Clonazepam Drug Class
Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is a prescription drug licensed for the treatment of panic disorder in people with or without agoraphobia. It can also be used to treat certain types of epileptic seizures, including:
- Seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (a severe form of epilepsy)
- Akinetic seizures (also known as atonic seizures), which are characterized by a sudden loss of muscle tone, causing "drop attacks"
- Myoclonic seizures, which are characterized by sudden, brief muscle jerks
- Absence seizures, which are characterized by brief periods of decreased awareness or "spacing out."
As part of the benzodiazepine drug class, clonazepam has several effects on the body, including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Causing sleepiness
- Relaxing muscles
- Stopping seizures
- Impairing short-term memory.
All medicines in this category can have these effects to some degree, depending on the specific benzodiazepine that is being taken. They work in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that is naturally calming. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why clonazepam and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).
(Click What Is Clonazepam Used For? to learn more about the specific effects of this medication, and to find out if it is safe for children.)