Klonopin is a type of benzodiazepine drug.  Like other benzodiazepines, it can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms in some patients.  The risk of withdrawal is enough to cause panic in patients who are prescribed Klonopin.  Yet, many people have taken Klonopin for years without ever becoming addicted or having any other problems with the medicine.  Other patients are not so lucky though and become dependent on Klonopin after a few months.  So, how do you know how long you can safely take Klonopin?

 

In all clinical trials of Klonopin, researchers studied the drug’s potential for causing dependence and withdrawal symptoms.  The studies all showed that Klonopin is safe for short-term use of about 6 to 9 weeks.  The problem with drug studies is that they rarely last for long-term periods.  It simply would not be practical to study a drug for years to determine the dependence risk – especially when millions of people need a medicine.  Instead of making patients wait for conclusive, long-term studies, the drug companies got Klonopin approved for short-term treatment.  Then, it is up to individual doctors to assess whether a patient should continue treatment with Klonopin.

 

There have been some long-term studies about Klonopin’s safety which show the medicine can be used for periods of up to 3 years without tolerance, dependence or withdrawal symptoms occurring.  But these studies are mostly conducted on patients who have been prescribed the medicine by their doctors and are regularly monitored by their doctors.  They don’t factor in the patients whose doctors told them to stop taking Klonopin after a short period of time.

 

Before patients begin taking a medicine like Klonopin, they must discuss the risks of dependence with their doctor.  Further, they must be sure that they understand the signs that a drug dependency is forming, such as having cravings for Klonopin, the drug stops being effective, or they experience withdrawal symptoms between dosages.  If any of these signs occur, then patients must inform their doctors immediately so the doctor can assess the right course of action.

 

Even if you are physically capable of taking Klonopin for years without developing a drug dependence, that doesn’t mean that you should.  Klonopin should always be taken for the shortest necessary period and in the smallest possible dosage amount.  A major problem with anti-anxiety medicines like Klonopin is that patients rely solely on them for treatment. Klonopin should NOT be your only treatment for panic disorder! If you have panic disorder, then you must also be undergoing other treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy, to help you overcome the disorder.

 

Unfortunately, too many patients only take Klonopin and don’t get the additional treatment that their doctors prescribe, like therapy.  For many people, therapy simply isn’t an option because of its high costs and time demands.  But, without this treatment, it is unlikely that you will ever be fully in control of your anxiety and be able to cope without Klonopin.