Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. As one of the more popularly prescribed benzodiazepine drugs, the effects of Klonopin offer an effective short-term treatment approach for conditions involving anxiety and seizure disorders.
The sedative-like effects of Klonopin may come with a price in cases where users take more than prescribed or use the drug for recreational purposes. Since Klonopin exists as a controlled substance, it does carry certain risks for abuse and addiction.
The effects of Klonopin also come with a side effect profile that’s rather lengthy. With long-term use, Klonopin can place users at risk of addiction and even overdose.
For people needing a way to take the “edge” off, Klonopin can deliver many of the same effects as Valium, Xanax and Ativan. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, Klonopin can also be used to treat panic attack episodes as well as the feelings of extreme fear that precede panic attack episodes.
Excess electrical activity is thought to cause seizure conditions and anxiety-related disorders. The effects of Klonopin work by decreasing the brain’s electrical activity. A specific brain neurotransmitter chemical known as GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid plays a pivotal role in regulating electrical activity in the brain. The effects of Klonopin increase GABA chemical levels and so slow down electrical activity.
When taken as prescribed, the effects of Klonopin work to promote restful sleep and reduce anxiety levels. As each person may respond differently to the drug, physicians can adjust dosage levels to bring about the desired effects.
Feelings of euphoria and a pleasant calm also accompany Klonopin’s therapeutic effects. For some people, these aftereffects become the starting point for an addiction to form. The effects of Klonopin are further enhanced when combining the drug with alcohol or other sedative-type substances.
Since Klonopin alters essential brain chemical levels, it can cause unexpected or undesirable side effects for some people. While under a physician’s care, dosage adjustments may help to reduce the severity of side effects. For people who abuse the drug, side effects will only become more severe (and potentially dangerous) with continued use.
Possible side effects of Klonopin include –
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
- Blurry vision
- Memory problems
- Confused thinking
- Dizzy states
- Sexual dysfunction
- Coordination problems
The more serious side effects take the form of –
- Problems breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swollen tongue, lips, throat and/or eyes
When abused or taken longer than prescribed, the brain quickly grows accustomed to Klonopin’s effects. When this happens, larger doses are required to produce the same expected results. This mechanism of action accounts for why Klonopin shouldn’t be used for any longer than a month a time.
Though the brain requires larger doses, increased dosage levels can easily overwhelm other bodily processes and greatly increase the risk for overdose. Signs of overdose include –
- Impaired reflexes
- Slow reaction times
- Heavy drowsiness
- Breathing difficulties
These effects of Klonopin require immediate medical attention.
Ultimately, steadily increasing doses of Klonopin will result in addiction.