After participating in this activity, learners should be better able to:
• Assess the misuse potential of clonazepam
• Characterize the nonmedical use of clonazepam
• Identify the health problems associated with long-term use of clonazepam
Clonazepam, a benzodiazepine, is commonly used in treating various conditions, including anxiety disorders and epileptic seizures. Due to its low price and easy availability, however, it has become a commonly misused medication, both in medical and recreational contexts. In this review, we aim to highlight the behavioral and pharmacological aspects of clonazepam and its history following its approval for human use. We examine the circumstances commonly associated with the nonmedical use of clonazepam and raise points of particular concern. Clonazepam, alone or in combination with other psychoactive substances, can lead to unwanted effects on health, such as motor and cognitive impairment, sleep disorders, and aggravation of mood and anxiety disorders. Prolonged use of clonazepam may lead to physical dependence and tolerance. There is therefore a need to find safer therapeutic alternatives for treating seizures and anxiety disorders. Greater awareness of its frequent nonmedical use is also needed to achieve safer overall use of this medication.