Clonazepam is a prescription drug with the brand name Klonopin; it is used to treat panic disorders and to stop certain seizures in both children and adults. The drug is also available in its generic form, and it belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines.
Clonazepam is sometimes used as part of a combination therapy to get better results; it works by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that sends signals through the body.
If a person doesn’t have enough GABA, their body may go into an excited state that causes them to panic or have seizures. However, clonazepam increases GABA and helps control the seizures and panic attacks.
Clonazepam is available in different strengths of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg, and the dosage is given based on age, drug form, type and severity of the condition, and other medical conditions you have.
Dosage for Panic Disorder
For panic disorder in adults of 18 to 64 years, the typical starting dose is 0.25 mg taken twice daily. Your doctor may increase the dosage by 0.5 mg if necessary, but the maximum daily dosage is 4 mg.
It has not been confirmed if this medication is safe for people younger than 18 years. For older adults who are 65 years and above, a doctor may prescribe lower doses because they are more susceptible to the side effects of the drug.
Dosage for Seizures
For treating seizures, adults aged 18 to 64 years and children aged 11 to 17 can take 0.5 mg of clonazepam 3 times daily, and if necessary, the doctor may increase the dose by 0.5 mg to 1 mg, but the maximum dose is 20 mg.
For children below 11 years, the dosage will be based on their weight, and older adults above 65 will get lower doses to reduce the risk of side effects.
Side Effects of Clonazepam
Common side effects of this medication include:
- Memory problems.
- Problems with coordination or walking.
Clonazepam may also cause severe side effects, including:
- Changes in mood/behaviour.
- Unusual muscle movement.
- Being active/talkative.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Before taking this drug, tell your doctor if you have any drug allergies and if you have a medical history of eye problems, liver disease, any blood disorder, kidney disease, mental disorders, substance abuse, or breathing problems.
Clonazepam may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or use machinery after taking the drug, and tell your doctor that you are using the drug before having surgery. Older adults are more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially confusion and drowsiness.