Clonazepam Side Effects, How it Works, Upsides & Downsides

Clonazepam belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepine and is used to treat seizure disorders in children and adults. Clonazepam restores the balance of certain chemicals in your brain, calming your brain and nerves. It is also an anti-epileptic drug and can cure panic disorders in adults including agoraphobia.

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Benzodiazepines like Clonazepam work by boosting the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in your brain. GABA is used by nerve cells to send transmissions to each other and is a chemical which limits brain activity.

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Side effects

Clonazepam can help treat seizure and panic disorders, but it also has some side effects. Most of the side effects are common and go away as your body adjusts to the use of Clonazepam. However, immediately visit your doctor if any of the side effects persist or become worse.

Minor side effects

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased production of saliva
  • Memory problems
  • Problems with coordination and balance

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However, some of the side effects are severe and can become lethal if not treated immediately. Seek immediate medical help if you experience any of the major side effects.

Major side effects

  • Rapid heartbeat or fluttering in your chest
  • Any mental or mood changes
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Any symptoms of an allergic reaction including dizziness, itching, trouble breathing, rash, and swelling.
  • Confusion and hallucinations
  • Easy bleeding and bruising
  • Any signs of infection including fever and sore throat
  • Involuntary eye movements

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How to use?

Take only the dosage prescribed by your doctor without increasing or decreasing your dose. Your doctor might change your dosage according to your medical condition, so follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not take Clonazepam for longer than it is prescribed as it is habit-forming and can lead to addiction or drug abuse. Do not take it for more than nine weeks unless it is prescribed by your doctor. Clonazepam should be taken twice or thrice per day, ideally with a glass of water. Make sure you swallow the tablet whole without chewing or cutting it as this can affect your dosage. Clonazepam will not work immediately and needs to be taken regularly to be effective. Do not stop taking Clonazepam even if you feel well as stopping suddenly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and convulsions. Store Clonazepam in a cool, dry place, away from the reach of children.

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Precautions

  • Do not take Clonazepam if you are allergic to any of the active or inactive ingredients found in it or to other benzodiazepines. It is advisable to ask for a list of ingredients from your pharmacist to prevent a severe allergic reaction.
  • As the side effects of Clonazepam include dizziness and drowsiness, avoid operating machinery or driving until you are confident you can do it safely. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and using marijuana as they can worsen these side effects.

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  • Inform your doctor of any previous diseases you have had, especially if you have a history of liver disease, lung or breathing problems, narrow-angle glaucoma, porphyria, mental or mood problems, kidney disease, or substance use disorder.
  • Make sure your doctor and dentist are aware of all the medications you are taking before you undergo any surgery.
  • Use Clonazepam with caution in older adults as they are more sensitive to its side effects, especially confusion and drowsiness..

 

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  • It is advisable to take Clonazepam only if necessary as it can have harmful effects on an unborn baby. However, as a seizure is a serious medical condition, consult your doctor about the use of Clonazepam if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • Clonazepam can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing infant. Talk to your doctor about using Clonazepam before breastfeeding