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- What is clonazepam, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for clonazepam?
- Is clonazepam available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for clonazepam?
- What are the uses for clonazepam?
- What are the side effects of clonazepam?
- What is the dosage for clonazepam?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with clonazepam?
- Is clonazepam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about clonazepam?
What is clonazepam, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Clonazepam is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits brain activity. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may lead to anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. Clonazepam is primarily used for treating panic disorder and preventing certain types of seizures.
- The FDA approved clonazepam in June 1975.
What are the uses for clonazepam?
Clonazepam is used for:
What are the side effects of clonazepam?
The most common side effects associated with clonazepam are sedation, which is reported in approximately half of patients. Dizziness is reported in one-third of patients.
Other common side effects include:
- A feeling of depression,
- Loss of orientation,
- Unsteadiness, and
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of inhibition
- Changes in sexual desire
Other serious side effects of clonazepam include:
- Respiratory depression
- Enlarged liver
- Withdrawal symptoms (if stopped suddenly)
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Blood disorders
Other serious adverse reactions:
- Antiepileptic medications have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need for the antiepileptic drug. Patients who begin antiepileptic therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.
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What is the dosage for clonazepam?
The dose of clonazepam is tailored to the patient's needs.
- For seizures in adults the initial dose is 1.5 mg daily in 3 divided doses.
- Dosage may be increased by 0.5 to 1 mg daily every 3 days until seizures are controlled or side effects preclude further increases in dose.
- The maximum dose is 20 mg daily. The initial dose for panic disorders is 0.25 mg twice daily.
- The dose may be increased to the target dose of 1 mg daily after 3 days.
Which drugs or supplements interact with clonazepam?
Is clonazepam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines have been associated with fetal damage, including congenital malformations, when taken by pregnant women in their first trimester. Clonazepam is best avoided in the first trimester and probably throughout pregnancy.
- Benzodiazepines are secreted in breast milk. Mothers who are breastfeeding should not take clonazepam.
What else should I know about clonazepam?
What preparations of clonazepam are available?
- Tablets: 0.5, 1, and 2 mg;
- Disintegrating tablets: 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, and 2 mg.
How should I keep clonazepam stored?
Tablets should be kept at room temperature, between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F).
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Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common cause for painful legs that typically eases with motion, and becomes worse and more noticeable at rest. This characteristic nighttime worsening can frequently lead to insomnia. Treatment of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome is generally with medication as well as treating any underlying condition causing restless leg syndrome.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Seizures Symptoms and Types
Seizures are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are produced by electrical impulses from throughout the brain, while partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses in a small part of the brain. Seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. A person experiencing a panic attack may believe that he or she is having a heart attack or that death is imminent. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms: racing heartbeat, faintness, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers, chills, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of loss or control. There are several treatments for panic attacks.
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Tourette syndrome is disorder, which symptoms include involuntary facial tics, motor tics, and vocal tics. The cause of Tourette syndrome is not known. ADHD is associated with Tourette syndrome. Treatment includes medication, psychotherapy, and in severe cases surgery.
Agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or of being in a situation from which escape would be impossible. Symptoms include anxiety, fear, disorientation, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, or dizziness. Treatment may incorporate psychotherapy, self-exposure to the anxiety-causing situation, and medications such as SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Febrile seizures, or convulsions caused by fever, can be frightening in small children or infants. However, in general, febrile seizures are harmless. Febrile seizure is not epilepsy. It is estimated that one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure. It is important to know what to do to help your child if he/she has a febrile seizure. Some of the features of a febrile seizure include: losing consciousness, shaking, moving limbs on both sides of the body, lasts 1-2 minutes. Less commonly, a febrile seizure may only affect one side of the body.
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