Clonazepam is used to prevent and control seizures. This medication is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. It is also used to treat panic attacks. Clonazepam works by calming your brain and nerves. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking clonazepam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 or 3 times daily.
Do not remove the tablet from its pouch until you are ready to take it. Dry your hands before handling the medication. Open the pouch and peel back the foil layer. Do not push the tablet through the foil because it may get damaged. Place the dose in your mouth where it will quickly dissolve. You can then swallow it with saliva or water. You do not need to take this medication with water.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. For children, the dose is also based on weight. Older adults usually start with a lower dose to decrease the risk of side effects. Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than directed.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures, mental/mood changes, shaking, stomach/muscle cramps) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.
If you have several different types of seizure disorders, you may experience a worsening of seizures when you first start using clonazepam. Consult your doctor right away if this happens. Your doctor may need to add or adjust the dose of your other medications to control the seizures.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A small number of people who take anticonvulsants for any condition (such as seizures, bipolar disorder, pain) may experience depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, or other mental/mood problems. Tell your doctor right away if you or your family/caregiver notice any unusual/sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior, including: confusion, memory problems, signs of depression, suicidal thoughts/attempts, thoughts about harming yourself.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking clonazepam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzodiazepines (such as diazepam, lorazepam); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: a certain type of eye problem (narrow angle glaucoma), liver disease, kidney disease, lung/breathing problems, mental/mood problems (such as depression, thoughts of suicide), regular use/abuse of drugs/alcohol/other substances.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
For children, the long-term effects on physical and mental/behavioral development are uncertain and may not be seen until after many years. Therefore, discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with clonazepam with your doctor.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug, especially drowsiness and confusion. These side effects can increase the risk of falling.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. However, since untreated seizures are a serious condition that can harm both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Products that may interact with this drug include: sodium oxybate.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including alcohol, antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, confusion, loss of consciousness, slowed/decreased reflexes.
Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as liver function tests, complete blood count) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised November 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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