Klonopin is prescribed to treat the following conditions:
- panic disorder in adults that happens with or without agoraphobia
- certain seizure disorders in adults and some children
We’ll explain more about this in the “What do you take Klonopin for?” section below.
Klonopin belongs to a drug class called benzodiazepines. (A drug class is a group of drugs that work in a similar way.) Klonopin contains the active drug clonazepam.
Klonopin comes as tablets you take by mouth.
Klonopin is a brand-name medication. It’s also available as a generic drug known as clonazepam.
Your medical professional can advise you on how much Klonopin to take and how often. It’s important to follow the instructions they provide. Commonly prescribed dosages are mentioned below, but it’s vital to always take the dosage your medical professional recommends.
Form and strengths (0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg)
Klonopin comes as tablets you take by mouth.
They’re available in the following strengths: 0.5 milligrams (mg), 1 mg, and 2 mg.
Dosage for panic disorder
The usual dosage range of Klonopin for panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder) is 0.5 mg to 4 mg per day. For this use, you’ll likely take Klonopin twice per day. This means you’ll wait 12 hours between each Klonopin dose.
But if Klonopin makes you sleepy, you may be able to take just one dose at bedtime. However, be sure to follow your medical professional’s instructions about when to take Klonopin.
They’ll prescribe the lowest dosage needed to relieve your panic disorder symptoms. And from time to time, they’ll check to see if you need to continue taking the drug.
Dosage for seizure disorders
The usual dosage range of Klonopin for seizure disorders is 1.5 mg to 20 mg per day. For this use, you’ll likely take Klonopin three times per day. This means you’ll wait 8 hours between each Klonopin dose.
For seizure disorders, your medical professional may recommend a strength of Klonopin that isn’t available from the drug manufacturer. For example, they may prescribe 5 mg or 10 mg of Klonopin. If so, you may be advised to take multiple 1-mg or 2-mg tablets to form a total daily dose of 5 mg or 10 mg.
They’ll ultimately prescribe the lowest dosage of Klonopin needed to control your seizures.
Most medications, including Klonopin, may cause side effects that can be serious or mild. To give you an idea of what might occur with Klonopin, we’ve listed some of the medication’s more common side effects below. We haven’t included all the potential side effects.
For more information about possible side effects of Klonopin, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. They may also be able to recommend tips about how to help prevent and ease side effects.
Note: Certain factors may affect a medication’s side effects. These factors can include other health conditions you may have, other drugs you may be taking, and your age.
Mild side effects
Some of the mild side effects that Klonopin may cause are listed below. For information about other mild side effects of the drug, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. It may also be helpful to refer to the medication guide for Klonopin.
Mild side effects of Klonopin that have been reported in studies include the following:
- sexual side effects*
- low blood pressure*
- feeling sleepy*
- weight loss or weight gain
- digestive problems, such as constipation
- ataxia (trouble coordinating or controlling muscle movements)
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- hypersalivation (producing more saliva than usual)
- lessened ability to think clearly or solve problems
- lack of coordination
- loss of appetite
- upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
Mild side effects of many drugs tend to lessen in a couple of days or a few weeks. But if you find that the side effects bother you, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
* For details about this side effect, you can see “Side effects: A closer look” below.
Serious side effects
Klonopin may cause serious side effects, but this isn’t common. If you do develop serious side effects while taking Klonopin, be sure to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel as if you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
Serious side effects of Klonopin that have been reported in studies include the following:
- paradoxical reactions (effects that are opposite of what is usually expected with Klonopin), such as:
- respiratory depression (slowed or weakened breathing)
- suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- trouble controlling the muscles you use to speak, which may cause slowed or slurred speech
- boxed warnings:
- risk of serious injury or death if taken with opioids*
- risk of misuse and addiction**
- allergic reaction‡
* To learn more, you can see “Taking Klonopin with other drugs” in the “How do you take Klonopin?” section below.
** For details, you can refer to the “Is it possible to misuse Klonopin?” section below.
† To learn more, you can see the “Can taking Klonopin lead to withdrawal and dependence?” section below.
‡ For details about this side effect, you can refer to “Side effects: A closer look” below.
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Side effects: A closer look
This section provides a close-up look at key side effects of Klonopin.
Sexual side effects
Sexual side effects may occur with Klonopin treatment. These side effects were common in studies of the drug.
