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Is it Safe to Take Clonazepam in Pregnancy?

Anyone diagnosed as clinically depressed should not take clonazepam.
Women have health concerns during pregnancy.
Clonazepam tablets.
Article Details
  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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It is known that clonazepam in pregnancy can sometimes cause birth defects. This medication has been designated a Category D drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning that clonazepam in pregnancy should only be used when the therapeutic benefits significantly outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. Clonazepam in pregnancy could be used under close monitoring by a physician in the case of a seizure disorder that could be detrimental to the safety of mother and child. Although clonazepam in pregnancy could sometimes be appropriate as determined by medical professionals, the use of this medication in late pregnancy can lead to severe withdrawal effects in the newborn that can last up to several months.

Clonazepam is a prescription medication used primarily for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder, although it is sometimes prescribed for seizures or for the treatment of mania in conjunction with other medications. In the U.S., this drug is sold under the brand name Klonopin. It is one of several long-acting benzodiazepines that can stay in the individual's body for up to 50 hours after one dose.

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This medication should be used under close supervision by a doctor due to the possibility that an individual might develop a physiological dependence on it, particularly after daily use for at least two weeks. A person who becomes dependent on clonazepam could experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued, including tremors, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, or seizures. This drug has also been known to sometimes induce mood disorders such as depression and can cause sleep disruptions if taken too close to bedtime. The use of clonazepam could increase the tendency toward violent behaviors in some individuals with schizophrenia. Although clonazepam in pregnancy can sometimes be indicated due to therapeutic benefits, individuals should not breastfeed while taking this drug.

Many people who use clonazepam experience cognitive difficulties and mild to moderate sleepiness. Other common side effects of this medication include drowsiness, problems with cognition, diminished libido, dizziness, memory loss, and increased saliva production. Possible serious side effects could occur, such as suicidal thoughts, shallow breathing, hallucinations, involuntary eye movements, hyperactivity, and restlessness.

This prescription medication can increase the sedating effects of certain other types of drugs, such as epilepsy drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, alcohol, antipsychotics, narcotics, and sleep aids. The use of clonazepam is contraindicated for individuals with a history of glaucoma, lung problems, and kidney or liver disease. It is also inappropriate for use by anyone who has been clinically depressed or who has had a substance abuse history.

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