Precautions and Warnings With Clonazepam
Understanding the precautions and warnings with clonazepam prior to taking the medication can help to ensure a safe treatment process. These precautions include being aware of potential drug interactions, possible side effects, and the risks of suddenly stopping the drug. The precautions and warnings with clonazepam also extend to people who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the drug and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Breathing problems
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking clonazepam include the following:
- Clonazepam is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing clonazepam. Clonazepam is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Klonopin Addiction).
- Clonazepam can cause psychological and physical dependence and is often abused. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking high clonazepam doses for long periods of time (more than a few weeks). Because clonazepam can cause dependence, you should not suddenly stop taking clonazepam without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Klonopin Withdrawal).
- Clonazepam can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life threatening. This risk is increased when clonazepam is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Drug Interactions With Clonazepam and Klonopin and Alcohol for more information). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how clonazepam will affect you.
- Sometimes, clonazepam can make seizures worse. This is most common in people who have more than one type of seizure. Let your healthcare provider know if your seizures are getting worse or are changing.
- The kidneys help remove clonazepam from the body. If you have kidney disease, your body may not handle clonazepam the way it should, and you may need a lower clonazepam dosage.
- Clonazepam can cause depression or make preexisting depression worse. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of depression before taking clonazepam.
- Seizure medications, including clonazepam, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you feel depressed or have any suicidal thoughts (see Seizure Medications and Suicide for more information).
- Clonazepam can cause increased salivation. Although this is sometimes bothersome or embarrassing, it is usually not dangerous for most people. However, this can cause problems in people who have difficulty swallowing, people with lung problems, or people with decreased consciousness.
- Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of clonazepam and may need to be started with a low clonazepam dosage. Clonazepam may increase the risk of falling, which is especially dangerous in elderly people (who often have weak or brittle bones).
- Sometimes, people react to clonazepam in a way opposite of what is usually expected. That is, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience any of these effects.
- Clonazepam is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Klonopin and Pregnancy).
- Clonazepam passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Klonopin and Breastfeeding).