Examples of sexual side effects that may happen with Klonopin include:
- delayed ejaculation
- erectile dysfunction (not being able to have or maintain an erection)
- low sex drive
Tips for managing
We encourage you to tell your medical professional about any sexual side effects you have while taking Klonopin. They can suggest ways to manage these side effects.
Low blood pressure
When low blood pressure was reported in studies, it typically happened as a sudden drop in blood pressure when people went from sitting to standing. This condition is known as orthostatic hypotension.
Symptoms of orthostatic hypotension can include:
- blurred vision
Tips for managing
If you have any symptoms of orthostatic hypotension while taking Klonopin, it’s advised that you tell your medical professional. They may adjust your dosage or they may prescribe a drug other than Klonopin for you.
It’s possible to feel sleepy after taking Klonopin. This was one of the most common side effects reported in studies of the drug.
Sleepiness with Klonopin can impact your coordination and ability to focus on important tasks. For this reason, it’s best to avoid driving while taking Klonopin until you know how the drug affects you.
Tips for managing
In most cases, you’ll take Klonopin either two or three times per day. But if the drug makes you sleepy, you may be able to take just one dose at bedtime. However, it’s important to follow your medical professional’s instructions about when to take Klonopin.
We encourage you to talk with them about the best way to manage sleepiness while taking Klonopin.
Symptoms that can occur with a mild allergic reaction may include:
- skin rash
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction may also occur, but this is rare. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which may cause trouble breathing. You may also experience swelling under your skin, often in your lips, eyelids, hands, or feet.
Tips for managing
If you have symptoms of an allergic reaction to Klonopin, be sure to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel as if you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
You can find the answers to some commonly asked questions about Klonopin below.
Is Klonopin prescribed for sleep problems?
Klonopin isn’t currently approved to help with sleep problems. But the drug may be prescribed off-label for this purpose. (Off-label refers to prescribing a drug for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)
Feeling sleepy was one of the most common side effects reported in studies of Klonopin. So it’s possible that Klonopin may help you sleep. But this isn’t an approved use of the drug.
If you’re interested in taking Klonopin for sleep problems, your medical professional can help determine the right dosage for you.
Another common off-label use for Klonopin is for alcohol withdrawal. This condition can happen if a person suddenly stops drinking heavily. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to anxiety, vomiting, nausea, and tremors.
If you have other questions about taking Klonopin for conditions it hasn’t been approved to treat, ask your medical professional.
Can Klonopin be taken to treat anxiety?
One of the conditions Klonopin is approved to treat is panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. But medical professionals may also prescribe Klonopin off-label to treat other types of anxiety. (Off-label refers to prescribing a drug for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)
For example, Klonopin is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat social anxiety disorder.
To learn more about taking Klonopin to treat other types of anxiety, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
You may also want to ask them about alternatives to Klonopin for the treatment of anxiety. Here are a few drugs you may want to mention:
To learn more about panic disorder, you can see the “What do you take Klonopin for?” section below.
What’s considered to be a high dose of Klonopin?
The usual dosages of Klonopin vary depending on the condition the drug is treating. For this reason, what’s considered a high dose of Klonopin can depend on what you’re taking the drug for.
For example, Klonopin doses of up to 4 milligrams (mg) per day are prescribed for panic disorder. On the other hand, Klonopin doses up to 20 mg may be prescribed for seizure disorders.
To learn more, you can see “What’s the dosage for Klonopin?” above. You can also talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
Can you take Klonopin for life?
You likely won’t take Klonopin for life. This is because the drug isn’t typically prescribed as a long-term treatment.
Klonopin is generally prescribed for the shortest amount of time needed to treat your condition. Your medical professional will tell you the right length of time to take Klonopin.
Is Klonopin prescribed to treat depression?
Klonopin isn’t typically prescribed to treat depression.
Depression is a possible side effect of Klonopin. So taking the drug to treat depression may worsen the condition.
If you’re interested in treatments for depression, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional.
A dose of Klonopin usually stays in your system for about 6 to 8 days (about 150 to 200 hours).
The half-life of Klonopin can help you figure out how long the drug stays in your system. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of a drug’s dose to leave your body.
The half-life of Klonopin is about 30 to 40 hours. This means it takes about 30 to 40 hours for your body to get rid of half of a dose of Klonopin. And it usually takes
How Klonopin works affects how long the drug stays in your system. Klonopin works by raising the level of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The exact effects of GABA on panic disorder and seizures are unclear. However, it’s believed that increased GABA levels can help produce a calming effect. This relieves symptoms of panic disorder and helps stop seizures from occurring.
