Bipolar Disorder Treatment Medications Side Effects of Klonopin (Clonazepam) Knowing When Its Time to Call Your Doctor or 911 By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 10, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print LAGUNA DESIGN/Getty Images Klonopin (clonazepam) is typically prescribed to treat conditions like panic disorder, anxiety, and certain types of seizures. It is possible to develop a physical dependence to Klonopin if you take enough of the the drug over time. It is for this reason that drug is prescribed with caution and gradually tapered off once treatment is no longer needed. If you have been prescribed Klonopin, you should take the time to educate yourself about the possible side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and symptoms of overdose. Rivotril is another brand name of clonazepam used in some other countries. Uses Klonopin is in a class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It comes both in a pill form and as a dissolvable tablet. It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat certain types of seizure disorders in adults and children and panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (fear of open spaces). Klonopin can also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal, sleeping difficulties, and anxiety related to bipolar disorder or other mood disorders. When combined with opioid drugs or alcohol, benzodiazepines can cause serious side effects. Including extreme sedation, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death. To avoid serious complications, you should let your doctor know about any and all over-the-counter, prescription, traditional, naturopathic, nutritional, or homeopathic medications you may be taking. Side Effects When combined with opioid drugs or alcohol, benzodiazepines can cause serious side effects. Some side effects may develop when first stating Klonopin, many of which will resolve on their own as your body begins to adjust to treatment. You should call your doctor if any of these common side effects are severe or fail to go away: Changes in sex drive or sexual functionDifficulty thinking or rememberingDizzinessDrowsinessProblems with coordinationUnsteadinessVision changes Rarely, Klonopin can cause the following side effects: AnemiaChest congestionCoated tongueConstipationDry mouthHair lossHeart palpitationsHirsutism (excessive hair growth)Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)Runny noseShortness of breathSkin rashSore gums If you experience these or any other unusual side effects, call your doctor right away. When to Call 911 In rare cases, side effects can develop rapidly and become potentially life-threatening. Call 911 or seek emergency care if you experience any of the following symptoms:Rash or hivesSwelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throatDifficulty swallowingShortness of breath and wheezingHoarsenessDisorientationRapid or irregular heartbeatNausea or vomitingA feeling of impending doom This can potentially be symptoms of a severe, all-body allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to respiratory distress, seizure, coma, respiratory or cardiac failure, and death. Withdrawal Symptoms You should never suddenly stop taking Klonopin without your doctor's approval, particularly if you've been on treatment for some time or are using it to control seizures. If you do need to stop, your doctor will generally wean you off treatment. Some of the more common withdrawal symptoms include: IrritabilityNervousnessTrouble sleeping These symptoms are relatively manageable and will eventually resolve as the daily dosage is decreased. Sometimes withdrawal symptoms can last for a long time or longer than expected, however. When to Call Your Doctor Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following, more serious withdrawal symptoms: Abdominal crampsConfusionDepressionHallucinationsIncreased sensitivity to touch or painLight sensitivityMuscle crampsNausea or vomitingParanoia or abnormal thoughtsProfuse sweatingRapid heartbeatSound sensitivityTingling, burning or prickly sensations Overdose If you think that someone has overdosed on Klonopin, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. You can also call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the Poison Control website for immediate advice and assistance. Call 911 for Overdose Symptoms Symptoms of Klonopin overdose include:Clammy skinComaDilated pupilsExtreme sedationImpaired coordinationPassing outSlowed reflexesTrouble breathingWeak and rapid pulse Treatment may involve gastric lavage (emptying the stomach), intravenous fluids, mechanical ventilation, Romazicon (flumenazil) to reverse the sedative effects, and medications such as Levarterenol (norepinephrine) to treat a dangerous drop in blood pressure if present. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. 3 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Food and Drug Administration. Klonopin. Food and Drug Administration. FDA warns about serious risks and death when combining opioid pain or cough medicines with benzodiazepines; requires its strongest warning. Wang SM, Kim JB, Sakong JK, et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Clonazepam in Patients with Anxiety Disorder Taking Newer Antidepressants: A Multicenter Naturalistic Study. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2016;14(2):177-83. doi: 10.9758%2Fcpn.2016.14.2.177. doi:10.9758%2Fcpn.2016.14.2.177 Additional Reading MedlinePlus. Clonazepam. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Clonazepam (Klonopin). Atlanta, Georgia; College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Summary of Prescribing Information: Klonopin Tablets Label. Silver Spring, Maryland. By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.