Panic Disorder Treatment Taking Klonopin for Panic Disorder By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD Facebook LinkedIn Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 17, 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 Klonopin for panic disorder. Getty Images Credit: alvarez Table of Contents View All Table of Contents How Klonopin Treats Panic Disorder Side Effects Is Klonopin Addictive? Precautions Anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed to help manage panic attacks and other symptoms of panic disorder. Klonopin (clonazepam) is a type of anti-anxiety medication that is often used to treat panic disorder and other conditions. Klonopin is the trade brand name for the drug clonazepam, an anti-anxiety benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are often referred to as sedatives or tranquilizers due to their calming, sedating, and tranquilizing effects. Other common benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Benzodiazepines can decrease the intensity of panic attacks and anxiety. Klonopin is commonly prescribed to treat panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia). Klonopin has anticonvulsant properties, making it an effective drug in the treatment of certain types of seizures. It has also been approved for the treatment of panic disorder. How Klonopin Treats Panic Disorder Klonopin influences the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, a neurotransmitter in the brain involved in regulating several functions, including sleep, feelings of excitement, relaxation, and anxiety. By affecting the GABA receptors, Klonopin slows down the central nervous system (CNS), which decreases nervousness and agitation while eliciting a sense of calm and relaxation. Klonopin's anti-anxiety effects come on relatively quickly after taking the medication. You may need to take it a few times a day, based on your doctor's recommendation. Panic Disorder Treatment Side Effects Some of the most common side effects of Klonopin include: DrowsinessDizziness and lightheadednessLack of coordination and unsteadinessFatigue These side effects may go away or lessen over time. Consult with your prescribing doctor if side effects worsen or become unmanageable. Is Klonopin Addictive? All benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, are classified as controlled substances. These medications have the potential for you to become both physically and emotionally dependent and to be abused. If a person develops dependence on Klonopin, discontinuing the drug can become difficult. Common withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, seizures, tremors, vomiting, and irritability. To reduce the risk of abuse and dependence, your doctor will discuss the safest way to administer and monitor your medication over time. Never attempt to reduce your dosage on your own. To prevent possible withdrawal symptoms, your doctor can assist you in discontinuing Klonopin by gradually decreasing your dosage over time. How Long Does Withdrawal From Klonopin Last? Precautions There are several precautions to consider when taking Klonopin. It is important to discuss these with your doctor. Medical History Use caution if you have a history of certain medical conditions. Talk to your doctor before taking Klonopin if you have been diagnosed with these or any other medical condition: Narrow-angle glaucomaLiver diseaseKidney diseaseDrug or alcohol use disorderDepression or other psychiatric conditions Allergic Reactions As with any medication, there is a possibility of allergic reaction to Klonopin. Seek immediate medical care if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, including rash; difficulty breathing or swallowing; itching; or swelling of the face, tongue, mouth, or throat. Drug Interactions All benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, slow down the central nervous system. Other substances that perform a similar action, such as alcohol and certain drugs, should be avoided while taking this medication. Before you begin taking Klonopin, let your doctor know what prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking. Drowsiness Fatigue and drowsiness are common side effects of Klonopin. Until you are used to the effects of your medication, use caution when driving or performing other tasks that require your concentration. Pregnancy and Nursing It is possible for Klonopin to be passed to a child during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking Klonopin while pregnant or nursing. Older Age Older adults are often more susceptible to the effects of Klonopin. Your prescribing doctor may need to adjust your dosage to assist in limiting these effects. 6 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. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Klonopin tablets. Tan KR, Rudolph U, Lüscher C. Hooked on benzodiazepines: GABAA receptor subtypes and addiction. Trends Neurosci. 2011;34(4):188–197. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2011.01.004 Nardi AE, Freire RC, Valença AM, et al. Tapering clonazepam in patients with panic disorder after at least 3 years of treatment. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010;30(3):290-293. doi:10.1097/JCP.0b013e3181dcb2f3 Batelaan NM, Van Balkom AJ, Stein DJ. Evidence-based pharmacotherapy of panic disorder: An update. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012;15(3):403-415. doi:10.1017/S1461145711000800 Guina J, Merrill B. Benzodiazepines I: Upping the care on downers: The evidence of risks, benefits and alternatives. J Clin Med. 2018;7(2):17. doi:10.3390/jcm7020017 Bellantuono C, Tofani S, Di Sciascio G, Santone G. Benzodiazepine exposure in pregnancy and risk of major malformations: A critical overview. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013;35(1):3-8. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.09.003 Additional Reading Hoffman EJ, Mathew SJ. Anxiety disorders: A comprehensive review of pharmacotherapies. Mt Sinai J Med. 2008;75(3):248-62. doi:10.1002/msj.20041 Silverman HM. The Pill Book. 14th ed. Bantam Books, 2010. By Katharina Star, PhD Katharina Star, PhD, is an expert on anxiety and panic disorder. Dr. Star is a professional counselor, and she is trained in creative art therapies and mindfulness. 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 for Panic Disorder Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.