Anxiety Treatment and Klonopin - Dosage Requirements

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine sometimes used to treat SAD.
Klonopin is used to treat anxiety.. Getty / BSIP/UIG

Klonopin (clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of panic disorder and also sometimes used for social anxiety disorder.

Benzodiazepines have their effect by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The use of Klonopin can be helpful in controlling anxiety; it generally works quickly to reduce anxiety, however it may take some time before you start to feel the full benefit of the medication.

How to Take Klonopin

Klonopin is available as a tablet or an orally disintegrating tablet (wafer). Regular tablets should be taken with water, whereas wafers can be swallowed without water. It is usually taken one to three times a day, with or without food.

Dosage Guidelines

The initial daily dosage of Klonopin for panic disorder is 0.5 mg to 1 mg a day in divided dosages. The dose may be increased as needed.

If you are taking Klonopin for social anxiety disorder (SAD), your doctor should initially prescribe a low dose for a limited period of time (such as one week) and then follow up with an evaluation of its effectiveness, side effects, and dosage adjustment.

Who Should Not Take Klonopin

You should not take Klonopin if you have a history of sensitivity to benzodiazepines, significant liver disease or acute narrow-angle glaucoma. Use of Klonopin while pregnant or breastfeeding is not advised.

There is also no data on the safety or effectiveness of Klonopin in children under 18 years of age.

Medication Interactions

There are a number of potential medication interactions with Klonopin. Several classes of medications including narcotics, barbiturates, nonbarbiturate hypnotics, antianxiety agents, phenothiazines, thioxanthene and butyrophenone classes of antipsychotic agents, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants may potentiate the depressant or sedative effects of Klonopin.

In addition, the effects of Klonopin may be intensified if combined with other drugs or alcohol. It is important that your doctor is aware of all medications that you are currently taking.

Adverse Effects

The most common potential adverse effects of taking Klonopin are somnolence, dizziness, and cognitive impairment. These effects generally increase with larger doses and for older individuals.

Other potential adverse effects include the following:

  • unsteadiness
  • coordination problems
  • increased production of saliva
  • pain in muscles or joints
  • frequent urination
  • blurred vision
  • changes in sex drive or sexual performance

Some additional adverse effects can be serious and should be reported to your doctor immediately. These include rashes, hives, swelling (of your face, throat, eyes, etc.), and trouble breathing or swallowing.

Associated Risks

In general, there is some risk of physical and psychological dependence when taking Klonopin.

If you stop taking Klonopin suddenly you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Be sure to follow your doctor's directions for discontinuing this medication or changing your dose. Never stop taking this medication abruptly without talking to your doctor, even if you are experiencing adverse effects.

The consequences of overdose are generally not life threatening unless combined with other drugs or alcohol.

Driving, operating dangerous machinery and participating in hazardous activities should not be undertaken until you know how you will react to Klonopin.

Medication Disposal

Be sure to throw away medication that is not needed. You can talk with your pharmacist about the proper way to dispose of this medication.

Other Anxiety Medications:

Sources:

Masdrakis VG, Turic D, Baldwin DS. Pharmacological treatment of social anxiety disorder. Mod Trends Pharmacopsychiatri. 2013;29:144-53.

Roche Laboratories. Klonopin: Complete Product Information. Accessed January 14, 2008.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Clonazepam. Accessed May 19, 2016.

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