To learn more about how long you can expect Klonopin to stay in your system, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
“Misuse” refers to purposely taking a drug in a different way than how your medical professional instructed you to take it. Snorting Klonopin is an example of misusing the drug.
“Addiction” refers to continuing to take a drug despite any harm it’s causing you.Klonopin is a controlled substance, meaning the federal government regulates the drug because it has a risk of being addictive.
Klonopin isn’t a narcotic. The term “narcotic” usually refers to opioids.
Some people misuse Klonopin to try and feel “high.” But misuse and addiction can cause other side effects as well. Examples include:
- pain in the abdomen (belly)
- loss of appetite
- blurry vision
- muscle pain
- slurred speech
- trouble breathing
- tremors or seizures
- suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Misuse and addiction with Klonopin can also result in overdose or, in rare cases, death. However, death is more likely to happen when Klonopin is taken along with alcohol and opioids.
If you’re concerned about misuse and addiction with Klonopin, it’s advised that you talk with your medical professional. They’ll monitor your risk for these side effects before you start treatment with the drug. They’ll also check your risk from time to time while you’re taking the drug.
Yes, taking Klonopin can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal. Klonopin has a
Physical dependence develops when your body becomes used to a drug and you need to take it to feel the way you usually do. If you suddenly stop taking Klonopin, physical dependence can lead to withdrawal. For some people, withdrawal from Klonopin can be life threatening.
In rare cases, the withdrawal timeline with Klonopin may extend to many weeks or months.
Examples of withdrawal symptoms that may happen with Klonopin include:
- blurry vision
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- muscle stiffness or pain
It’s important that you do not stop taking Klonopin unless you first talk with your medical professional. If they tell you it’s safe to stop taking the drug, they’ll slowly lower your dosage over time. This should help decrease your risk for withdrawal symptoms.
If you have withdrawal symptoms after stopping Klonopin treatment, tell them right away. They’ll watch your condition closely to help prevent your symptoms from worsening. They may also prescribe certain drugs to help ease your withdrawal symptoms. These medications may include buspirone and flumazenil.
Before starting Klonopin treatment, it’s important to talk with your medical professional. It’s advised that you tell them about:
- all medical conditions you have
- all medications you take
- your overall health
Below, we provide more details about how these factors may affect your Klonopin treatment.
Taking a medication with certain drugs, foods, vaccines, and other substances may affect how the medication works. These effects are known as interactions.
Before you take Klonopin, be sure to tell your medical professional about any other drugs you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medication. It’s also important to mention any herbs, supplements, and vitamins you may take. Your medical professional or pharmacist can tell you about possible interactions these substances may have with Klonopin.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Klonopin can interact with several types of drugs. These drugs include:
- the seizure drugs:
- carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol)
- gabapentin (Neurontin)
- lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- phenytoin (Dilantin)
- oral antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole (Diflucan)
- central nervous system depressants, including:
- opioid drugs, such as hydromorphone (Dilaudid)*
It’s important to note that we haven’t listed all types of drugs that may interact with Klonopin. Your medical professional or pharmacist can provide more details as well as information about other possible interactions.
* For details about Klonopin’s
FDA boxed warnings
Klonopin’s boxed warnings include:
Risk of serious injury or death if taken with opioids. Taking Klonopin while also taking opioids can cause serious side effects such as respiratory depression (slowed or weakened breathing) and feeling extremely sleepy. To learn more, you can see “Taking Klonopin with other drugs” in the “How do you take Klonopin?” section below.
Risk of misuse and addiction. Klonopin treatment may lead to misuse and addiction. “Misuse” refers to purposely taking a drug in a different way than how your medical professional instructed you to take it. Addiction refers to continuing to take a drug despite any harm it causes you. For details, see the “Is it possible to misuse Klonopin?” section above.
Risk of physical dependence and withdrawal. Klonopin treatment can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal. Physical dependence develops when your body becomes used to a drug and you need to take it to feel the way you usually do. If you suddenly stop taking Klonopin, physical dependence can lead to withdrawal, which can be life threatening for some people. To learn more, see the “Can taking Klonopin lead to withdrawal and dependence?” section above.
We also suggest you talk with your medical professional for more information about Klonopin’s boxed warnings.
