Klonopin:

 Understanding Side-effects, Withdrawal and Detox

Klonopin:

 Understanding Side-effects, Withdrawal and Detox

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name for the 38th most prescribed drug in the United States in 2017.​​​1 Sold under the generic name clonazepam, it is classified as a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are used to treat many different conditions due to their sedative and hypnotic effects. Doctors prescribe Klonopin to treat anxiety, insomnia or seizures.​​​2

People also obtain Klonopin illegally. In 2011, DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network) reported that over 61,000 people were admitted to hospital emergency rooms because of bad reactions during recreational clonazepam use.​​​3 Two of the most commonly seen drug abuse-related emergency room cases involved opiate and opioid pain medications and benzodiazepines.

Brief History of Klonopin

Clonazepam was patented in 1960.​​​4 Under the brand name Klonopin, the drug went on sale in 1975 in the United States by a drug company called Roche. Klonopin in its generic form is now available.

Since 1975, Klonopin has been a top selling drug year after year. In 1997, Klonopin was approved in the United States for the treatment of epilepsy. More than 20 million prescriptions are filled every year for Klonopin and clonazepam.​​​5

Other Names

Klonopin and its generic counterpart clonazepam also have street names. Street names are used to disguise the true nature of what is being discussed. Knowing street names can help loved ones be informed about the substances someone is using. 

Slang used to refer to Klonopin include:

Kpin

Pin

Downers

Benzos

Super Valium

Tranks

Klonopin Use and Abuse

What is Klonopin Used to Treat?

The exact way Klonopin works is unknown, but it has anti-seizure and anti-panic properties.

Klonopin is useful in the treatment of the following seizure disorders:

Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (petit mal variant)

Absence seizures (petit mal)

Akinetic seizures

Myoclonic seizures

Klonopin is also used to treat the symptoms of panic disorders for people with:

Unexpected panic attacks

Worries about future panic attacks

Frets over the consequences of the attacks

Significant changes in their behavior related to panic attacks

Klonopin Abuse

People misuse or abuse Klonopin by taking larger doses than prescribed. Some also abuse it by taking it more frequently than prescribed. This results in a heightened sense of calm. Misuse or abuse of Klonopin can also produce a sense of euphoria. Following this high, a fuzzy, tipsy daze occurs.

Klonopin Side Effects

Once swallowed, Klonopin is quickly and completely absorbed by the body. Side effects and behavioral issues are associated with Klonopin that limits its usefulness.

The most common side effect of Klonopin is drowsiness.

Neurological Side Effects

Clonazepam can lead to neurological issues including:

Dizziness

Abnormal eye movement

Headache

Slurred speech

Fainting

Tremors

Nervousness

Numbness

Psychiatric Side Effects

Psychiatric side effects from Klonopin include:

Confusion

Sex drive changes

Depression

Hallucinations

Amnesia

Hysteria

Insomnia

Aggression

Psychosis

Anxiety

Cognitive Side Effects

Side effects from Klonopin that involve ability to get factual information include:

Reduced Academic Ability

Slow Reaction Time

Memory Problems

Faulty Judgement

Additional Concerns

Don’t stop or reduce taking Klonopin on your own. Talk to your doctor. Also use caution concerning driving or operating machinery until you know how Klonopin affects you.

Klonopin Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin can happen when Klonopin is stopped or the dosage is reduced. The symptoms can include:

Tension: Tension and irritability, especially in the first several weeks.

Headache: Headaches, which can range between migraine strength to mild, are common.

Sleeplessness: It is typical to have a hard time falling or staying asleep in the early stages of Klonopin withdrawal.

Serious Symptoms of Withdrawal

Serious symptoms of withdrawal can occur in some cases. More serious withdrawal symptoms may be experiences by people who have been:

  • Taking high doses of Klonopin
  • Taking Klonopin for a long time
  • Abusing other drugs or alcohol while taking Klonopin
  • Struggling with other mental health disorders

Serious symptoms of withdrawal include:

Tremors

Sudden shaking can occur.

Delusions

Happening only in rare cases, seeing things that are not there can happen during Klonopin withdrawal.

Aggression

High anxiety and stress can cause hostile reactions.

Nausea and Stomach Pain

Nausea and stomach pain are common the first few weeks.

Sweating

Heavy sweating can occur during the day. Night sweats can happen during sleep.

Dizziness

Dizzy and feeling off balance are common, short-term side effects.

Tiredness

Feeling very tired and a lack of motivation during withdrawal from Klonopin are common.

Confusion

Confusion from poor cognitive functioning can happen during the first few weeks.

Anxiety

Without Klonopin, people suffering from anxiety can see an increase.

Depression

Depressed feelings are a common withdrawal symptom.

Seizures

People who take Klonopin as an anti-seizure drug can develop more seizures when they stop taking the drug. This is especially true if they stop taking it too quickly.

Thoughts of Suicide

Thoughts of suicide from depression can happen during Klonopin withdrawal. Depression can lead to hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Talk to your doctor if you feel suicidal.

Misconception: It's a Prescription, So It's Safe

Many people believe since Klonopin is a prescribed drug, there are no risks. If the drug is taken as prescribed, that is mostly true. However, misusing clonazepam can be harmful and possibly fatal.

Tolerance for clonazepam is another risk. Tolerance is where more is needed to feel the same previous effects. Tolerance can develop in just a few weeks, even if it is being taken as prescribed.

Treatment For Klonopin Use Disorder

For people who have been taking high doses of Klonopin for long periods of time, a medical detox may be needed. A medical detox safely and slowly weans the body off Klonopin. Replacement medications are given for conditions that Klonopin was treating. Though a detox may be necessary, it is not a standalone treatment.

Some individuals will enter outpatient treatment to continue their recovery journey. Others will need a more structured, highly supervised residential rehab setting. People struggling with Klonopin addiction are provided individual and group therapy to address and resolve issues related to addiction.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a Klonopin addiction or dependency, seek professional help. Talk with your doctor or a reputable treatment center. With the right help, the pain and suffering of addiction can end. A rewarding and revitalized life is possible through recovery.


Resources

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2226-4787/6/2/43
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453238/
  3. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED/DAWN2k11ED.pdf
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonazepam
  5. https://livertox.nlm.nih.gov/Clonazepam.htm