IRFANA PARVEEN
By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

22 April 2022
Medically reviewed by
Sumayya Salam
Pharm D
does-klonopin-cause-weight-gain
Table of Contents

Many people would look for a medicine that would not cause severe side effects. The medication works according to the individual. When it comes to treating Seizure disorder affects more than 5 million people each year globally. Pharmacotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for a seizure disorder. 

Drugs such as Klonopin, which belongs to the Benzodiazepine(BZDs) class of drugs, are very effective in treating seizure disorders. Long-term use of medications is necessary for the treatment, which might lead to specific side effects. This article primarily focuses on weight gain caused due to Klonopin.

What Is Klonopin (Clonazepam)?

Klonopin is a medicine used to manage seizures and help people with panic attacks, or even work to treat restless leg syndrome. It belongs to the Benzodiazepine class of medications and is only a prescription medicine. You will get this medicine in its generic form named, Clonazepam. 

You can use Klonopin as a combination therapy that can be used with other medications. It also helps treat conditions off-label such as Acute mania, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, and Tardive Dyskinesia.

How Does Klonopin Work?

As every medication has a different working pattern, only the same drug class medicines have the exact mechanism. Klonopin works by reducing abnormal brain electrical activity. 

In simple terms, when treating conditions with the drug, Klonopin has a calming effect on your brain. This happens due to the increasing level of calming chemicals known as Gama-aminobutyric acids (GABA).

Yes, Klonopin is Addicitve. You may experience symptoms such as needing more drugs to achieve the required effect, increased Anxiety when the drug is unavailable, and taking excess medication than prescribed,
No. Abrupt discontinuation of the medication is not advised. Even if you feel better, you should consult your doctor for the duration of the drug.
No, it is not advised to consume alcohol while on Klonopin medication. It may show severe side effects to the person drinking.

Does Klonopin Cause Weight Gain?

Klonopin has been proven to slow down the metabolic process and lead to deranged metabolism that converts food into energy. This leads to excessive fat storage, sluggishness, and weight gain. Klonopin might also increase appetite, leading to weight gain over time. 

When using Klonopin, some people find it more challenging to exercise. As Klonopin users become more inactive, their activity levels drop, and they may engage in mindless eating or binge eating. 

Depression and Anxiety have been connected to weight increase, leading to changes in eating and activity levels. Klonopin has been linked to increased depression, and overeating can be used as a short-term coping mechanism for uncomfortable feelings.

Study On Klonopin Causing Weight Gain

People who use Klonopin gain weight, especially if they are female, 50-59 years old, and have been using the drug for less than a month.

The phase IV clinical trial examines who takes Klonopin and gains weight. It is based on FDA reports of 54,048 persons who experienced such side effects while taking Klonopin. Ehealthme.com did this study.

Connection Between Klonopin And Weight Gain?

According to studies on the drug's effects, there is a link between Klonopin and weight gain. However, it is exceedingly rare. Weight loss has been documented in more clinical trials than weight gain, which happens in less than 1% of patients, implying a minor link between the two.

Despite the statistically unlikely link between Klonopin and weight gain in patients, it is a possible adverse effect of the medication that can usually be addressed with lifestyle adjustments.

Patients experiencing clonazepam-related weight gain may improve their condition by changing their food and lifestyle. These patients' doctors frequently encourage them to eat lean meats, fish, poultry, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Exercising for half an hour on most days of the week is another intelligent approach to avoid weight gain and minimize saturated fat and trans fat intake. People who try to lose weight should avoid alcohol because most alcoholic drinks are high in calories and are frequently consumed in excess. 

Dosages of Klonopin

Klonopin is available as a tablet and orally disintegrating tablet. The doctor will usually prescribe you take the medication one to three times a day to avoid developing any addiction to the drug. 

It may take a few weeks for the full benefit of the medication. Hence it is necessary to continue the medication with patience. Do not discontinue the medication without consulting your doctor. Clonazepam can be taken as a pill. The tablets should be swallowed whole after being born with water. 

