Klonopin is a benzodiazepine derivative. It is marketed by Roche pharmaceuticals under the trade name Klonopin in the United States. Other trade names such as Ravotril, Rivatril, and Clonex are known throughout the rest of the world. In Australia, klonopin is marketed under the generic name Paxam. It is one of the longest acting benzodiazepines on the market.
Klonopin is registered as a schedule IV drug in the United States. It is illegal to possess klonopin without a proper prescription from a doctor or physician. It is a derivative of the benzodiazepine family and is one of the most popular drugs in that category along with Xanax, Ativan, and Valium.
Klonopin is used for a number of medicinal purposes. It is prescribed for anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia, epilepsy, mania and restless leg syndrome. Klonopin has been proven most effective in clinical trials for individuals with panic and anxiety disorders. It is considered safer than some of the other benzodiazepines because of the length of time it takes to build up a tolerance, making dependency less likely compared to Xanax or Valium. Recent studies have also shown Klonopin to be effective in treating individuals who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. The drug is also abused recreationally as are many of the benzodiazepine derivatives. It can be taken orally, and injected intravenously.
The side effects of klonopin can affect an individual’s motor skills and cause drowsiness.
Less common effects of klonopin that usually occur when the substance is being abused are as follows:
- Irritability and aggression
- Loss of libido
- Lack of motivation
- Cognitive impairments
- Memory loss
- Hangover-like symptoms such as headache and nausea
The use of klonopin can also cause liver damage as use becomes consistent over time. Long term use can also alter the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain causing depression when not under the influence of the drug. This is an example of chemical dependency.
The consistent use of klonopin leads to the development of tolerance with a decrease in benzodiazepine receptor sites. Once a tolerance is built and individuals need more of the drug to feel the same effects. This is how one becomes addicted and physically dependent. One third of individuals who consistently took klonopin for more than four weeks developed a tolerance. Addiction to klonopin is very serious and can be life threatening. It is recommended that an individual with a physical dependence to klonopin seek treatment or professional help immediately.
Once a tolerance to klonopin is built up in an individual’s system they may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. The withdrawal from klonopin as well as other benzodiazepines can be fatal.
The symptoms of klonopin withdrawal include:
- Dysphoric manifestations
Drugs classified as benzodiazepines should be weaned off of slowly to help deter some of these serious health risks.
Overdose from klonopin is rare but does occasionally happen. When klonopin is mixed with other substances such as opiates, alcohol or barbiturates the risk of overdose is particularly dangerous. The mixture of opiates and benzodiazepines has been notorious throughout recent years as a cocktail for overdose and death. The symptoms of klonopin overdose are mild or moderate impairment of the central nervous system, impaired motor functions, dizziness, slurred speech, delirium, and hallucinations. If these symptoms are present it is recommended to immediately seek medical attention.