Klonopin (clonazepam) is an extremely potent medication that is used to treat not just anxiety but also panic disorders, seizure disorders, convulsions, status epilepticus, restless legs syndrome, muscle spasms in ALS, parasomnia (unusual movements and emotions during sleep, including sleep walking and sleep sex), mania, hyperekplexia (exaggerated facial expressions), social phobia, Tourette's syndrome, and a movement disorder known as akathisia (repeated motions, such as twiddling thumbs, or tapping feet).
Unlike some psychoactive medications that work on just one kind of receptor in the brain, Klonopin is an antagonist for at least seventeen different kinds of brain receptors, including dopamine D1-D5, α-adrenoreceptor, histamine H1, muscarinic M1-M5 and 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, 5-HT2C, 5-HT3 and 5-HT6 receptors.
It is extremely inexpensive. The wholesale price of the drug is as little as US $0.01 a pill, and even with extravagant price markups, it still costs no more than US $0.40 a dose anywhere. It is a very well known and well understood drug, but that does not mean it is without side effects.
The most common side effect of Klonopin and also other medications in the benzodiazepine class is drowsiness. It can also cause motor impairment. "Do not drive or operate heavy machinery" is a common warning for people using this drug.
Some people report symptoms like hangover if they take Klonopin just before going to bed. They may experience sluggishness, headaches, and fatigue when they wake up, probably because the drug continues to work for six to twelve hours after it is taken, and it takes up to 90 hours to be eliminated from the body altogether.
The liver enzyme needed to eliminate the drug is inhibited by antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal drugs such as arythromycin, clarithromycin, ritonavir, itraconazole, and ketoconazole, or by grapefruit juice. Using any of these medications or drinking grapefruit juice will make the hangover more severe.
There are antiseizure drugs that reduce the effectiveness of Klonopin. On the other hand, Klonopin reduces the effectiveness of some medications used to treat schizophrenia. It enhances the effects of alcohol and the herb kava-kava, and it,oddly enough, can induce extreme fatigue in persons who are being treated for yeast infections.
With all of these potent side effects, it is important not to use Klonopin too long. Typically, patients will get a prescription for enough pills for two weeks and no refills. People who are over 60 get about half the dose given to younger adults, but persons under the age of 18 generally are not given Klonopin at all. That is because in both children and the elderly, as well as in people who have developmental challenges, the drug can have paradoxical effects. It can trigger rage, excitement, and impulsivity, along with symptoms similar to ADHD.
Should you take Klonopin if your doctor offers it to you? Usually the answer is yes, but you need to have a clear understanding with your doctor about how long you will be on the drug. Ask about potential side effects and what to do about them. Ask how long you will need to stay on the drug.
There is one herb that has an effect similar to Klonopin, and that herb is kava (also known as kava-kava). This herb from the South Pacific contains natural benzodiazepines that act in the same way as the drug, and that is the problem. Although kava is less potent that Klonopin, it can cause some of the same side effects, just with less severity. It is also less reliable for relieving symptoms, so it may be a better idea to speak with the doctor about lowering the dose of Klonopin if side effects arise, rather than switching to an herbal medication.
Still have something to ask?
Get help from other members!