What is Klonopin?

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Klonopin is the generic name for a medication called clonazepam.

Clonazepam is a type of prescription medication called a benzodiazepine. Other benzodiazepine medications include, but are not limited to: alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clobazam, clorazepate, diazepam, estazolam, flurazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, oxazepam, quazepam, temazepam, triazolam, remimazolam.

Klonopin acts on the benzodiazepine receptor system in the human central nervous system. Benzodiazepine medications are most often prescribed for the following conditions:

  • Insomnia
  • Acute status epilepticus (seizures)
  • Induction of amnesia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Spastic and seizure disorders

Anyone prescribed Klonopin should understand its side effect profile, which we’ll describe now.

Klonopin Side Effects

Klonopin is an effective medication when used as directed, but Klonopin use is accompanied by a wide range of side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Drowsy
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Ataxia (loss of control of body movements)
  • Slurred speech
  • Sedation
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Stomach pain
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Central nervous system depression
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat)

In addition, Klonopin use can be accompanied by serious side effects which require immediate medical attention. These less common, more serious side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Problems with memory
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Suicidality: suicidal ideation or suicide attempts
  • Thoughts about engaging in self-harm
  • Shallow breathing
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Infected sores/wounds

Some people have an allergic reaction to Klonopin. Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, itching or swelling, extreme dizziness, and problems breathing. A person taking Klonopin who experiences any of these side effects should seek medical attention immediately.

How Long Does Klonopin Stay in Your System?

Klonopin is a long-lasting benzodiazepine, which means it stays in your body longer than most other benzodiazepine medications. In general, it stays in your bloodstream for anywhere from 5-14 days.

The time it takes your body to process and eliminate the medication depends on the following factors:


Younger people process benzodiazepines more quickly than older people


The higher the dosage, the longer benzodiazepines will stay in the body

Frequency of Use:

The more often someone takes benzodiazepines, the longer they stay in the body

Duration of Use:

The longer a person uses benzodiazepines, the longer it takes for the body to process them

Overall Health:

A healthy person with a smooth-functioning metabolism will process and eliminate benzodiazepines more quickly than someone with serious chronic health conditions

Liver Function:

A person with a healthy liver will process and eliminate benzodiazepines more quickly than a person with compromised liver function due to pathology/disease

Body Mass Index (BMI):

Klonopin will sequester in fat cells. Therefore, the higher the body mass index, the longer Klonopin stays in the body.

Presence of Other Medications:

In some cases, other medications interact with Klonopin and cause it to stay in the body longer than usual.

Dangers of Klonopin

All benzodiazepine medications have a risk of dependence and addiction. Most people build up a tolerance for Klonopin, which means they need to take more of the medication to achieve the same effect. This happens more often with people who misuse Klonopin for recreational purposes and take more than directed.

When a person with a physical dependence on Klonopin discontinues use, they can go into withdrawal, which is extremely uncomfortable.

Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms

Common symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle aches
  • Depression

Patients on high doses of Klonopin may experience:

  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Seizures

Typical Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

First Phase, Days 1-4:

  • Initial withdrawal symptoms appear
  • Anxiety and insomnia are the most common initial symptoms

Second Phase, Days 5-9:

  • Full range of symptoms appear
  • Intensity of withdrawal symptoms is highest

Third Phase, Days 10-14:

  • Symptoms begin to fade at around 10 days after discontinuation of use
  • Most symptoms fade after two weeks

Day 15 and Beyond:

Around 10%-15% of people who stop use experience a longer withdrawal syndrome, called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paresthesia, or tingling, pins and needles, or numbness in arms and legs
  • Restless legs
  • Muscle jerking
  • Stomach problems

In most cases, people who experience PAWS require professional support in the form of therapy or counseling. However, the best way to manage PAWS is to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which means eating healthy food, getting plenty of sleep, getting plenty of exercise and activity, and engaging in stress-management and self-care activities.

The Benefits of Klonopin

Klonopin and other similar medications are essential medications for treating seizures. Evidence indicates that 1%-2% of emergency room visits every year are for seizures, and benzodiazepines like Klonopin are a first line medication that are effective in stopping seizures.

In addition, common off-label uses help people manage Tourette syndrome, sleep disorders, and tardive dykinesia (uncontrolled facial movements). In some cases, people in treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) will receive a short-term prescription for a benzodiazepine medication in order to prevent the delirium, tremors, and delirium tremens associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Klonopin: Use As Directed

When used as directed, Klonopin is a safe and effective medication. However, anyone who receives a prescription for Klonopin should have a serious conversation with their provider about both the risks and benefits of Klonopin.

The materials provided on the Pinnacle Blog are for information and educational purposes only. No behavioral health or any other professional services are provided through the Blog and the information obtained through the Blog is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional. If you are in need of medical or behavioral health treatment, please contact a qualified health professional directly, and if you are in need of emergency help, please go to your nearest emergency room or dial 911.