Benzodiazepines like Klonopin carry the risk of overdose, especially when used with depressants like alcohol. Understand the dangers before you take Klonopin.

Clonazepam, the generic version of Klonopin, is one of the most common prescription drugs on the market. As a benzodiazepine, Klonopin works to restore unbalanced interactions in the body’s central nervous system, which treats seizures and epileptic episodes. Its sedative nature also enables it to treat panic attacks and other mental health issues that stem from irregular brain activity.

When misused, Klonopin can create a reaction similar to alcohol intoxication. Like all benzodiazepines, Klonopin carries the risk of dependence, addiction and even overdose.

Understanding Klonopin’s overdose potential can help you and those you love avoid experiencing one. The following provides an overview of common dosage amounts, side effects, overdose symptoms and benzo overdose treatment approaches.

Klonopin Overdose Symptoms

The severity of Klonopin overdose symptoms depends on the level of intoxication. However, symptoms generally follow a similar, observable pattern. Specific symptoms may include:

  • Extreme sedation and drowsiness: A person overdosing on Klonopin may be extremely sedated and drowsy even when they areThis symptom must be present even when the individual is surrounded by excessive noise and commotion. The symptom is most apparent in a recreational setting where lethargy stands out.
  • Mental anguish or confusion: Klonopin slows electrical activity within the brain. As a result, some cognitive processes may feel cloudy or incomplete, leading to a state of confusionincomprehension.
  • Slurred words or labored breathing: These may occur together or as unrelated symptoms. Pay particularly close attention to any breathing issues.

Klonopin remains in the human body for several days after being used, and overdose symptoms are possible at any time during this window. If you suspect that someone is overdosing on Klonopin, contact emergency services and get the victim the help they need.

Klonopin LD50

Many different factors must be considered when predicting an overdose amount for Klonopin, and even the best estimates still fall within a general range. No expert has the exact answer, as each person’s physiology, genetics, tolerance and usage patterns are part of this complex prescription puzzle.

There’s less mystery when it comes to determining the right dosage for a patient. Klonopin has recommended dose amounts that vary depending on what it’s being used to treat. Most adults are prescribed dosages between 0.5 mg to 2 mg per day, which can increase by intervals of 0.5 mg if necessary. The maximum dose for panic and anxiety is 4 mg per day; for seizure disorders, it can be as high as 20 mg per day.

Klonopin also has a very high LD50, which refers to the expected lethal dose for 50% of test subjects. For lab rats, this amount can be as high as 4,000 mg/kg. Because this amount is so large, there are no conversions for human equivalency. It could take a few hundred thousand milligrams of Klonopin for someone to overdose and die.

Additionally, Klonopin stays in the system longer than some benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (alprazolam). Klonopin’s half-life is 18 to 50 hours, so it stays in the body for 90 to 250 hours. This means that it may be more dangerous when combined with other drugs.

A fairly large amount may be needed to fatally overdose, but that doesn’t mean less severe overdoses can’t occur. Klonopin overdose symptoms can actually begin with much smaller amounts. Essentially, a person is at risk of overdose if they take anything more than their prescribed dosage amount.

Klonopin Overdose Treatment

Klonopin overdoses are treated nearly the same way as overdoses on other benzodiazepines.

When the victim arrives at an emergency medical center, their symptoms are tackled one by one. Once a stable condition is observed, doctors may choose to administer a benzodiazepine antidote called flumazenil. A Klonopin overdose victim has a high likelihood of survival when given the proper care right away.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

Klonopin Overdose and Alcohol

The true danger of Klonopin overdose is when the drug is mixed with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as alcohol. Combining multiple CNS depressants can intensify the effects of each substance, leading to a higher risk of severe side effects and overdose. According to the CDC, alcohol contributed to around 27% of benzodiazepine-related ED visits and 21% of benzodiazepine-related deaths in 2010.

Klonopin Overdose Long-Term Effects

Klonopin is usually safe when taken legally and exactly as prescribed by one’s doctor. However, the dangers can sometimes present themselves even under otherwise safe conditions.

Klonopin has been linked to some disconcerting side effects in the long term. Extended use can result in:

If you or someone you love is struggling with Klonopin use, help is available at The Recovery Village. We provide evidence-based Klonopin addiction treatment as well as dual diagnosis care for co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.

Jonathan Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Conor Sheehy
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more
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Food and Drug Administration. “Klonopin Package Insert.” 2013. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Gaudreault, P., at al. “Benzodiazepine Poisoning. Clinical and Pharmacological Considerations and Treatment.” Drug Safety, 1991. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Kang, Michael; et al. “Benzodiazepine Toxicity.” StatPearls, July 2021. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Craven, Caroline; et al. “Demystifying Benzodiazepine Urine Drug Screen Results.” Practical Pain Management, February 2014. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Jones, Christopher; et al. “Alcohol Involvement in Opioid Pain Reliever and Benzodiazepine Drug Abuse–Related Emergency Department Visits and Drug-Related Deaths — United States, 2010.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), October 10, 2014. Accessed November 10, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.