Clonazepam certainly seems to be effective against panic disorder and
seizures, and also has a variety of other uses in both adult and
pediatric patients. There is a lot of information available on the
side effects of clonazepam. Unfortunately, most of it comes from sites
like http://www.prozactruth.com/clonazepam.htm. Nothing against such
sites, but unless the information is published in a paper signed by a
guy with M.D. or Ph.D. after his name, your doctor is unlikely to be
However, that does not mean the information does not have merit. The
prozactruth.com site identifies several central nervous system side
effects beside altered behavior. Those effects include unsteady gait,
slurred speech, dysarthria, vertigo, and insomnia.
The site http://www.whatmeds.com/meds/clonazepam.html lists a litany
of side effect ranging from increased salivation to tremors to
constipation to fatigue to ataxia (the technical term for
uncoordinated muscles, which can lead to shaky movements and unsteady
While it is not hard to demonstrate that clonazepam can cause ataxia,
none of the study abstracts I read said anything about ataxia being
related specifically to long-term use.
The site http://www.mentalhealth.com/drug/p30-r04.html lists much the
same side effects that I found on the other sites, but the Canadian
monograph contains one additional piece of data ? studies indicate
that 30% of people who take clonazepam have ataxia symptoms. Only
drowsiness (50%) occurs more often. This research was taken from the
Internet Mental Health Web site, which is copyrighted by Phillip W.
The mentalhealth.com site seems pretty legitimate, though I don?t know
whether your doctor will be impressed. However, if you?re looking for
some ammo you can take to your doctor, I have some possibilities for
According to a study by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General
Hospital, ataxia is more common in patients who take the larger doses,
3 or 4 mg. They conclude that smaller doses offer a better mix of
effectiveness and tolerability.
Another study by a Canadian doctor from the Royal Victoria Hospital in
Montreal listed ataxia, drowsiness, and behavioral changes as the
primary side effects of clonazepam. That study was published in the
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, November 1988.
Apparently, clonazepam is more effective at treating depression than
Sometimes clonazepam is used to treat ataxia, as documented in a study
published in a neurology journal in May 2000.
A generic version of clonazepam was approved back in 1996, so if
you?re paying top dollar for a brand-name product, you?re paying too
Google search strategies:
clonazepam gait side effect