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5 Things You Need to Know About Clonazepam

By Contributor ; Updated August 14, 2017

For What is Clonazepam Used?

Clonazepam, sold under the brand name of Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine drug that doctors may prescribe to control seizures or anxiety. Clonazepam comes in tablet form; your doctor will determine the dosage. Some doctors prescribe it to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease, pain control, twitching or schizophrenia. It's important that patients read labels and the information the doctor and pharmacy provide when beginning a new medication. If you have any questions, ask the pharmacist or your doctor.

Habit-Forming, but Sometimes Necessary

Because clonazepam can be habit-forming, it's important that you never take the drug more often, in larger doses or for a longer period than your doctor prescribes it. You can develop a tolerance to clonazepam with long-term or excessive use, rendering the drug ineffective. Don't skip any doses, and don't stop taking it suddenly. Your doctor can give you guidance on how to safely wean yourself off clonazepam. Despite the side effects of this drug, the benefits may outweigh the risks. You and your doctor must decide this together.

Clonazepam Side Effects

This drug causes drowsiness, so be careful when driving or operating machinery. Avoid mixing it with any other drugs or alcohol that also cause drowsiness. Other common side effects include dizziness, weakness, decreased appetite, dry mouth, diarrhea and stomach upset. Clonazepam side effects that are serious and warrant a call to your doctor are constipation, difficulty urinating or excessive urination, changes in libido, blurred vision and restlessness. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a seizure, a shuffling walk, persistent tremors, irregular heartbeat, yellow eyes or skin, difficulty breathing or swallowing, severe rash or fever.

Your Doctor Needs to Know

Certain drugs don't mix well with clonazepam. Tell your doctor about all other medications you're taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and herbals. As with all prescription medications, tell your doctor if you're pregnant or nursing. If you become pregnant while taking it, call your doctor immediately. Smoking cigarettes might decrease the effectiveness of clonazepam, so tell your doctor if you smoke.

Vital Considerations

Clonazepam needs to be stored away from heat and moisture, so lock it up in a cabinet that is not in the bathroom. Keep it away from children, and don't let anyone else take your medication. It is important that you keep appointments with your doctor because he needs to monitor your blood while taking this drug. If you take clonazepam for seizures, wear a Medic Alert bracelet stating this and that you are taking clonazepam.

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