SUMAYYA
05 January 2023
Medically reviewed by
Kajal Jain
M. Pharm
klonopin-for-anxiety
Table of Contents

With 40 million adults affected yearly, Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health issue in the U.S., affecting 18.1% of the population. People who struggle with Anxiety disorders frequently experience depression as well. Anxiety disorders coexist with depression in 50% of patients.

Six million individuals experience panic disorder, 15 million from a social Anxiety disorder, and 7.7 million adults each year experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression on some level. 17.3 million persons over 18 years—or 6.7 percent of all adults in the nation—had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year in 2017.

When treating mental health conditions like Anxiety or depression, Clonazepam is a reasonable choice as it has an intermediate onset of effect. It's crucial to comprehend how the drug functions and how it will fit into your treatment strategy. Let us see how Klonopin treats Anxiety in more detail.

What Is Klonopin (Clonazepam) ?

In 1975, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Clonazepam as a generic benzodiazepine medication used to treat Anxiety and depression. Clonazepam is a sedative-hypnotic medication belonging to the larger class of CNS depressants.  

The most common conditions for which Clonazepam is prescribed are epilepsy, panic disorder, and manic episodes. It also appears to be beneficial in treating antipsychotic drug-induced akathisia. 

It is a long-acting benzodiazepine that occasionally aids in treating persistent, bothersome parasomnias in children. The use of Clonazepam in children younger than 18 years of age is not approved.

Indications

Klonopin is a long-acting benzodiazepine and has strong potency. It has GABA-A receptor agonist properties. By boosting serotonin production, it also exhibits serotonergic activity. It also has anxiolytic and anticonvulsant properties.

FDA-approved Indications

Seizure disorders: Its two main indications are acute treatment of non-convulsive status epilepticus and epilepsy (complex partial seizures or absence seizures). Furthermore, it works very well in controlling minor motor seizures associated with childhood, including petit mal absences, Lennox Gastaut syndrome, and infantile spasms.

Patients with petit mal absence seizures who have not responded to succinimides can benefit from Klonopin. Additionally, Clonazepam aids in the management of psychomotor, myoclonic, grand mal, and focal motor seizures. It is not, however, the first-line treatment for these conditions. Patients who are resistant to conventional treatment can utilize it.

Panic Disorders

Patients with panic disorders, with or without agoraphobia, benefit significantly from Clonazepam. Due to the possibility of experiencing withdrawal symptoms and abuse, it is effective in the short-term treatment of the panic disorder. However, due to its longer half-life compared to other benzodiazepines, it is also less likely to result in rebound Anxiety upon cessation. Clinicians also use it to treat acute panic attacks.

Off-label Indications

Used as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy to treat 

  • Mania
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Tardive dyskinesia, and 
  • REM sleep behavior disorder

It also appears to be effective in relieving antipsychotic drug-induced akathisia. Children with persistent, upsetting parasomnias may benefit from Clonazepam treatment.

The usual Klonopin dosage for seizure disorders is 1.5 mg, used three times daily in divided doses. You'll probably take Klonopin three times a day for this purpose. The time between each Klonopin medication will therefore be eight hours.
A dose of more than 4 mg of Klonopin daily is higher. The maximum dose is 4 mg per day.
The effects of Klonopin can last for six to twelve hours. It is safest to utilize Klonopin for brief periods—less than two weeks—and it shouldn't be relied upon for extended periods. People are more likely to be dependent on a substance if they have used or abused it over a long period and show some signs of addiction.

How Does Klonopin Work?

Clonazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug under the general class of CNS depressants. A benzodiazepine with a lengthy half-life, Clonazepam is highly potent. It affects GABA-A receptors pharmacologically by functioning as a positive allosteric modulator.

Benzodiazepines (BZDs) reduce the excitability of neurons by increasing the frequency with which chloride channels open, thus facilitating GABA-A action.

Does Klonopin Help Treat Anxiety?

Klonopin may help to treat numerous Anxiety disorders, such as Anxiety disorder, generalized Anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. 

Anxiety causes symptoms like intense worry or panic, sweating, a racing heart, or physical manifestations. Other signs and symptoms can include irritation, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, and muscle tightness.

Study Related To Klonopin Use In Anxiety

In a study, Wang SM evaluated the effectiveness and Safety of three different BZDs (alprazolam, Clonazepam, and Lorazepam) in people with Anxiety disorders. It was a retrospective, multicenter trial.  

The present study included a total of 180 patients who were over the age of 20. They met the requirements for the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision) diagnosis of Anxiety disorder. The study participants had been taking only one type of antidepressant for more than six weeks.

The patients received a prescription for one of the three oral BZDs (alprazolam, Clonazepam, or Lorazepam) for six weeks. Similar to earlier trials, all three BZDs significantly reduced Anxiety symptoms compared to the baseline, but there were no significant differences between the drugs.

There were no severe events, and all the side effects were mild. Compared to the alprazolam and Lorazepam groups, the incidence of adverse events was considerably lower overall in the Clonazepam group. 

The results show that Clonazepam may be a suitable medication for treating Anxiety disorder in patients using concomitant antidepressants because it requires a lower dose and offers a more favorable side effect profile than Lorazepam or alprazolam. Additionally, the absence of drug interactions between Clonazepam and antidepressants may be a significant factor because all of the subjects were on antidepressants concurrently.

How Long Does Klonopin Take To Work On Anxiety?

It is common to treat Anxiety using benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin because they reduce electrical activity in the brain. There is an immediate effect on social Anxiety symptoms with Klonopin, but the medication's other potential benefits may take longer to manifest.

Although the exact mechanism by which Klonopin lessens Anxiety is unknown, it is believed to be connected to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activation. By attaching to GABA receptors, benzodiazepines calm the brain.

