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Psychiatry & Medication

Klonopin for Anxiety

 May 11, 2020

By  Natalie Kirilova

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The Bottom Line

  • Klonopin is also known as Clonazepam;
  • Klonopin is not FDA-approved for anxiety;
  • Available in tablets and wafers;
  • Responsive in short-term treatment of panic disorders, seizures;
  • There is research-based evidence about its efficacy for anxiety. 

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is a brand name for Clonazepam and Benzodiazepine used for panic and social anxiety disorders as well as seizure treatments. It has a generic form released under the name of Clonazepam. Klonopin is available in breakable tablets with 0.5mg of Clonazepam, unscored ones with 1-2mg of Clonazepam, and wafers in 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2mg. Tablets contain lactose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, corn starch. Wafers – gelatin, mannitol, methylparaben sodium, propylparaben sodium, xanthan gum.

How does Klonopin work for anxiety? Benzodiazepine class of medications affects gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors. They act on nerves in the central nervous system and alter their sensitivity by providing a tranquilizing effect. Klonopin for anxiety is also linked to anti-epileptic property used for seizure disorders.

The efficacy of Klonopin is found in treating panic disorders. Studies demonstrated that patients with panic disorders or its derivative health condition of agoraphobia (no escape disorder, when a person considers an environment unsafe and experiences anxiety attacks) treated with Klonopin showed less frequent worries or preoccupation compared to the placebo.

Can Klonopin be taken for Anxiety? 

Is Klonopin good for anxiety? The exact mechanism of action is unknown. Some research has shown Klonopin to work on increasing the GABA activity which lowered levels of overexcitement. This symptom may improve in a matter of a few days with Klonopin. The application is recommended only for short-term treatment. The long-term application has no clinically-proven efficacy but may develop into an addiction to a synthetically antianxiety effect from Klonopin used for anxiety. A physician should regularly review the usefulness of any extended intake for anxiety treatment.

Is Klonopin FDA approved for anxiety?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the generic form of Klonopin, Clonazepam to treat panic disorder in 1998. The off-label administration considers its prescription for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD).

What research supports Klonopin for anxiety?

  • Some studies of Klonopin for anxiety have been conducted to reveal its efficacy over other Benzodiazepines in patients with an anxiety disorder. 180 patients over 20 years old took one antidepressant alongside 3 Benzodiazepines including Clonazepam for 6 weeks. The effect was significant with all 3 medications. But, Clonazepam was linked to fewer side effects and higher safety over others.
  • Klonopin for anxiety was checked on the improvement of quality of life. Patients with panic disorder and accompanying anxiety symptoms took Clonazepam for 6 weeks. After they were assessed on changes in previously impaired quality of life (IQL), and work productivity (WP). Titrated doses of Klonopin reported improvements.
  • Per this study Benzodiazepine Klonopin is considered a good option for treating anxiety disorders. Clinicians may suggest it due to its low side effect occurrences, and fast action. But, still, they also should keep in mind the drawback of long-term treatment which leads to addiction to Benzodiazepine. That’s why pharmacological and psychological treatments are to be combined to achieve positive effects for the long-term therapy.

What do experts say about Klonopin for anxiety? 

Larissa Mooney, an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Addiction Medicine Clinic at the University of California-Los Angeles says about Klonopin for anxiety – “Benzodiazepines are very effective, particularly in the short term, for the treatment of acute anxiety and insomnia.” “They calm people down, and they help people fall asleep and stay asleep.”

Neeraj Gandotra, M.D., chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group says – “Klonopin, the brand name of Clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine-a group of drugs primarily used to treat anxiety.” 

What are the possible side effects? 

Klonopin for anxiety side effects profile warns about the contraindicated interactions with opioids. Such combinations may result in depression, coma, and death. 

The medication is linked to suicidal thoughts or behavior in adults affected by severe depression. 

Patients who receive Klonopin for anxiety and sleep should be warned about its possible interference with motor performance. One should speak to a physician in case he is occupied with operating machinery or hazardous materials. It affects alertness.

Other potential side effects are:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) depression;
  • Behavior problems;
  • Palpitations;
  • Hair loss;
  • Headache;
  • Vertigo;
  • Irritability;
  • Aggression;
  • Confusion.

Withdrawal side effects are somnolence, dizziness, nervousness, depression.

It is unknown if it can harm a fetus in pregnant women. Some studies conducted on animals reported Klonopin damaging effect on the fetus. Born children of women who used to take benzo medications during the pregnancy may be at risk of breathing problems. Klonopin may pass into breast milk. 

Please, speak to your doctor about taking Klonopin if you have kidney, liver or lung problems. 

Does Klonopin have interactions with other medications? 

Klonopin for anxiety taken with certain medications can cause side effects. Speak to your doctor about all possible interactions.

The following medications may interfere with the efficacy and have serious side effects when taken with Klonopin:

  • Opioids;
  • Anticonvulsants;
  • Antidepressants;
  • Antifungals;
  • Painkillers;
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) inhibitors.

It is unknown if herbal supplements may alter the efficacy of Klonopin but do not take an additional sedative, anti-anxiety herbal medicines. Discuss their safety with a doctor.

How to take Klonopin?

Klonopin is available in tablets and wafers. One should swallow the whole tablet with water. 

Klonopin for Seizure:

  • Adults. The treatment starts at the lowest dosage 0.5mg and can be increased up to 1.5mg maximum.
  • Children. Pediatric use suggests the intake with 0.01 – 0.03 mg doses to exclude the possibility of drowsiness.
  • Senior patients. There is no evidence of the efficacy of Klonopin in elderly patients. The treatment may start with the lowest doses determined by a doctor.

Klonopin for Panic Disorder:

  • Adults. The initial dose is 0.25mg.
  • Pediatric. Unknown.
  • Senior patients. Low doses adjusted by a doctor.

Dosages vary in patients and depend on their health conditions. Please, address the application rules to a doctor.

How long does Klonopin work for anxiety? As per clinical studies, the medication is safe for short-term treatment only. A long-term application may lead to addiction.

Are there alternatives to Klonopin? 

Prescription medications as Alternatives to Klonopin for Anxiety

Based on researched data, Klonopin is a medication which efficacy is shown with short-term treatment. It had no evidence on severe side effects with the mentioned clinical trials. The medication is linked to higher safety in application compared to other medications from the benzo group. However, it may not be fit for your health condition. Speak to your doctor, as many other anti-anxiety medications can be suitable for you.

  • Valium
  • Lexapro
  • Prozac
  • Buspirone
  • Xanax
  • Inderal
  • Cymbalta
  • Tofranil
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Zoloft

There are various alternatives. If you’d like to learn more about whether Klonopin, another medication or treatment modality is right for you, we recommend that you speak with a licensed professional. Here are the best online psychiatry platforms so you can speak with someone right away!

Therapy as an Alternative to Klonopin

Learn more about different therapy options for anxiety  here

Energy & Holistic Modalities as an Alternative to Klonopin

Learn more about different energy & holistic modalities for anxiety here

Tech & Devices as Alternative Treatments to Klonopin 

Learn more about tech & devices for anxiety  here

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.


Natalie is a writer with a focus in medical research with over 10 years of experience

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