For Seizure Disorders:

Adults:

  • The initial dose should not exceed 1.5 mg/day for adults, divided into three doses. 
  • The dosage can be raised by 0.5 to 1 mg every 3 days until seizures are under control. (Depending on the patient's
  • response, the maintenance dose must be customized for each patient). 
  • The maximum daily dose that should be taken is 20 mg.

Pediatric Patients:

The initial dose for children and infants (to 10 years of age or 30 kg of body weight) should be 0.01 to 0.03 mg/kg/day, divided into two or three doses. Unless seizures are controlled, or adverse effects prevent further increase, dosage should be raised no more than 0.25 to 0.5 mg every third day till a regular maintenance dosage of 0.1 to 0.2 mg/kg of weight is attained. The most excellent dose should be given first if the doses are not evenly distributed.

Geriatric Patients:

Patients older than 65 should be started on low dosages of Klonopin and monitored appropriately.

For Panic Disorder:

Adults

  • The starting dose is 0.25 mg twice a day. 
  • After 3 days, most patients may receive a 1 mg/day increase in their target dose. 
  • The suggested amount of 1 mg/day is based on the findings of a fixed-dose trial.

However, some people may benefit from doses up to 4 mg/day, and in those cases, the dosage can be raised in increments of 0.125 to 0.25 mg twice every 3 days.

Pediatric Patients

Klonopin has no clinical trial experience in panic disorder individuals under 18.

Possible Side Effects Of Klonopin

The usual side effects seen with the Klonopin drug are sedation and dullness. But, on chronic use, Clonazepam can exhibit side effects such as weight gain. 

Serious side effects

New Seizures
Severe Drowsiness
Unusual mood changes
Confusion
Aggression
Hallucinations
Suicidal thoughts
Shallow Breathing

Weight gain from Klonopin is an uncommon side effect. You should consult your doctor immediately if any unusual effects occur after consuming this medicine. As it is a metabolic side effect, exercise and diet modification can be well controlled.

Precautions

Make sure you inform your doctor if you are or have been through the following conditions.

  • If you are allergic to Klonopin or any other BZD.
  • If you are pregnant,  planning a pregnancy, lactating, or conceiving when on Klonopin.
  • If you are on any other medications.
  • If you are undergoing any surgery.
  • If you suffer from Glaucoma
  • If you experience any changes in your mood or feel like harming yourself

Klonopin Interactions

The FDA has found that benzodiazepine drugs, such as Klonopin, when used in combination with other medication, can result in severe adverse reactions, including slowed or difficult breathing, which may be life-threatening.

Patients taking opioids with benzodiazepines, other sedating medications, or alcohol should seek immediate medical attention if they experience unusual dizziness, excessive sleepiness, and difficulty breathing.

  • opioid medications(codeine, methadone, etc.) 
  • sedating medications(anti-histamines) 
  • Antifungal drugs such as ketoconazole and itraconazole may increase the effects of Klonopin in the body. 
  • Carbamazepine and Phenytoin may decrease the effects of Klonopin in the body. 

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the above medications.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Long-term use of Klonopin can lead to metabolic derangements and weight gain. As a benzodiazepine, Klonopin comes with the risk of Abuse, and physical dependence on the medication can occur with prolonged use. 

A withdrawal reaction may occur on abrupt discontinuation, but this risk can be reduced by gradually reducing the dose. Do not stop taking Klonopin abruptly without consulting your doctor.

  • Davidson, J. R., Potts, N., Richichi, E., Krishnan, R., Ford, S. M., Smith, R., & Wilson, W. H. (1993). Treatment of social phobia with clonazepam and placebo. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 13(6), 423–428. From https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1097/00004714-199312000-00008  Obtain on 21/04/2022
  • Troester, M. M., Hastriter, E. V., & Ng, T. (2010). Dissolving Oral Clonazepam Wafers in the Acute Treatment of Prolonged Seizures. Journal of Child Neurology. From  https://doi.org/10.1177/0883073810368312 obtain on 21/04/2022
  • Keränen, Tapani, and Juhani Sivenius. "Side effects of carbamazepine, valproate and clonazepam during longā€term treatment of epilepsy." Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 68 (1983): 69-80. From https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0404.1983.tb01536.x obtain on 21/04/2022
What's on your mind?

Start a conversation, Post with kindness.