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Benzodiazepines are sedative medicines. They affect chemicals in the nervous system and brain to reduce communication between nerve cells. This process improves sleep, relieves anxiety, and relaxes muscles for some people.
These drugs generally are used to treat anxiety, nervousness, muscular spasms, and seizures. Benzodiazepines may be used alone, usually for people who only have sleep problems or only have periodic limb movements. Low doses of benzodiazepines may also be used alone for the first attempts to relieve mild symptoms of restless legs syndrome. Benzodiazepines may be used with other drugs, such as dopamine, opioid, or anticonvulsant medicine, that have failed to improve symptoms when used alone. They are especially helpful in improving sleeplessness that has not been helped by other drugs.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about clonazepam (Klonopin) and the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using this medicine. Instead, people who take clonazepam should be watched closely for warning signs of suicide. People who take clonazepam and who are worried about this side effect should talk to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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