Klonopin, also known as “clonazepam” (its generic name), is a prescription drug primarily used in the treatment of anxiety disorder. In other instances, doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like restless leg syndrome, seizures, and insomnia.
While clonazepam is helpful for many patients, it’s also a powerful and very addictive drug. It belongs to a class of substances called “benzodiazepines” that help to treat neurological disorders but also carry a high risk of addiction. The side effects of Klonopin and other benzos are very dangerous and potentially deadly. Each year, more than 8,000 Americans die from benzo-related overdoses. In 2011 alone, more than 75,000 Americans visited the emergency room for problems related to clonazepam abuse.
If you’re addicted to the drug or abusing your prescription, therefore, it’s crucial that you get the help you need. We’ve outlined some information that we hope will help you get the drug out of your system for good.
When trying to understand how long any drug stays present in your body, it’s important to know the half-life of the drug.
“Half-life” is the measurement we use to track how long it takes the human body to process certain chemicals. The term gets its name from the fact that it describes the length of time it takes for your body to process 50% of the total among you consumed.
The half-life of clonazepam is between 30 and 40 hours. Essentially, this means that every 30-40 hours, you’ll have 50% less clonazepam in your body than you did when you first ingested it. If you take 1 mg of Klonopin on a given day, it can take nearly 2 days for your body to digest half of that dosage.
This is an unusually long half-life considering that some drugs are flushed out of your system in less than 2 hours. What it means, though, is that detoxing from the drug can take a little bit longer than other drugs. If you’re a habitual user, it can take as long as 2 weeks for you to get all of the Klonopin out of your system.
There are a few factors that can affect how long Klonopin stays in your system. People who are overweight or unusually tall tend to process drugs much faster than others. Genetic difference in metabolism can play a key role as well.
The severity of your addiction has a huge impact on your ability to metabolize the drug. During the process of breaking down benzodiazepines, there are all kinds of byproducts that get produced. These byproducts accumulate in your liver and tend not to get flushed out until you detox. If you take a lot of clonazepam, then, it’s going to take a while for you to get it out of your system. Similarly, if you mix the drug with alcohol or other drugs, the interaction can create unwanted byproducts that are hard to get rid of.
Your hair is like a time capsule of drug use. Most drugs will show up in your hair for as long as 4 months after you’ve used them. Benzos can take several days to actually register in your hair but after that, your hair may test positive.
Yes. Urine will test positive for clonazepam for anywhere between 1 and 28 days after the last use. It can show up in the urine as quickly as a few hours after ingestion.
The exact length of time that your urine will test positive for the drug depends on a few factors. The health of your liver is important. If your digestive system can’t flush the drug out, traces can show up in your urine for quite a while.
There are also a number of different urine tests that can be administered to check for benzos. Each of these has different sensitivity levels. A lower-end drug test won’t be able to detect benzos that were used a month ago, but a high-end test probably will.
If you’re drug tested in a hospital, they will probably administer a blood test. Your blood can test positive for clonazepam in as little as one hour after ingestion. Some blood tests are so sensitive that they can detect the drug within minutes.
Your body works very hard to remove any foreign substances from the bloodstream. Therefore, it tends to eliminate traces of drugs from your blood pretty quickly. A blood test, therefore, will only show signs of Klonopin in your system for a day or two.
Yes. Saliva tests can be used to check for drugs like clonazepam. A saliva test will usually take several hours to show positive results. Once traces of the drug are present in your spit, however, the test will remain positive for up to 6 days.
Saliva tests are used pretty rarely because they aren’t as reliable as urine or blood tests. They’re only used when no other options are available. Generally, the results need to be confirmed with a different type of tests.
Clonazepam abuse isn’t just dangerous, it’s also illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence (even with a prescription), you can face some serious penalties. The information sheet for the drug states that individuals should not drive or operate heavy machinery while under its influence. Therefore, users who are caught doing so can be penalized according to state and federal laws.
If you aren’t prescribed to the drug and you’re caught driving with it in your possession, you can face even larger charges. Clonazepam is currently classified as a Schedule IV substance under federal guidelines. This means that the drug has an accepted medical use but also carries a risk of abuse. A first-time offense can carry a 1-year prison sentence and a fine as large as $100,000.
It doesn’t take long for a seemingly harmless benzo habit to turn into something worse. Many times, the people who abuse benzos started out by taking them as a part of a prescription. In other cases, people start using them recreationally because they like the mellow, euphoric high it gives them.
Although the effects of Klonopin last several hours, that isn’t long enough for some people. Abusers will often take more than the prescribed dose in order to achieve heightened effects. Some people may even crush the pills up and snort them. This allows the drug to reach the brain faster, putting it right into the user’s system without having to digest it first.
