Klonopin and Alcohol Interactions

It is not considered safe to mix prescription medications like Klonopin with alcohol. When Klonopin is combined with alcohol, the interaction can be deadly. You should avoid consuming alcohol while taking Klonopin. Read why below.
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What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name of the FDA-approved prescription drug, Clonazepam. Doctors prescribe it to treat, prevent, and control seizure disorders, panic attacks, insomnia, and anxiety disorders. By calming down your central nervous system (CNS), it can help you to get through some sudden attacks and generalized anxiety.

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Klonopin is considered an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug, which belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines (also called benzos, BZD, or BDZ). These drugs affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that the nerves release to communicate.

Other common benzodiazepines include the following:

  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Versed (midazolam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Librium (chlordiazepoxide)

While Klonopin can treat various problems, as with all prescription drugs, there are some risks associated with taking it, of which you should be aware. This is especially true if you take Klonopin in higher doses. As with all medications, you should seek medical advice about your prescription and proceed with caution.

Klonopin

Side Effects of Klonopin

The side effects of Klonopin may range from uncomfortable to dangerous depending on your dosage and how long you take the drug. High doses of Klonopin and long-term use of the drug can exacerbate the common side effects associated with it. These side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Loss of control of bodily movements
  • Depression
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Memory impairment
  • Loss of sex drive

For some people, Klonopin can be addictive both psychologically and physically because it causes feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Some people abuse Klonopin to combat the anxiety that comes with other substance abuse. But poly-substance abuse can lead to serious consequences, such as a potential Klonopin overdose and organ failure.

Some signs of Klonopin abuse and misuse include the following:

  • Doctor shopping for stronger and more Klonopin prescriptions
  • Using Klonopin despite negative consequences
  • Using Klonopin for reasons that are not medical
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of motivation
  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Withdrawal from personal relationships
  • Decreased interest in activities
  • Increased tolerance for Klonopin

Some adverse side effects of Klonopin abuse and misuse include the following:

  • Irritability and agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sensitivity to sights and sounds
  • Increased sweating
  • Tingling sensation
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Numbness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased salivation and urination
  • Sex drive changes
  • Seizures
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Cognitive challenges
  • Cravings
  • Psychosis

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of Klonopin abuse, reach out for help immediately. Because Klonopin can be addictive, Klonopin use can quickly spiral out of control and lead to overdose and even death.

Can You Mix Klonopin and Alcohol?

With many prescription medications, mixing alcohol while taking the medication can decrease the benefits of your prescription and increase the adverse side effects of the medication, such as drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. Depending on the prescription drug, alcohol can make the medication less effective, render it completely useless, or even make the medication harmful to your body.

It is not considered safe to mix prescription medications like Klonopin with alcohol (both are CNS depressants). When Klonopin is combined with alcohol or otherwise abused, the medication can be deadly. You should avoid consuming alcohol while taking Klonopin.

The Klonopin half life is about 30 to 40 hours. It’s important to consult your doctor about consuming alcohol before, during, or for some time after taking any prescription medication, including Klonopin. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you a different, less-harmful medication or recommend alternative forms of treatment for your problem.

Who is Most Likely to Abuse Alcohol and Klonopin?

People with mental health disorders and those who struggle with alcohol abuse or drug abuse are at higher risks of abusing alcohol and Klonopin together. Studies also show that young people (under the age of 25) and single people are at a higher risk of abusing prescription drugs and alcohol.

If you or someone you know is at a higher risk of developing a Klonopin addiction or abusing the substance, talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns before starting your prescription.

Side Effects of Mixing Klonopin With Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while taking Klonopin (like other drug interactions) can increase certain side effects associated with both the use of alcohol and the medication. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Memory problems
  • Increased heart rate

Mixing Klonopin and alcohol can also be fatal. If you or someone you know is experiencing any side effects from taking Klonopin with alcohol use, contact your healthcare provider for medical help immediately.

Dangers of Alcohol and Klonopin Interaction 

Drinking alcohol while taking Klonopin is dangerous to your health. In some cases, it can even risk your life. Because central nervous system depressants like Klonopin and alcohol increase drowsiness and slow your breathing and heart rate, combining Klonopin and alcohol can intensify these effects. This can be dangerous since it can lead you to not getting enough oxygen, falling, or seriously injuring yourself.

Can You Overdose on Klonopin and Alcohol?

Yes, you can overdose on Klonopin and alcohol. It’s easier to have a Klonopin overdose while drinking alcohol because of your impaired judgment. The combination of alcohol can also make certain drugs toxic to your body, which can cause severe adverse reactions.

Overdosing can lead to serious harm, including permanent disabilities, and it can kill you.

Treatment for Alcohol and Klonopin Addiction

Fortunately, there is alcohol addiction and substance abuse treatment available for those who may need it. Treatment options include the following:

  • An inpatient rehab treatment facility is a live-in center that offers access to resources and support from medical personnel and trained therapists.
  • An outpatient rehab center offers the same support as an inpatient facility without residency.
  • An alternative addiction treatment program might include holistic medications, spiritual retreats, religious practices, etc.
  • A detox program can help wean you off of your alcohol or Klonopin addiction in a slow but safe and steady way.
  • A group therapy treatment center offers guided conversations and psychological practices. They offer the support and inspiration of others in similar situations with the help of trained professionals.
  • Traditional talk therapy can help you identify and unpack any conscious and subconscious triggers of alcohol or substance use, as well as resolve repressed memories and emotions that may be at the root of your addiction.

If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to Klonopin, alcohol, or both, contact a medical professional immediately. Substance and alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and it is better to fight addiction with professional help than alone.

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Resources

“Clonazepam (Klonopin).” NAMI, www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Clonazepam-(Klonopin)

“Clonazepam (Klonopin): Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList, RxList, 25 Apr. 2017, www.rxlist.com/consumer_clonazepam_klonopin/drugs-condition.htm

“Is Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol Dangerous? Risks and Treatment Options.” Addiction Rehabilitation at Windward Way Recovery Center, windwardway.com/alcoholism/mixing-klonopin/.

“Klonopin: Abuse, Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal and Treatment.” Nova Recovery Center Near Austin Texas, 18 Aug. 2020, novarecoverycenter.com/drugs/klonopin/

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Updated on: November 22, 2020
Author
AnnaMarie Houlis
About
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Medically Reviewed
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
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