For How Long Can You Consume Klonopin For Anxiety?

The efficacy of Klonopin in long-term use has not been thoroughly examined in controlled clinical trials. If a doctor decides to give a patient Klonopin for an extended period, they should periodically reevaluate the drug's potential long-term benefits. Long-term use of Klonopin may result in tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.

Dosage Of Klonopin 

An optimal dose is the one that produces the desired benefit with minor side effects. The strength of the medication determines how much of it you should take. Additionally, the medical condition for which you are utilizing the drug affects the number of doses you take each day, the interval between doses, and the duration of treatment.

Possible Side Effects Of Klonopin 

These are common with most drugs. These are unwanted effects that occur after taking the medication. The likelihood of experiencing Klonopin side effects increases with the dose. Thus the more the drug a person takes, the greater their risk. Most minor side effects go away after a few days or weeks.

Common

Serious

Depression

Extreme sleepiness

Dizziness

Loss of consciousness

Cognitive impairment

Unresponsiveness

Somnolence

Trouble breathing

The trouble with coordination and walking

Rashes, hives

Blurred vision

Swelling of the face, throat, and eyes

Changes in sex drive or sexual performance

Suicidal thoughts

Frequent urination

Problems with sleep or insomnia

Pain in muscles or joints

Worsening depression

Sinus or respiratory problems

Extreme drowsiness

Will You Be Dependent On Klonopin?

Klonapin is a potentially habit-forming benzodiazepine. Once someone becomes dependent on the drug, their brain can no longer produce emotions of tranquility and relaxation.
A Klonopin addiction may show the following symptoms:

  • Persistent cravings for the drug
  • Ongoing Klonopin usage despite side effects.
  • Inability to quit despite having the want to.
  • Lack of interest in commitments, whether social or professional.
  • Legal or financial problems.

People might require higher doses of the medication if they become more tolerant to provide the same effects they once did with lower ones. This is when Klonopin addiction begins. Following this, people start taking more than the prescribed amount to get high.

Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms have been reported after abruptly stopping the drug. These symptoms are comparable to those associated with alcohol and barbiturates. Patients who took large doses over an extended period experienced severe withdrawal symptoms.

Following abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines administered continuously at therapeutic levels for several months, lesser withdrawal symptoms (such as dysphoria and sleeplessness) have typically been recorded. Thus, sudden withdrawal after prolonged therapy should generally be avoided and follow a gradual dosage tapering schedule. 

Precautions For Klonopin 

Your doctor must monitor your progress at routine appointments to ensure that the medication works as intended and allows for dose adjustments. Precautions are, therefore, required for the proper use of the drugs.

  • Before you use Clonazepam, inform your doctor if you have-
    • Kidney or liver disease
    • angle closure glaucoma
    • depression or mood changes
    • suicidal thoughts
    • history of allergic reaction to benzodiazepine
  • Before starting Klonopin, inform your doctor about your medications and existing medical conditions.
  • Use Klonopin as prescribed by your physician.
  • Clonazepam use during pregnancy increases the risk that your unborn child will experience severe withdrawal symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Never start or stop taking seizure medication during pregnancy without consulting your doctor.
  • If you plan to breastfeed while taking this medication, consult your doctor.
  • Speak with your doctor if you want to decrease or discontinue your dosage. Sudden discontinuation from Klonopin might result in potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.
  • Use Klonopin with caution in patients with compromised respiratory function, as it may cause respiratory depression.
  • It is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery when you are on Klonopin.
  • In case of a missed dose of Klonopin, do not take a high amount to make up for the missed dose.
  • Avoid alcohol when you are on Klonopin.

What If You Overdose On Klonopin?

The effects of a Clonazepam overdose are rarely lethal. Research indicated that for every million prescriptions for benzodiazepines, 3 to 7.9 deaths take place.

Signs and symptoms of an overdose

  • Confusion.
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slow reflexes
  • Slowed breathing
  • Coma 
  • Death.

Call your doctor or get emergency help if you think anyone may have overdosed on the drug Clonazepam (Klonopin). 

The course of treatment for overdose entails immediate gastrointestinal lavage, general supportive measures, and monitoring of breathing, pulse, and blood pressure. Maintain adequate airway while intravenous fluids are delivered.

Levarterenol or metaraminol can be used to treat hypotension. Dialysis has no known benefits.
 When a benzodiazepine overdose is known or suspected, flumazenil, a selective benzodiazepine-receptor antagonist, may be administered to wholly or partially reverse the sedative effects of benzodiazepines.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions might change how your medications work or increase your chance of experiencing severe adverse effects. Never start, stop, or modify the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Interactions of Klonopin

  • The use of Klonopin with opioids may result in potentially lethal additive effects. 
  • Combining this drug with clozapine may raise the risk of toxicity.
  • Oral contraceptives slow down Klonopin's metabolism, increasing the drug's therapeutic and side effects.
  • Concurrent use of Klonopin with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors can reduce blood pressure and increase sedative effects. It also causes respiratory depression.
  • The use of Clonazepam with CNS depressants may result in increased depressive effects.
  • The use of Clonazepam with CNS depressants may result in increased depressive effects.
  • Patients being treated with Clonazepam for seizure disorders should not take benzodiazepine receptor antagonist- flumazenil since it has the potential to trigger seizures.
  • Concomitant use of Valproate and Clonazepam may result in absent status.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that may be used to relieve Anxiety. It has a soothing effect by affecting the brain's electrical and chemical activity. Even though Clonazepam and other BZDs have side effects, including the risk of addiction, cognitive decline, and falls, their inappropriate long-term usage continues.

Consult your general practitioner if you have any drug-related questions or concerns. Never discontinue taking Clonazepam without consulting your physician. If you stop taking the medication abruptly after long-term use, you can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

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