis, rage, worsening of seizures, impulsivity, incontinence and excitement.
Klonopin studies have found that it is an effective medicine to control seizures in children. The drug, even at lower dosages seems to have a great effect in the treatment of child epilepsy. But, research conducted proves that the drug has no such effect in the treatment of spasms found in infants. Also, the drug, as compared to others in the same family of Benzodiazepines, is less effective in reducing seizures in infants.
But, doctors do not advise using the drug in children, especially young children due to the possible hazardous side effects.
Since, the metabolic rate in the elderly are much slower, the drug has a longer half-life when administered. So, the dosages for the elderly tend to be half of what is given to a young adult. Also, elderly people tend to have an increased risk of side effects from klonopin.
Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to stay away from taking the drug. Studies have shown that using klonopin in early pregnancy may result in fetal damage. Though there is no conclusive evidence to support any developmental or IQ impairment, it is safe to avoid the medicine for its general side effects.
Sudden and abrupt cessation of the drug may result in displaying withdrawal symptoms among patients. These symptoms include psychosis, anxiety, aggressiveness, irritability and hallucinations. Sometimes, though rarely, sudden withdrawal of the medicine may induce status epilepticus- a continuous and persistent state of seizure. It is a particularly life threatening condition. The withdrawal effect can be reduced considerably by gradually reducing dosage before completely withdrawing it.
Klonopin, being a sedative-hypnotic, has the potential to be misused as a recreational drug. Studies show that klonopin accounts to the highest number of drug abuse and overdose among Benzodiazepines. Overdosing on klonopin might result in the patients displaying nausea, somnolence, hypotension, impaired motor and cognitive function and even coma.