|Summary sheet: Clonazepam|
|Common names||Clonazepam, Klonopin, "K-Pins", Rivotril|
|Routes of Administration|
Clonazepam (trade name Klonopin or Rivotril) is a long-acting psychoactive substance of the benzodiazepine class which produces anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, amnesic, sedative, depressant and hypnotic effects. It is commonly used and FDA approved for the medical treatment of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD).
Clonazepam has an elimination half-life of 18 – 50 hours to 19 – 60 hours, and is generally considered to be a long-acting benzodiazepine. Clonazepam has an intermediate onset of action, with a peak blood level occurring one to four hours after oral administration.
It's worth noting that the sudden discontinuation of benzodiazepines can be potentially life-threatening for individuals using regularly for extended periods of time. It is highly recommended to taper one's dose by gradually lowering the amount taken each day for a prolonged period of time instead of stopping abruptly.
Clonazepam is a drug of the benzodiazepine class. Benzodiazepine drugs contain a benzene ring fused to a diazepine ring, which is a seven membered ring with the two nitrogen constituents located at R1 and R4. The benzyl ring of clonazepam is substituted at R8 with a nitro group, NO2-. Further, the diazepine ring is bonded at R5 to a 2-chlorinated phenyl ring. Clonazepam also contains an oxygen group double bonded to R2 of its diazepine ring to form a ketone. This oxygen substitution at R2 is shared with other benzodiazepine drugs with the suffix -azepam.
Benzodiazepines produce a variety of effects by binding to the benzodiazepine receptor site and magnifying the efficiency and effects of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) by acting on its receptors. As this site is the most prolific inhibitory receptor set within the brain, its modulation results in the sedating (or calming effects) of clonazepam on the nervous system.
Disclaimer: The effects listed below are cited from the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), which relies on assorted anecdotal reports and the personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. As a result, they should be taken with a healthy amount of skepticism. It is worth noting that these effects will not necessarily occur in a consistent or reliable manner, although higher doses (common+) are more likely to induce the full spectrum of reported effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death.
- Sedation - In terms of energy level alterations, this drug has the potential to be extremely sedating and often results in an overwhelmingly lethargic state. At higher levels, this causes users to suddenly feel as if they are extremely sleep deprived and have not slept for days, forcing them to sit down and generally feel as if they are constantly on the verge of passing out instead of engaging in physical activities. This sense of sleep deprivation increases proportional to dosage and eventually becomes powerful enough to force a person into complete unconsciousness.
- Muscle relaxation - This effect is relatively strong when compared with alprazolam.
- Motor control loss
- Respiratory depression
- Seizure suppression
- Physical euphoria - Clonazepam is similar to alprazolam, where despite suppressing emotion, people report moderate-strong feelings of relaxation, pleasure and comfort in the body. This seems to present itself more often in those with pre-existing anxiety However, this isn't consistent with everyone, with some users reporting no euphoric qualities at all.
- Paradoxical reactions to benzodiazepines such as increased seizures (in epileptics), aggression, increased anxiety, violent behavior, loss of impulse control, irritability and suicidal behavior sometimes occur (although they are rare in the general population, with an incidence rate below 1%). These paradoxical effects occur with greater frequency in recreational abusers, individuals with mental disorders, children, and patients on high-dosage regimes.
The cognitive effects of clonazepam can be broken down into several components which progressively intensify proportional to dosage. The general head space of clonazepam is described by many as one of intense relaxation, anxiety suppression and decreased inhibition. It contains a large number of typical depressants cognitive effects.
The most prominent of these cognitive effects generally include:
- Anxiety suppression
- Thought deceleration
- Analysis suppression
- Delusions of sobriety - This is the false belief that one is perfectly sober despite obvious evidence to the contrary such as severe cognitive impairment and an inability to fully communicate with others. It most commonly occurs at heavy dosages.
- Compulsive redosing
- Emotion suppression - Although this compound primarily suppresses anxiety, it also dulls other emotions in a manner which is distinct but less intensive than that of antipsychotics.
- Dream potentiation
- Rebound anxiety - Rebound anxiety is a commonly observed effect with anxiety relieving substances like benzodiazepines. It typically corresponds to the total duration spent under the substance's influence along with the total amount consumed in a given period, an effect which can easily lend itself to cycles of dependence and addiction.
- Dream potentiation or Dream suppression
- Residual sleepiness - While benzodiazepines can be used as an effective sleep-inducing aid, their effects may persist into the morning afterward, which may lead users to feeling "groggy" or "dull" for up to a few hours.
- Thought deceleration
- Thought disorganization
Anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index include:
Additional experience reports can be found here:
Toxicity and harm potential
It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this drug.
