Drinking alcohol or taking prescription drugs without a prescription can be seen as a way to fit in and belong — to relax and take part in social interactions. It’s not uncommon for the two to be consumed together at parties, creating a dangerous concoction for your body.
Alcohol and prescription drugs can also be seen as a way to self-medicate and reduce the symptoms of undiagnosed anxiety or panic disorder. As a minor tranquilizer, Klonopin reduces electrical activity in the brain and works to relax muscles. On its own, Klonopin has a high potential for abuse and addiction, but what happens when the prescription is mixed with alcohol?
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a drug prescribed for treating various conditions, including anxiety, seizure disorders, tardive dyskinesia, vertigo and panic disorders in children. When abused, it is abused for its potential to cause sedation, calmness and relaxation.
Klonopin works by binding to GABA-A receptors in nervous system cells. By binding to GABA-A, it makes the receptor more sensitive to the natural neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is a chemical messenger that slows down signals sent between the brain cells. The net result is calmness, sedation and tiredness.
Common street names of Klonopin may include:
- Super valium
Can You Drink Alcohol With Klonopin?
Klonopin and other benzodiazepines are not the only substances that influence the GABA receptors in the brain; alcohol acts similarly, increasing GABA production in the brain.
Benzodiazepines and Klonopin on their own are rarely fatal. However, when mixed with alcohol, Klonopin can be. This is because together, the two substances slow breathing and heart rate, which can lead to overdosing, unconsciousness or death.
Combining these substances can significantly impair motor skills like driving to an even greater extent than either drug alone. Even low amounts of alcohol, like blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%, are associated with significant impairment when combined with benzodiazepines.
Klonopin and other benzodiazepines are sometimes known as “date rape” or “drug-facilitated sexual assault” drugs. Klonopin is tasteless and, when mixed with alcohol, can easily be unknowingly consumed.
This can result in a state of being compliant and not in control of one’s own will or what’s happening to them or around them. In essence, a person who has unknowingly consumed Klonopin experiences a loss of control, sedation, amnesia and a lack of memory about events while Klonopin was in their system.
Mixing Klonopin and alcohol can lead to the unintentional consumption of more Klonopin, which can result in a Klonopin and alcohol overdose.
Side Effects of Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol
Knowing the signs, symptoms and effects of Klonopin and alcohol overdose may help you or a loved one. Here is a list of what to look for:
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
- Trouble breathing
- Slow heartbeat
The symptoms listed above are much more likely to occur when combining substances. Additionally, a person may experience more side effects than with either drug alone.
Symptoms of an Overdose
Overdose can happen with any benzodiazepine but is more likely when mixing substances. Common symptoms of overdose from Klonopin alone include:
- Altered mental status
- Ataxia (slowed movement)
- Slurred speech
Vital signs like breathing and heart rate are not affected by an overdose from Klonopin alone. When combined with alcohol, additional symptoms include respiratory depression (slowed breathing).
If you suspect that someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately. They are likely to need medical attention and may need to take the Klonopin reversal agent Flumezanil.
How Long After Taking Klonopin Can You Drink?
You should never combine Klonopin and alcohol, even if you feel you are not intoxicated. Half-life refers to how long it takes to eliminate a drug from the body, and Klonopin has an extremely long half-life, meaning it will stay in the body for much longer than a person will feel its effects. The half-life is 17–60 hours, which means it takes 85–300 hours (up to 13 days) to leave the body.
You should wait at least two weeks after your last dose of Klonopin before consuming any alcohol, or longer based on your doctor’s recommendation.
When Can You Take Klonopin After Drinking?
This answer is based on how long it takes for the body to eliminate alcohol (ethanol). The average half-life is approximately four to five hours but varies greatly by how much is consumed and your demographics. Since it takes about five half-lives to completely remove a drug from the body, it will be removed in 20–25 hours. Again, this may be much longer based on your metabolism.
Therefore, a person should wait at least about 24 hours after their last drink before consuming Klonopin.
Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment in Orlando, FL
If you or someone you know is struggling with Klonopin or alcohol addictions, we have facilities available in the Orlando area. We believe anyone can recover from addiction with the right treatment and support. We use evidence-based treatment to ensure you have the best chances of recovery.
Our facility is equipped with several amenities, including a swimming pool, exercise gym, sand volleyball court and facilities for yoga and other group activities.
Don’t live in fear of a fatal Klonopin and alcohol overdose. Contact our facility today for help in starting your recovery journey.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.