If you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health, Klonopin may not be the right choice for you. Before you take Klonopin, it’s important to discuss your health history with your medical professional. Here are some factors to consider:
Breathing problems. Before taking Klonopin, be sure to tell your medical professional if you have any breathing problems. These could be caused by conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or sleep apnea. Klonopin can cause respiratory depression (slowed or weakened breathing). You may have a higher risk for this side effect if you have breathing problems.
Your medical professional can advise if it’s safe for you to take Klonopin if you have breathing problems.
Acute narrow-angle glaucoma. Before taking Klonopin, it’s recommended that you tell your medical professional whether you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma. Klonopin may raise the pressure inside your eye, which could worsen glaucoma.
If you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma, your medical professional will typically prescribe a drug other than Klonopin for you.
Kidney or liver problems. Before you start treatment with Klonopin, let your medical professional know about any kidney or liver problems you have. If your kidneys or liver aren’t working properly, your body may not fully get rid of Klonopin. The drug could build up in your system, which could increase your risk for side effects. (For more about Klonopin’s side effects, see the “Does Klonopin have side effects?” section above.)
They may prescribe a lower dosage of Klonopin than usual. Or they may recommend a different treatment for your condition other than Klonopin.
Porphyria. Before taking Klonopin, be sure to tell your medical professional if you haveporphyria. (Porphyria is a blood disorder that can cause problems with the liver or red blood cells.) Klonopin may worsen this condition in people who have it before starting treatment with the drug.
If you have porphyria, talk with your medical professional about whether it’s safe for you to take Klonopin.
Seizures. Before starting Klonopin treatment, telling your doctor about any specific seizure disorder you have is key. This is because Klonopin may worsen certain types of seizures.
Your medical professional can advise you on whether Klonopin is right for your type of seizures.
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Klonopin or any of its ingredients, it’s important to avoid taking Klonopin.
Your medical professional can recommend other treatments for you.
Klonopin and alcohol
It’s not safe to drink alcohol while you’re taking Klonopin.
Both Klonopin and alcohol may cause central nervous system (CNS) depression. CNS depression slows the activity of your brain, causing effects such as drowsiness and lack of coordination.
Klonopin can also cause drowsiness and lack of coordination. So you may have a higher risk for these side effects if you consume alcohol while taking Klonopin.
If you drink alcohol, it’s advised that you talk with your medical professional before starting Klonopin treatment. They may suggest ways to help you stop drinking. Or instead, they may prescribe a different treatment for you other than Klonopin.
Klonopin treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding
It may not be safe to take Klonopin while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Be sure to talk with your medical professional about the risks and benefits of taking Klonopin while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you do take Klonopin during pregnancy, you might want to consider enrolling in the North American Antiepileptic Drug Pregnancy Registry. This registry collects information about the effects of Klonopin when taken during pregnancy.
To enroll, you can visit the registry’s website or call 888-233-2334.
You may wonder how Klonopin and Xanax are alike and different.
Klonopin contains the active drug clonazepam, while Xanax contains the active drug alprazolam.
To learn more about the similarities and differences between clonazepam and Xanax, you can refer to this comparison article. You can also talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
Your medical professional can help explain how to take Klonopin. They can also advise you on how much to take and how often. It’s important to follow the instructions they provide. Be sure to always take Klonopin the way your medical professional recommends.
Klonopin comes as tablets you take by mouth.
Tips for taking Klonopin
For panic disorder, you’ll likely take Klonopin twice per day (every 12 hours).
But for seizure disorders, you’ll likely take Klonopin three times per day (every 8 hours).
Taking Klonopin with other drugs
Klonopin also has a
Using Klonopin while taking opioids can cause serious side effects. These include respiratory depression (slowed or weakened breathing) and feeling extremely sleepy. In severe cases, this can lead to coma or, rarely, death.
Examples of opioids include:
Before you start taking Klonopin, be sure to tell your medical professional about all other medications you take. If they prescribe an opioid for you while you’re taking Klonopin, they’ll discuss the risks with you. They may also lower your Klonopin dosage to reduce your risk for side effects from taking Klonopin and opioids together.
Frequently asked questions about taking Klonopin
Here are some frequently asked questions about Klonopin treatment:
- How long does Klonopin take to work? Klonopin starts working right away to treat panic disorder or seizures. (Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder.) You’ll likely start noticing the effects of Klonopin within 1 to 4 hours after you take it.
- Is Klonopin meant to be taken long term? Klonopin isn’t typically taken long term. It’s generally prescribed for the shortest amount of time needed to treat your condition. Your medical professional will instruct you on the right length of time to take Klonopin. We encourage you to talk with them if you have questions about what to expect with long-term use of low-dose or high-dose Klonopin.
