There is a connection between clonazepam and weight gain, but it is extremely unlikely, according to studies conducted on the effects of the drug. Weight loss has been more commonly reported in clinical trials than weight gain, which occurs in less than 1 percent of patients, meaning that the link between the two is extremely small. Despite the statistical unlikelihood of clonazepam and weight gain being linked in patients, it is a possible side effect of the treatment, although it generally can be managed through changes in lifestyle.
Clonazepam is an anti-anxiety drug in the same class as diazepam and alprazolam, known as the benzodiazepine class of drugs. The precise action of the drug is not known, but it is believed to work by increasing the function of a neurotransmitter with the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid. Neurotransmitters can be thought of as chemical messengers that work within the brain to stimulate nerves and relay messages. This particular neurotransmitter inhibits brain activity, an abundance of which is thought to lead to anxiety disorders. By inhibiting the activity of the brain, clonazepam thereby fights anxiety.
Less than 1 percent of people who are taking the drug experience any link between clonazepam and weight gain. Studies have shown that some people do experience the side effect when taking the drug, but they also have shown that some people experience weight loss — the opposite effect — when taking clonazepam. The drug has been studied extensively, and both weight loss and weight gain were ranked among the least likely side effects of the treatment, with less than 1 percent of people experiencing either one. So although a link between clonazepam and weight loss does exist, it is insignificant in many ways.
Patients who are having trouble with clonazepam and weight gain could try to improve the condition through management of diet and lifestyle. Doctors often advise these patients to eat lean meats, fish, poultry and lots of fruit and vegetables. Exercising for 30 minutes per day on most days of the week is another good way to fight the chances of weight gain, and limiting the intake of saturated fats and trans fats is beneficial as well. Alcohol also is best avoided by people who are trying to lose weight, because most alcoholic drinks are high in calories and are often consumed in excess.