Monday, June 13, 2011

America's Most Dangerous Pill? Klonopin

What is America's most dangerous prescription drug? It's not Adderall or Oxy. It's Klonopin. And doctors are doling it out like candy, causing a surge of hellish withdrawals, overdoses and deaths.

 

Klonopin is the brand name for the generic clonazepam, which was originally brought to market in 1975 as a medication for epileptic seizures. Since then, Klonopin, along with the other drugs in this class, has become a prescription of choice for drug abusers from Hollywood to Wall Street. In the process, these substances have also earned the dubious distinction of being second only to opioid painkillers like OxyContin as our nation's most widely abused class of drug.

 

Klonopin is used as an anti-anxiety drug, in the class of drugs that are also called minor tranquilizers, benzodiazepines or sedative hypnotics. Daily use of these drugs is associated with physical dependence, and addiction can occur after only 14 days of regular use. The typical consequences of withdrawal are anxiety, depression, sweating, cramps, nausea, psychotic reactions and seizures. There is also a "rebound effect" where the individual experiences even worse symptoms than they started with as a result of chemical dependency.

 

Alcoholics and drug addicts are most likely to run into Klonopin during detox, when it is used to prevent seizures and control the symptoms of acute withdrawal. Klonopin takes longer to metabolize and passes through the system more slowly than other benzodiazepines, so in theory you don't need to take it so frequently. But if you like the high it gives you, and  keep increasing your dosage, the addictive effects of the drug accumulate quickly and can often be devastating. The drug's label clearly specifies that it is "recommended" only for short-term use—say, seven to 10 days—but once exposed to the pill's seductive side-effects, many patients come back for more. And not surprisingly, many doctors are happy to refill prescriptions to meet this consumer demand.

 

Read much more about this at

http://www.cchrint.org/2011/06/02/americas-most-dangerous-pill-klonopin/

and find out more about psychiatric drug side effects at

http://www.cchrstl.org/sideeffects.shtml.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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