Tolerance and addiction potential
Clonazepam is extremely physically and psychologically addictive.
Tolerance will develop to the sedative-hypnotic effects within a couple of days of continuous use. After cessation, the tolerance returns to baseline in 7 - 14 days. However, in certain cases this may take significantly longer in a manner which is proportional to the duration and intensity of one's long-term usage.
Withdrawal symptoms or rebound symptoms may occur after ceasing usage abruptly following a few weeks or longer of steady dosing, and may necessitate a gradual dose reduction. For more information on tapering from benzodiazepines in a controlled manner, please see this guide.
Benzodiazepine discontinuation is notoriously difficult; it is potentially life-threatening for individuals using regularly to discontinue use without tapering their dose over a period of weeks. There is an increased risk of hypertension, seizures, and death. Drugs which lower the seizure threshold such as tramadol should be avoided during withdrawal.
Clonazopam presents cross-tolerance with all benzodiazepines, meaning that after its consumption all benzodiazepines will have a reduced effect.
Benzodiazepine overdose may occur when a benzodiazepine is taken in extremely heavy quantities or concurrently with other depressants. This is particularly dangerous with other GABAergic depressants such as barbiturates and alcohol since they work in a similar fashion, but bind to distinct allosteric sites on the GABAA receptor, thus their effects potentiate one another. Benzodiazepines increase the frequency in which the chlorine ion pore opens on the GABAA receptor while barbiturates increase the duration in which they are open, meaning when both are consumed, the ion pore will open more frequently and stay open longer. Benzodiazepine overdose is a medical emergency that may lead to a coma, permanent brain injury or death if not treated promptly and properly.
Symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose may include severe thought deceleration, slurred speech, confusion, delusions, respiratory depression, coma or death. Benzodiazepine overdoses may be treated effectively in a hospital environment, with generally favorable outcomes. Benzodiazepine overdoses are sometimes treated with flumazenil, a GABAA antagonist, however care is primarily supportive in nature.
Although many psychoactive substances are reasonably safe to use on their own, they can quickly become dangerous or even life-threatening when combined with other substances. The list below includes some known dangerous combinations (although it cannot be guaranteed to include all of them). Independent research should always be conducted to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe to consume. Some interactions listed have been sourced from TripSit.
- Depressants (1,4-Butanediol, 2M2B, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, GHB/GBL, methaqualone, opioids) - This combination potentiates the muscle relaxation, amnesia, sedation, and respiratory depression caused by one another. At higher doses, it can lead to a sudden, unexpected loss of consciousness along with a dangerous amount of depressed respiration. There is also an increased risk of suffocating on one's vomit while unconscious. If nausea or vomiting occurs before a loss of consciousness, users should attempt to fall asleep in the recovery position or have a friend move them into it.
- Stimulants - It can be dangerous to combine depressants with stimulants due to the risk of accidental excessive intoxication. Stimulants mask the sedative effect of depressants, which is the main factor most people use to gauge their level of intoxication. Once the stimulant effects wear off, the effects of the depressant will significantly increase, leading to intensified disinhibition, motor control loss, and dangerous black-out states. This combination can also potentially result in severe dehydration if one's fluid intake is not closely monitored. If choosing to combine these substances, one should strictly limit themselves to a pre-set schedule of dosing only a certain amount per hour until a maximum threshold has been reached.
- Dissociatives - This combination can unpredictably potentiate the amnesia, sedation, motor control loss and delusions that can be caused by each other. It may also result in a sudden loss of consciousness accompanied by a dangerous degree of respiratory depression. If nausea or vomiting occurs before consciousness is lost, users should attempt to fall asleep in the recovery position or have a friend move them into it.
Internationally, clonazepam is included under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances in Schedule IV.
- Australia: Clonazepam is available by prescription only.
- Brazil: Clonazepam is a "black stripe" drug, which are available by prescription only.
- Canada: Clonazepam is a Schedule IV drug.
- Germany: Clonazepam is controlled under Anlage III BtMG (Narcotics Act, Schedule III) as of August 1, 1986. It can only be prescribed on a narcotic prescription form, except preparations which contain up to 2 mg clonazepam in each dosage form and solutions that contain up to 0.25% and under 250 mg clonazepam in total per packaging unit.
- India: Clonazepam is Schedule H in India.
- Israel: Clonazepam is available by prescription only.
- Norway: Clonazepam is available by prescription only.
- Russia: Clonazepam is a Schedule III controlled substance as of April 2013.
- United Kingdom: Clonazepam is a Class C drug.
- United States: Clonazepam is a Schedule IV substance.
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