A healthcare provider may prescribe clonazepam to treat several types of epileptic seizures, as well as panic disorder. The medication is taken by mouth, usually two or three times a day. Clonazepam is available as a tablet or a wafer (an orally disintegrating tablet) and can be taken with or without food. Possible side effects include drowsiness, coordination problems, and behavior problems.
What Is Clonazepam?Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is a prescription medication approved to treat the following conditions:
- 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."
(Click What Is Clonazepam Used For? for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Clonazepam?It is currently made by Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc.
How Does It Work?Clonazepam is part of a group of medications called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines have various effects on the body, including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Causing sleepiness
- Relaxing muscles
- Stopping seizures
- Impairing short-term memory.
All benzodiazepines 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).