- What should I do if I miss a dose of Klonopin? It’s recommended that you take your missed dose of Klonopin as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, you’ll skip the missed dose. Then you’ll return to your regular dosing schedule. It’s important not to take any extra doses of Klonopin to make up for a missed dose. The extra dose may raise your risk for side effects from the drug. If you aren’t sure whether to take a dose or skip it, we recommend that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
- Can you chew, split, or crush Klonopin? You’ll swallow Klonopin tablets whole. The tablets should not be chewed, split, or crushed. If you have trouble swallowing Klonopin tablets whole, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
- Should you take Klonopin with food? You can take Klonopin with food or without it.
What should you ask your medical professional?
It’s common to have questions about your treatment plan for Klonopin. Your medical professional is there to work with you and help address any concerns you have.
To help guide your discussion, here are some suggestions:
- You can write down questions you have before your visit. For example, “How will taking Klonopin affect my mood, body, and lifestyle?”
- You can ask a loved one or friend to come with you to your appointment. Having in-person support may help you feel more at ease.
- You can ask your medical professional to explain anything that you find unclear.
Working with your healthcare team may help you stay on track with your treatment. If you find that you’re not getting answers to your questions or receiving the care you deserve, you can consider seeking a second opinion.
Below, we describe the conditions that Klonopin is prescribed to treat.
With panic disorder, you may have intense symptoms of anxiety that happen suddenly. Symptoms of anxiety can include persistent, excessive, or overwhelming worry about things that happen in everyday life. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder.
Certain seizure disorders
Klonopin may be prescribed to treat the following types of seizures in adults and children of any age:
Absence seizures. These seizures cause brief episodes of staring into space. Absence seizures usually last less than 15 seconds. They used to be known as petit mal seizures.
Klonopin may be prescribed to treat absence seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). This is a form of severe epilepsy that causes daily seizures. People with LGS may also have problems with development, learning, memory, thinking, and attention.
Klonopin may also be prescribed to treat absence seizures that haven’t stopped after being treated with other seizure drugs, such as ethosuximide (Zarontin).
Atonic seizures. These seizures cause muscles to suddenly relax. Atonic seizures generally last less than 15 seconds.
Myoclonic seizures. These seizures cause muscles to contract and twitch suddenly. Myoclonic seizures generally last 1 or 2 seconds.
Yes. It’s important that you do not take more Klonopin than your medical professional recommends. Taking more than the recommended dosage can lead to severe side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
What to do in case you take too much Klonopin
If you believe you’ve taken too much Klonopin, it’s important to call your medical professional right away. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if your symptoms are severe, it’s vital to immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the closest emergency room.
Klonopin is a prescription drug. The costs of prescription medications may depend on several factors, such as your insurance coverage and the pharmacy you use.
If you’re wondering how to pay for Klonopin, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. You may also want to visit the Medicine Assistance Tool website to see if support options are available.
If you still have questions about Klonopin after reading this article, we recommend that you talk with your medical professional. Together you can decide if Klonopin might be a good choice for you.
You can also discuss other treatments, forms of support, and resources that may benefit you. We’ve listed some helpful suggestions below.
Additional treatment options
While you take Klonopin, additional treatments or remedies may help you better manage your condition. These can include:
- getting regular exercise
- sticking to a daily routine
- trying psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy
Whether you’re looking for a therapist, support group, or information about how to afford therapy, these resources may help:
- how to find a therapist
- online counseling search through BetterHelp
- online support groups
- how to afford therapy
To receive weekly information about mental health, you may want to sign up for the Psych Central newsletter. You’ll find stories directly from other people about their mental health journey as well as the latest information about treatments.
Can I take Klonopin to stop a seizure that’s currently happening?Anonymous patient
Klonopin has not been approved to stop a seizure that’s already happening. But the drug may be prescribed off-label for this purpose. (Off-label refers to prescribing a drug for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)
Other treatments called seizure rescue medications are specifically approved to treat seizure episodes while they happen. You take this type of treatment when seizure symptoms are mild. The goal is to help prevent the symptoms from worsening. Examples of seizure rescue medications include rectal diazepam (Diastat), diazepam nasal spray (Valtoco), and midazolam nasal spray (Nayzilam).
Your medical professional can advise you about seizure rescue medications, including Klonopin, and whether you should take one.Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBAAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Psych Central has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.