Klonopin Withdrawal is One Factor in New FDA Label Rules
Table of Contents
What is Klonopin?
The substance is a standard prescription medicine that helps in the treatment of panic disorder and symptoms of seizures. Mental health professionals prescribe using the drug alone or with other medications. Note that the drug is a federally controlled substance to avoid dependence or Klonopin high.
As a substance, it belongs to the drug class benzodiazepines, which are also called benzos. The drug class benzodiazepines are conventionally used for the treatment of anxiety and other medical conditions.
The Drugs in the class function by affecting the neurotransmitters present in the brain to reduce the activity of the nerves. Klonopin is a brand name under the generic drug called Clonazepam. Another significant drug that is characterized as clonazepam is Xanax.
Klonopin is a Schedule IV drug like Xanax under CSA (Controlled Substance Act). Note that abuse of Klonopin vs Xanax will still result in psychological and physical dependence. There are several street names for the drug, which include K, K-Pin, Pin, and Super Valium.1
What Does Klonopin Treat?
The drug is effective in treating both anxiety and panic attacks. It functions for treating anxiety by reducing abnormal electrical activity in the human brain. When administered, the substance has a quick effect for treating social anxiety, but other benefits of the drug may take longer.
In treating panic attacks, the substance functions by influencing the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for the regulation of functions like sleep, feelings of excitement, and relaxation. When administered, the substance slows down the central nervous system, which helps in reducing nervousness and agitation.
Other conditions that the substance treats include seizures, sleep disorders, and alcohol withdrawal. Since the medication is an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic drug, it is effective in treating epileptic seizures. For alcohol withdrawal, the drug is imperative because of the severe symptoms of this condition. It helps in treating nausea, sleep difficulties, pain, irritability, and many other symptoms.
FDA Regulations and Warnings on Klonopin Use
For addressing the risk of the substance, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a boxed warning to be updated for drugs like “K” under the benzodiazepine class. According to the FDA, the prescribing information for benzodiazepines does not provide enough warnings about the risks associated with the medicine.2
The US Food and Drug Administration also requires the boxed warning to include information relating to prescription, including the risk of abuse, physical dependence, addiction, and withdrawal reactions. As an addition, the FDA requires updates to the Medical Guides to inform caregivers and patients about the dangers. Proper adherence to the FDA Regulations makes benzos safe prescription drugs.3
Klonopin Side Effects
As a prescription drug, Klonopin has certain side effects that range from short-term to long-term. The Klonopin half-life can be as long as 20-50 hours because clonazepam stays in the body system for a long time compared to other substances.
Note that some of the side effects may be severe or mild, depending on the use and individual. Here are the significant Klonopin side effects based on the short and long-term classification:
- Short Term: The short-term side effects of the substance include drowsiness, dizziness, disorientation, slurred speech, problems concentrating, loss of coordination, and shallow breathing.
- Long Term: Due to the Klonopin half-life, in the long-term, use of the substance may result in cognitive problems, weakness, memory loss, overdose, and increased risk of hip fracture, or falls. The effects also include escalating tolerance and severe physiological dependence.
- Overdose: According to research, benzodiazepines have the potential for addiction and abuse. Approximately, 31% of 22,767 drug overdose deaths in 2013 were associated with benzodiazepines. From 1996 to 2013, the rate of deaths due to benzo overdose rose 500% higher.4
Is Klonopin Addictive?
The substance is an addictive and long-acting benzodiazepine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, over 20 million people between the age of 12 years and above have experienced abuse of benzos like “K” at some time in their life.5
Individuals become addicted to the substance because it is a habit-forming benzodiazepine. It takes as little as a few weeks for some individuals to get addicted to the substance due.
Drugs Similar to Klonopin
The substance belongs to the benzodiazepine drug class and similar drugs include Xanax, Ativan, and Valium. For better comprehension, here are the similar substances:
- Klonopin vs. Xanax: The aim of administering Klonopin is for the treatment of panic disorder, anxiety, and controlling seizures. Effects of Xanax don’t last for as long as Klonopin, which also means that the substance does not need to be administered throughout the day.
- Klonopin vs. Ativan: Ativan is closely similar to the “benzodiazepine” substance. It is used to treat anxiety, including those that result from depression. Note that both Ativan and Klonopin can be used off-label for anxiety disorders like social anxiety.
- Klonopin vs. Valium: Valium is used for anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle spasm conditions. The side effects of the two drugs are similar and may include loss of balance, insomnia, and fatigue.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms of the substance can last from several days to weeks. In some cases, the signs start hours after the drug leaves the body system. The symptoms may be recurring and may also require immediate medical care. Examples of the symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal include irritation, anxiety, and life-threatening seizures in some cases.
Klonopin Addiction Treatment
Individuals with a Klonopin use disorder can receive treatment from rehab clinics or any reputable mental health facility. Here are some of the significant treatment methods:
- Tapering Use: This method involves slowly reducing the dosage of a drug that the individual takes with time. It discourages an immediate Klonopin withdrawal and focuses on a gradual one. With tapering, the body system may adjust better due to the loss of the drug.
- Detox: In simple terms, detox signifies a process of allowing the body to clear off toxins on its own. The main aim of this method is to manage symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal. It is imperative to go through the necessary processes, which include evaluation, stabilization, and preparation for treatment.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: CBT plays an essential role in treating the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal. The treatment procedure helps individuals identify and change their thought patterns that may be contributing to symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal.6
The new FDA label rules help in creating awareness to caregivers and patients for a healthier approach to using benzos like Klonopin. Since it is an addictive substance, it is imperative to stay aware of the short-term, long-term, and Klonopin overdose effects. Consult a medical doctor for immediate help if you experience any similar symptoms of using the substance.