In This Article
What is Clonazepam (Klonopin)?
Clonazepam (brand name is Klonopin®) belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Other well-known brand-name benzodiazepines are Valium® (diazepam), Xanax® (Alprazolam), and Ativan® (Lorazepam).
Like other benzodiazepines, clonazepam joins at the benzodiazepine site in GABA-A receptors to affect the central nervous system (CNS). This means that health care professionals can prescribe clonazepam to treat different medical conditions, such as:
- Panic disorders (including panic attacks)
- Anxiety disorders
- Seizures (including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome)
- Akathisia (restlessness and need to be continually moving)
- Acute catatonic reactions (in which individuals move or speak atypically or not at all)
For clonazepam to take full effect, individuals will need to wait at least a few weeks or more. However, due to its potential for dependence, this type of drug is habit-forming. Misuse or abuse may occur.
When an individual misuses clonazepam, especially with other drugs like alcohol or opioids, there is a high risk of overdose, coma, or even death.
How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?
The drug clonazepam has an elimination half-life of approximately 30 to 40 hours. This means that it takes a person’s system around that amount of time to eliminate at least half of the dose given.
Traces of clonazepam may be present in different bodily samples. However, the length of time that it remains in the body may vary from one sample to another. Factors that can affect detectability and detection times of this drug include:
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Last dose
- Body fat
- Liver function
Clonazepam may appear detectable in blood up to 5 to 7 days after the last use.
Clonazepam may appear detectable in saliva up to 5 to 6 days after the last use.
Different hair test studies on clonazepam have shown detection times of up to 28 days.
Urine tests may detect the presence of clonazepam in the body. However, the test may not be able to detail the exact amount. Long-acting benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, can be present in urine for up to 30 days.
Side Effects of Klonopin Abuse
Clonazepam or Klonopin is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This means that this drug does not have a high potential for abuse or physical dependence.
However, if individuals do abuse Klonopin, they may experience a worsening of side effects associated with the drug, including:
- Issues with coordination
- Trouble with memory or thought-processing function
- Increased saliva
- Pain in muscles or joints
- Frequent urination
- Trouble with vision
- Alterations in sexual desire or performance
Klonopin is a DEA-classified depressant. Street names for drugs like Klonopin include benzos, downers, nerve pills, and tranks.
When individuals abuse Klonopin and experience an overdose, symptoms may include:
- Cardiorespiratory depression (slowed, ineffective breathing)
- Areflexia (when muscles do not react to stimuli as expected)
- Apnea (breathing comes to a halt)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
In most cases, overdose with Klonopin is not life-threatening, and effects can be reversed.
Symptoms & Risks of Klonopin Addiction
Klonopin has a low potential for abuse and dependence. However, if an individual becomes addicted to the drug, there is the risk of misuse with other drugs, overdose, and even death.
Individuals who take Klonopin with opioid medications or alcohol may experience the following symptoms:
- Slowed or irregular breathing
- Extreme sleepiness
It is important to remember that Klonopin, like opioids or alcohol, are CNS depressants. When combined, the side effects of any of the substances can worsen.
At least 30% of opioid overdoses in the United States involve benzodiazepines.
It is also important to highlight that benzodiazepine use has been associated with emergency room visits, mental disorders, suicidal thoughts, and substance use.
Treatment for Klonopin Addiction
If you or a loved one misuse or abuse Klonopin, different addiction treatment options are available to help treat the condition and pave the path to recovery.
Before stopping Klonopin, you should reach out to your closest medical professional to speak about drug discontinuation. Prescription drugs like Klonopin can lead to withdrawal symptoms that, if not monitored, may result in an overdose.
Medical professionals may recommend signing up for an inpatient or outpatient treatment center for the detoxification process. Such detox programs can promote a healthier, more pleasant recovery experience. Tapering (gradual reduction of drug dosage) may be included in your treatment plan to prevent any sudden, severe withdrawal symptoms.
Medical professionals may also recommend that you enroll in therapy programs like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy. A combination of behavioral therapy and guided medical assistance will raise your chances of recovering while lowering the risk of relapses in the future.