Side Effects of Klonopin (Clonazepam) on the Brain and Body
Clonazepam (also known by its brand name Klonopin) is a prescription benzodiazepine medication.1 When taken as prescribed, Klonopin can be helpful in offering relief from the symptoms of certain disorders. However, when misused, Klonopin carries a risk of dependence.1
This page will cover the effects that Klonopin can produce, as well as what to expect from withdrawal and how to seek help.
Side Effects of Klonopin on the Brain and Body
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that can be prescribed by a professional to treat panic disorder and certain types of seizure disorders.1 However, Klonopin is also widely misused throughout the United States due to the euphoric effects it can produce.2
According to the results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.2 million people in the United States misused tranquilizers or sedatives (including clonazepam) in the past year.3 Those who misuse Klonopin can experience several effects of this medication, some of which can be potentially fatal.
Short-Term Side Effects of Klonopin
Common short-term side effects of Klonopin may include but are not limited to: 4,5
- Drowsiness and fatigue.
- Poor motor coordination, including problems walking.
- Memory problems.
- Slowed breathing.
- Problems with attention.
Long-Term Side Effects of Klonopin
Over time, the misuse of benzodiazepine medications like Klonopin can increase the risk of certain long-term effects, including the development of dependence, addiction, and the potential onset of withdrawal symptoms upon abrupt discontinuation of Klonopin.4
Long-term side effects of Klonopin include deficits in:
- Processing speed.
- Divided attention.
- Sustained attention.
- Working memory.
- Expressive language.
- Recent memory.
- Organizing spatial information.
Studies on the long-term use of benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, are contributing to the growing evidence of a range of impairments on neuropsychological functioning.
How Long Do the Effects of Klonopin Last?
The amount of the Klonopin dose, frequency of use, and how long an individual has been taking the medication can impact how long effects last.1 Using Klonopin in tandem with other drugs can also contribute to the duration and seriousness of symptoms and effects. In particular, taking clonazepam with opioid drugs such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and heroin can lead to serious effects including slowed breathing and even death.1
Pills obtained illicitly may also contain other substances unknown to the user that could affect the duration and severity of Klonopin effects. These pills often contain methamphetamine or fentanyl, and can be very dangerous.6
Consuming alcohol while taking clonazepam also decreases the benefits of the medication and, at the same time, increases the adverse effects.1 If you believe you or your loved one may be experiencing negative side effects of Klonopin, reach out to a medical professional.
Klonopin Withdrawal Side Effects
The continued use of Klonopin can lead to significant physical dependence and subsequent withdrawal effects. If an individual attempts to rapidly decrease the amount of Klonopin they regularly consume or abruptly stop taking the benzodiazepine completely, they may experience withdrawal symptoms.4
Withdrawal side effects can develop within several hours to a few days after the reduction or cessation of Klonopin. Withdrawal symptoms may include:7
- Increased pulse (greater than 100 beats per minute).
- Hand tremor.
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping.
- Vomiting or nausea.
- Hallucinations or illusions.
- Unintentional and restless repetitive movements.
There are risks associated with stopping Klonopin use abruptly, therefore it is best to consult with your health care provider first.1 If you think you or a loved one is experiencing withdrawal effects of Klonopin, call 911 immediately, as it can become life-threatening.4
Get Help for Klonopin Misuse and Addiction
It is important to work with an addiction specialist through an evidence-based rehabilitation program to overcome addiction to Klonopin. If you are struggling to stop using this medication, we can help. We offer addiction treatment in Nevada that starts with safe medical detox and includes co-occurring disorder care to address anxiety or other mental health struggles.