Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy with clonazepam (see WARNINGS , Pregnancy Risks). Patients should be encouraged to enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry if they become pregnant. This registry is collecting information about the safety of antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. To enroll, patients can call the toll free number 1-888-233-2334 (see PRECAUTIONS , Pregnancy).
Patients should be advised not to breastfeed an infant if they are taking clonazepam.
Patients should be advised to inform their physicians if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, since there is a potential for interactions.
Patients should be advised to avoid alcohol while taking clonazepam.
Clonazepam does not appear to alter the pharmacokinetics of phenytoin, carbamazepine or phenobarbital. The effect of clonazepam on the metabolism of other drugs has not been investigated.
Literature reports suggest that ranitidine, an agent that decreases stomach acidity, does not greatly alter clonazepam pharmacokinetics.
In a study in which the 2 mg clonazepam orally disintegrating tablet was administered with and without propantheline (an anticholinergic agent with multiple effects on the GI tract) to healthy volunteers, the AUC of clonazepam was 10% lower and the Cmax of clonazepam was 20% lower when the orally disintegrating tablet was given with propantheline compared to when it was given alone.
Fluoxetine does not affect the pharmacokinetics of clonazepam. Cytochrome P-450 inducers, such as phenytoin, carbamazepine and phenobarbital, induce clonazepam metabolism, causing an approximately 30% decrease in plasma clonazepam levels. Although clinical studies have not been performed, based on the involvement of the cytochrome P-450 3A family in clonazepam metabolism, inhibitors of this enzyme system, notably oral antifungal agents, should be used cautiously in patients receiving clonazepam.
The CNS-depressant action of the benzodiazepine class of drugs may be potentiated by alcohol, narcotics, barbiturates, nonbarbiturate hypnotics, antianxiety agents, the phenothiazines, thioxanthene and butyrophenone classes of antipsychotic agents, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and the tricyclic antidepressants, and by other anticonvulsant drugs.
Carcinogenicity studies have not been conducted with clonazepam.
The data currently available are not sufficient to determine the genotoxic potential of clonazepam.
In a two-generation fertility study in which clonazepam was given orally to rats at 10 and 100 mg/kg/day (low dose approximately 5 times and 24 times the maximum recommended human dose of 20 mg/day for seizure disorder and 4 mg/day for panic disorder, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis), there was a decrease in the number of pregnancies and in the number of offspring surviving until weaning.
(See WARNINGS , Pregnancy Risks).
To provide information regarding the effects of in utero exposure to clonazepam, physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking clonazepam enroll in the NAAED Pregnancy Registry. This can be done by calling the toll free number 1-888-233-2334, and must be done by patients themselves. Information on this registry can also be found at the website http://www.aedpregnancyregistry.org/.
The effect of clonazepam on labor and delivery in humans has not been specifically studied; however, perinatal complications have been reported in children born to mothers who have been receiving benzodiazepines late in pregnancy, including findings suggestive of either excess benzodiazepine exposure or of withdrawal phenomena (see WARNINGS , Pregnancy Risks).
Mothers receiving clonazepam should not breastfeed their infants.
Because of the possibility that adverse effects on physical or mental development could become apparent only after many years, a benefit-risk consideration of the long-term use of clonazepam is important in pediatric patients being treated for seizure disorder (see INDICATIONS AND USAGE and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients with panic disorder below the age of 18 have not been established.
Clinical studies of clonazepam did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Because clonazepam undergoes hepatic metabolism, it is possible that liver disease will impair clonazepam elimination. Metabolites of clonazepam are excreted by the kidneys; to avoid their excess accumulation, caution should be exercised in the administration of the drug to patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased hepatic and/or renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to assess hepatic and/or renal function at the time of dose selection.
Sedating drugs may cause confusion and over-sedation in the elderly; elderly patients generally should be started on low doses of clonazepam and observed closely.
The adverse experiences for clonazepam are provided separately for patients with seizure disorders and with panic disorder.
The most frequently occurring side effects of clonazepam are referable to CNS depression. Experience in treatment of seizures has shown that drowsiness has occurred in approximately 50% of patients and ataxia in approximately 30%. In some cases, these may diminish with time; behavior problems have been noted in approximately 25% of patients. Others, listed by system, are:
Neurologic: Abnormal eye movements, aphonia, choreiform movements, coma, diplopia, dysarthria, dysdiadochokinesis, “glassy-eyed” appearance, headache, hemiparesis, hypotonia, nystagmus, respiratory depression, slurred speech, tremor, vertigo
Psychiatric: Confusion, depression, amnesia, hallucinations, hysteria, increased libido, insomnia, psychosis (the behavior effects are more likely to occur in patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances). The following paradoxical reactions have been observed: excitability, irritability, aggressive behavior, agitation, nervousness, hostility, anxiety, sleep disturbances, nightmares and vivid dreams
Respiratory: Chest congestion, rhinorrhea, shortness of breath, hypersecretion in upper respiratory passages
Dermatologic: Hair loss, hirsutism, skin rash, ankle and facial edema
Gastrointestinal: Anorexia, coated tongue, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, encopresis, gastritis, increased appetite, nausea, sore gums
Genitourinary: Dysuria, enuresis, nocturia, urinary retention
Musculoskeletal: Muscle weakness, pains
Miscellaneous: Dehydration, general deterioration, fever, lymphadenopathy, weight loss or gain
Hematopoietic: Anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, eosinophilia
Hepatic: Hepatomegaly, transient elevations of serum transaminases and alkaline phosphatase
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