The Drug Classification of Klonopin

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Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam. It is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family.

The FDA approved clonazepam in June 1975 for short term relief of anxiety, the treatment of panic disorders, and preventing certain types of seizures. It works by calming the brain and the nerves. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other medications to treat petit mal seizures and akinetic seizures.

Klonopin is classified as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), which was part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Out of the “War on Drugs” in the 1970’s came the recognition that certain drugs had potential for dependence and abuse. Medications that fall under the Act are identified within five schedules. The CSA mandates that healthcare providers, pharmacies, distributers, and manufacturers meticulously ensure the safe delivery of all controlled substances listed under the schedules.

Listed as Schedule I drugs are the substances that have no approved medical use, demonstrate a high potential for abuse, and lack safety standards. Drugs listed under Schedule I are substances such as heroin, LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine. Schedules II to V include drugs in decreasing order of potential for dependence and abuse. Schedule IV drugs are defined as such:

  1. The drug or substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or substances listed as schedule III.
  2. The drug or substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment on the United States.
  3. Abuse of the drug or substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or substances listed as schedule III

Some common side effects of Klonopin when taken as prescribed are:

  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Unsteadiness or weakness

Patients with seizure disorders needs to be aware that anti-epileptic medications have been associate with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior, and should weigh the risk of suicide with the need for anti-epileptic drugs. Although benzodiazepines are listed as Schedule IV and therefore should have a low potential for abuse, this is not true when they are used for extended periods of time, or when prescribed to individuals with substance abuse disorders. All benzodiazepines can cause physical dependence and ceasing to take the medication abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms that include:

  • Agitation
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Muscle cramping
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

If you think that you or a loved one has developed a dependence on Klonopin, it is important to seek professional help. Contact us today at 800.218.6727. We can help.

References:
Ankrom, Sheryl. “Benzodiazepines: Schedule IV Controlled Substances. What Does ‘Controlled Substance’ Mean?” http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/treatments/a/benzocsa.htm”

Ogbru, Omudhome. “Clonazepam, Klonopin.” http://www.medicinenet.com/clonazepam/article.htm

4 thoughts on “The Drug Classification of Klonopin

  1. I’ve been on klonopin for 3 years now, after having tried many antidepressants and other medications to help with severe anxiety, panic attacks and trichotillomania (pulling of my hair). Klonopin is the only thing that has worked for me. I read however it should be used short term. I’m 57. What effect will it have on me remaining on the drug until death?

    1. Hi Lynnette,
      you will need to address your concerns directly with your doctor. We are not able to provide medical advice.

  2. I am currently treated for bi-polar disorder with Depakote would like to know if klonopin would be a better medication?

    1. Hi William,
      you’ll need to discuss that with your doctor. We’re not able to give medical advice, but your doctor can help you weight the pros and cons of each medication.

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