Klonopin Side Effects from Use, Misuse & Addiction
Klonopin, a brand name for clonazepam, is a prescription medication that is used to treat certain types of seizure disorders as well as panic disorder.1 Klonopin is a benzodiazepine, and benzodiazepines are sedatives that induce sleepiness and relaxation by calming an overexcited central nervous system (CNS).2
Klonopin is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substance Act, which means it has a low potential for misuse and dependence development.2,3 However, even drugs that have a low potential risk can still be misused. While benzodiazepines like Klonopin are available only with a prescription, like many other types of medication they can be misused. In fact, Klonopin use can lead to dependence even if it is used as prescribed, which is why it is often taken only for short periods of time.1 Misuse occurs when you take Klonopin in unintended ways; this can include crushing the pill and snorting it, taking someone else’s prescription, or taking more than prescribed.2
Furthermore, Klonopin is also misused when it is taken with other substances, such as opioids, to enhance the euphoric effects of both substances.2 Klonopin misuse typically occurs at higher doses and with polysubstance use, which can increase the risk of adverse health effects.4
Find Out if Your Insurance Plan Covers Klonopin Addiction Treatment
American Addiction Centers can help people recover from Klonopin misuse and substance use disorders (SUDs). To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, click here, or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.
Side Effects of Klonopin Use & Misuse
Like with many other prescription medications, you may experience side effects when taking Klonopin. Side effects can range in intensity and may differ when you combine Klonopin with other substances.
Klonopin is a sedative and common side effects include:1
- Difficulty concentrating and memory problems.
- Impaired coordination.
There are serious risks associated with combining Klonopin with other substances—including alcohol, opioids, and other CNS depressants—and polysubstance use is the most common form of benzo misuse. People who use benzodiazepines along with other substances typically ingest higher doses of benzos than people who use benzos alone.4 Using Klonopin with substances such as opioids or alcohol can lead to severe sedation as well as respiratory depression (suppressed breathing), which can be fatal.5
People who use opioids and benzodiazepines together are at an increased risk of requiring emergency care and being admitted to the hospital for a drug-related injury or health problem. Overdose and overdose deaths often occur in the context of polysubstance use, specifically when combining Klonopin with opioids, alcohol, and other CNS depressants. It is widely known that there is a risk of overdose when using opioids; and combining benzos and opioids increases the risk of experiencing a life-threatening or fatal overdose.5
Symptoms of overdose can include:2
- Significant drowsiness and severe sedation.
- Respiratory depression/slowed breathing.
- Confusion or a loss of consciousness.
- Slow, shallow, or stopped breathing.
Overdose from Klonopin, without the presence of other drugs or alcohol, typically results in significant central nervous system depression and oversedation which may range from mild to moderate drowsiness to a coma-like, stuporous state. It’s rarely life-threatening, and oversedation can be reversed by a prescription drug called flumazenil.5
Mixing Klonopin with opioids, alcohol or other sedatives can lead to substantial and even life-threatening respiratory depression, slowing and even stopping breathing.2
If you suspect overdose, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.2
Long-Term Clonazepam Side Effects
Long-term adverse effects are possible with long-term clonazepam use. As previously mentioned, clonazepam, and benzodiazepines in general, are only intended for short-term use; this usually means a period of weeks or months according to the FDA, and it is unknown if clonazepam is safe and/or effective for longer than 9 weeks.5
Long-term use of Klonopin can lead to negative health consequences such as addiction and physiological dependence, which means that a person has withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.1
Abrupt discontinuation of Klonopin is not recommended due to the risk of experiencing potentially severe withdrawal symptoms. You are at a higher risk of experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms if you have taken Klonopin in high doses over a longer period.8 Experiencing withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:8
If you think you may have developed Klonopin dependence or addiction, it is not recommended that you stop taking the drug without speaking to your doctor or a medical professional who can help you manage withdrawal symptoms, which may be severe and even potentially fatal.9
Addiction is a complex disorder that can lead to significant impairment in many areas of your life, including at home, at work, and with family and friends.10(1st paragraph) Substance use disorders (SUDs) are treatable disorders; however, treatment isn’t uniform or finite. In fact, treatment for addiction and SUDs is complex and unique to each person.10(green box)
Treatment occurs in a variety of settings, and together with a medical/addiction professional, you will create a treatment plan that involves settings and services unique to you, your substance use history, and overall needs and treatment goals.
While there are currently no approved medications for treating sedative use disorders, medical detox and withdrawal management may be needed to manage potentially severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures, safely and comfortably.9
Treatment settings for Klonopin addiction can include:9,10
- Medical detox.
- Inpatient treatment programs.
- Outpatient rehab including behavioral therapy.
- Support groups and aftercare services.
Klonopin addiction treatment may begin with medically managed detox, but detox alone is rarely sufficient treatment to support long-term abstinence. Behavioral therapies following detox can help significantly to avoid a return to substance use.10 Elements of effective comprehensive treatment are listed below.10
- Treatment plans are continuously being monitored and modified according to your changing needs.
- Treatment plans include a variety of services to address all aspects of you, including your physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Ancillary services such as housing and occupational training may be included in your treatment plan.
- Education, life skills training, and relapse prevention strategies are addressed based on your level of need.
- Long-term follow-up services such as aftercare planning, mutual help groups, and recovery housing may be included to help prevent relapse.
Effective treatment helps you:10
- Stop using drugs and/or alcohol.
- Prevent relapse and remain substance-free.
- Be productive and fulfill your obligations to home, work, and with your family.
Recovery is a process that has no finite end, and your needs will continue to evolve throughout your journey. If you are thinking about ending your addiction, don’t wait another day. Effective treatment options are available to you right now.
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