Abusing benzos is very dangerous. If you’re worried that you might be abusing them or know someone who takes them recreationally, there are a few symptoms to look out for. This signs will indicate that the problem is progressing rapidly and that the individual needs help:
If you’re abusing your prescription or taking the drug without a doctor’s consent, you could face negative health consequences. Common side effects include:
If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to get help. Reach out to an addiction specialist or medical professional as soon as possible.
As with most prescribed drugs, the length of the prescription depends on the circumstances.
People who take benzos for anxiety, for example, may be prescribed indefinitely. These users should never take more than the doctor instructs and should report and unwanted side effects if they appear.
Other users receive a small dosage, 0.5mg or so, for specific situations that make them feel unusually nervous. A doctor might prescribe clonazepam to a patient who is terrified of flying but is required to do so for work. The doctor will only prescribe enough for the patient to take when they’re flying.
If your doctor has prescribed you the drug for short-term use, make sure to use it only as you’ve been instructed.
The type of detox program you need will be determined by the doctor based on your situation. They will review your medical history and your addiction to decide what method will provide the best results.
If you’re addicted to clonazepam or another similar drug, it’s important for you to detox under the supervision of a medical professional. Benzo withdrawals can be extremely painful and potentially dangerous. Quitting cold turkey can lead to:
When you stop using Klonopin and try to get it out of your system, your brain essentially goes haywire. It’s become accustomed to having the drug present and won’t be able to recalibrate itself immediately. The detox process can lead to psychosis, extreme hallucinations, and even seizures. The safest way to manage benzo withdrawal symptoms is to detox under the supervision of a professional.
At a professional detox facility, doctors will wean you off the substance slowly. This will enable your brain to acclimate to the absence of clonazepam. By the time you quit completely, your body will be much more prepared to handle withdrawals.
The benefits of professional detox include:
Detox is different for everybody. Depending on how much you used, how long you’ve been using and how healthy your liver is, the whole process can take up to 2 weeks.
Generally, people are able to detox from clonazepam in 5-9 days. During that time, the patient will experience a number of unpleasant symptoms.
Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they don’t last long. They’re a sign that you’re getting the Klonopin out of your system and that you’re on the path to a healthier life.
A typical clonazepam detox timeline looks something like this:
Depending on how much you’ve used, it can take up to 48 hours before you feel any withdrawal effects. As the drug’s half-life starts to dwindle down, though, you’ll begin to experience intense cravings. You may get increasingly anxious. This is particularly true for individuals who took the drug to treat anxiety. Even if you are in a professional treatment program and you’re taking a reduced dose to ease withdrawal symptoms, you will probably feel a bit on edge.
After 48 hours of not using (or taking a smaller dose), you’ll continue to experience intense cravings. Anxiety may worsen. Physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweats, etc, will also start to appear. These physical symptoms are a sign that your body is taking the Klonopin in your system and working to flush it out. It primarily exits your body through your digestive system and your sweat.
Toward the end of the first week, your withdrawal symptoms will “peak”. This is the worst that they’re going to get. At this point, you will probably feel extremely anxious and possibly unable to sleep. It is possible that you’ll also experience visual and auditory hallucinations. Nausea and vomiting will continue. Keep in mind that these are the peak symptoms, that you’ll feel better in a few days and that this is the best decision you’ve ever made.
If you’re detoxing from a mild addiction, it is likely that the process will take 8 or 9 days. You’ll probably still have some residual anxiety. It’s important to remember that overcoming a drug addiction can be a lifelong process. Even though you’ve gotten all of the clonazepam out of your body, you still need to rehabilitate.
Remember, addiction is a two-part condition. Physical dependency is not the only thing you need to address. There is a whole psychological side to addiction that you need to understand and overcome if you want to remain drug-free in the future.
We recommend that you attend a professional drug rehab program. There, you’ll spend time meeting with therapists, counselors and other addicts who can educate you on your addiction and offer support as you fight to remain sober.
Clonazepam can be a very useful drug. There are plenty of people who depend on it to get them through each day. When it’s taken exactly as prescribed, the risk of addiction is very low. However, it’s a drug that is very easy to abuse.
In many cases, individuals start to feel that they’ve developed a tolerance to the drug. They may start taking more than they’re supposed to or start taking it more often. Once you start abusing it, you put yourself on a slippery slope toward addiction.
If you came here wondering how long Klonopin lasts or how to get it out of your system, there’s a chance that you’re struggling with a bad habit. Maybe you abuse your prescription. Maybe you have a full-fledged addiction. Either way detox and rehab could be the answer.
Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue can provide the medical expertise and psychological support you need to overcome your struggle with drugs. If you want to discuss your habit or talk about potential treatment options with a member of our staff, please give us a call. We’ve all been where you are today and we hope that we can help you.
Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.(425) 629-0433 Contact Us