Clonazepam for Panic Disorder
Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is a prescription drug approved for treating various types of seizures in people with epilepsy. Healthcare providers may also recommend clonazepam for panic disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder.
People with panic disorder have recurrent, unexpected feelings of extreme fear and dread that strike for no apparent reason, causing increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and shakiness. These "attacks" can send people to the hospital believing they are having a heart attack.
Sometimes, people deal with panic disorder by avoiding situations and places that may lead to a panic attack. This, combined with the fear of having a panic attack in public, can lead people to avoid social interaction and can cause people to become "housebound." This problem is known as agoraphobia and often accompanies panic disorder. Clonazepam can be used to treat people with or without agoraphobia.
Clonazepam works 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 treating panic disorder with clonazepam, to find out if this medication is suitable for children, and for information on how the drug works.)