How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? – Clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine that has a relatively long-lasting effect. The effects of most benzodiazepines (benzos), such as Xanax or Valium, last between 3-4 hours, while the effects of Klonopin can last much longer, anywhere from 6-12 hours.
Clonazepam is usually prescribed to address anxiety, panic, or seizures. Benzos are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that also include medications such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies clonazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This classification indicates that although it does have a legitimate medical purpose, there is still some potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction, albeit relatively low.
Clonazepam also has a long half-life, which refers to the length of time needed for half of one dose of the drug to be cleared from the body. For clonazepam, this time period ranges between 30-40 hours, meaning that it takes roughly 2-3 days for 50% of clonazepam to be eliminated from a person’s body. Due to its half-life, a small amount of the medication is likely to remain in the system for up to 9 days after the last dose.
Individual factors may also influence how long the effects of clonazepam persist and the amount of time it takes for it to be cleared from a person’s system include the following:
- Height and weight
- Body fat and mass
- Food consumption
- Liver function
- Metabolic rate
- Urinary pH
- Average dosage amount
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Use of other drugs or alcohol
How Does Clonazepam Work?
Klonopin reduces overactivity in the CNS that is associated with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, and a variety of other disorders. As an intermediate-acting benzo, it can decrease the risk of seizure activity for several hours after the drug has been used. Klonopin may also be prescribed to people who experience persistent restlessness, fidgeting, or other involuntary movements.
Sometimes health providers will prescribe Klonopin for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks. However, it isn’t prescribed as commonly for the short-term treatment of anxiety or insomnia as other medications, such as Ativan and Xanax. These other benzos are often more effective at addressing such conditions because their effects onset rapidly within minutes but are not as long-lasting as Klonopin.
Clonazepam Misuse and Addiction
Like other benzos, clonazepam can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, which give it the potential for abuse and addiction. Even those who use clonazepam as prescribed by a doctor may find themselves progressing into problematic use. It is these coveted feelings that often drive a person to use clonazepam more often or in higher doses than directed.
Clonazepam use can lead to tolerance and dependence if use persists for a prolonged period. Tolerance is a condition that develops when the body adapts to the presence of a drug and gradually diminishes its effects. When this occurs, the individual may be compelled to use more of the drug to feel the desired effects.
Dependence also develops after extended exposure to a substance, as the body becomes accustomed to its presence and is no longer able to function normally without it. Once dependence occurs, a person will begin to experience unpleasant or painful withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the substance. Tolerance and dependence are hallmark signs of addiction, a condition that is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.
Anyone who takes a dose of clonazepam in excessive amounts or too often is at risk for overdose. Although it is not easy to fatally overdose on clonazepam when used by itself, if it is used with other nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, the depressant effects of all ingested substances are compounded and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a clonazepam overdose include the following:
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Impaired vision
- Stupor or unresponsiveness
- Labored, slowed, or stopped breathing
- Impaired coordination
- Low blood pressure
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after using clonazepam, especially with other drugs or alcohol, please call 911 immediately.
Getting Treatment for Klonopin Addiction
Once an individual has developed a dependence on clonazepam, it can be very challenging to stop use. Those who take clonazepam regularly for a prolonged period will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal effects when they attempt to discontinue use. The discomfort of these symptoms is frequently the prime reason why a person will continue to use clonazepam even if he or she is highly motivated to stop.
Fortunately, recovery from clonazepam addiction is certainly attainable, and the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem and begin seeking help.
Recovery By The Sea uses a comprehensive, research-based approach to addiction recovery that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, treatment for co-existing mental health conditions, peer group support, aftercare planning, and much more.
If you or someone you love is dependent on clonazepam or other substances, help is available. Please know that you don’t have to suffer alone—contact us today and find out how we can help!