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What Is Clobazam?

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  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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Clobazam is the generic name of a benzodiazepine derivative marketed under the brand names Frisium®, Urbanol®, or Novo-Clobazam®. It is typically used in the treatment of seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. This drug can also be used for short periods to treat severe anxiety, insomnia, and other conditions not related to a seizure disorder. Like other medications classified as benzodiazepines, clobazam can be psychologically addicting. Long-term use of this drug might also lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

The drug clobazam is typically taken by mouth in the form of a tablet. If necessary, it can be crushed and mixed into food. Potential side effects can include dizziness, tiredness, nausea, dry mouth, gastrointestinal changes, or muscle weakness. As with any other drug, serious side effects related to a drug allergy could include a rash, trouble breathing, or other emergency symptoms.

Use of alcohol, antihistamines, narcotics, or other substances that depress the central nervous system can lead to increased risk of severe drowsiness or other side effects when combined with this drug. Clobazam is known to have serious drug interactions when combined with Serzone®, Luvox®, Sporanox®, Nizoral®, and certain other medications. Benzodiazepines generally are not recommended for individuals who have a history of drug or alcohol dependence, severe mental illness, or some types of breathing conditions such as emphysema.

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Benzodiazepines are not intended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. These drugs increase the likelihood of birth defects when used during the first trimester of pregnancy. There is also a high risk of physical dependence and other serious problems in the newborn infant. Clobazam is also contraindicated in individuals with glaucoma, liver disease, or kidney disease.

Clobazam is sometimes seen to have fewer side effects in individuals who cannot tolerate older benzodiazepine medications, such as Valium® or Klonopin®. Benzodiazepines tend to lose effectiveness over time, leading to increased dosage and potential increase in side effects. Long-term effects can include psychological dependence, depression, or impaired brain function such as memory loss or reduced concentration. These medications are also known to cause withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, increased seizure activity, shaking, or fast heartbeat.

Some evidence points to a link between anti-epileptic medications and increased suicidality. For this reason, individuals who use clobazam long term should be monitored by loved ones and health care professionals for warning signs of suicide. The individual's doctors might recommend a gradual change in dosage or switching to another anti-epileptic drug.

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