Clonazepam: What is it? Uses, precautions and side effects

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Nowadays there is a wide variety of drugs useful to combat neurological disorders. Clonazepam is a drug belonging to the benzodiazepine group and is often used in psychiatric or psychological therapy.

It is of utmost importance to read the package insert of each medication and not to abuse its use. In case of any doubt, it is best to consult a specialist. Below, we will reveal the use, precautions and effects of Clonazepam.


  • Formula: C15H10ClN3O3
  • Molar mass: 315.715 g/mol
  • CAS Number: 1622-61-3
  • Trade name: Coquan, Clonagin, Clonex, Diocam, Klonopin, Kriadex, Linotril, Paxam, Rivotril, Zatrix
  • Half-life: 18 to 50 hours
  • Metabolism: hepatic, via cytochrome P450 3A4
  • Bioavailability: 90%.

Clonazepam is often prescribed to treat seizure disorders. It is used in combination with other drugs for patients with epilepsy.

It reduces abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Therefore, a sedative, myorelaxant, anticonvulsant effect can be experienced. Similarly, its calming, anxiolytic properties make it suitable to combat panic attacks or anxiety.

It should be noted that it is a mood stabilizer, so the patient can temporarily forget emotional crises.


This drug can be prescribed to different patients due to its sedative composition. The following are some disorders that merit treatment with this psychopharmaceutical:

  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Convulsive seizures.
  • Treatment for symptoms of akathisia
  • Treatment of acute catatonic reactions (the patient does not speak or move).
  • Epileptic type absences.

The patient should consult his doctor if he is taking other medicines.


This medicine comes in several presentations. The family doctor is the one who is qualified to indicate how each patient should use it.

  • Tablets. In tablet, capsule or tablet form.
  • Orally disintegrating tablets. These are the ones that disintegrate in the mouth.


  • Water. The orally disintegrating tablets do not require liquid to swallow, it is enough to place them in the mouth. It is recommended to uncover the aluminum coating with dry hands so that it does not break.
  • Schedule. The medication should be taken at the same time every day of the treatment.
  • Food. The capsule or tablet presentations can be taken with or without food. So, do not worry if you take clonazepam without food.
  • In case of forgetfulness. If the patient forgets a dose, he/she should take the capsule as soon as he/she remembers it. If a long time has passed and the next dose is due, the patient should take the corresponding dose. Do not double the dose, it is not necessary to take two pills.

It is important to continue treatment, even if improvement is experienced. Abruptly interrupting the medication can trigger hallucinations, cramps, convulsions, among other symptoms associated with withdrawal.

If you have any doubts, you should consult with the specialist, who will explain how long the treatment will last and what is the appropriate dosage.


In general, this drug should be used temporarily. However, if the patient extends its use, there is no chance of death. However, overdose may cause a temporary coma. Generally, the patient recovers after a few hours in a coma. Of course, the discomfort is serious.

On the other hand, hypotension, areflexia, apnea, cardiorespiratory depression may also be experienced.


The symptoms are usually as follows:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion, hallucinations, incoordination.
  • Temporary coma.


This drug is considered effective in treating various nervous pathologies, however, side effects may be experienced.

  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sexual ability
  • Increased saliva elevation
  • Blurred vision and dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Rash
  • Difficulty breathing or even swallowing.


In order to reduce side effects and prevent some problems associated with taking this drug, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Do not drink alcohol while on treatment with clonazepam.
  • Patients with sleep apnea, chronic pulmonary insufficiency or impaired renal or hepatic function should take low doses of this drug.
  • It is not recommended in drivers.
  • It may cause addiction if taken in high doses.
  • The suspension of the drug should be done progressively, it should never be interrupted abruptly.
  • It is compatible with other drugs for epilepsy, but the specialist must weigh each drug. The specialist should be informed if you are taking any type of herbs, vitamin supplements, among others.
  • If serious side effects such as difficulty breathing, inflammation of the tongue, eyes or throat occur, call the doctor immediately.


  • Pregnancy. It is contraindicated in pregnant or lactating patients.
  • Glaucoma. Patients with glaucoma should not consume it.
  • Allergy sufferers. This medicine contains lactose. Therefore, if the patient is intolerant, he/she should not take it.

In conclusion, clonazepam is a drug with a composition that contributes to improve the state of health of some patients, but the recommendations of the specialist should be followed to reduce side effects.

Carlos José Belmonte López
Carlos José Belmonte López
Degree in Pharmacy from the University CEU San Pablo and Master's Degree from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid. Doctorate and committed to Human Health

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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