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Klonopin (Clonazepam) and Alcohol: Interactions, Effects & Risks

Last Updated: February 28, 2024

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Mixing Klonopin and alcohol can lead to dangerous complications like overdose.

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. You may wonder whether it is safe to take other substances — including ones widely available like alcohol — alongside Klonopin. However, doing so can cause dangerous interactions. As a result, you should be aware of the risks of mixing Klonopin and alcohol before you drink.

What Is Klonopin (Clonazepam)? 

Klonopin is the brand name for the generic drug clonazepam. As a benzodiazepine (or benzo), Klonopin is a central nervous system depressant. The drug is a Schedule IV controlled substance prescribed to treat conditions like:

  • Seizures
  • Panic disorder
  • Catatonia 
  • Restlessness

Experts think Klonopin works by enhancing the effect of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the central nervous system.

Side Effects of Klonopin

Like all drugs, Klonopin has some side effects, even at recommended doses, which include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Speech difficulty
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

Signs of Klonopin Overdose

If you take too much Klonopin or mix it with other substances like alcohol or opioids, you are at an increased risk of a Klonopin overdose. Signs of a Klonopin overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Lethargy
  • Hypnosis
  • Poor reflexes
  • Coordination problems
  • Limp muscles 
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unresponsiveness 

A Klonopin overdose is a medical emergency and can be deadly. If you think someone has overdosed on Klonopin, call 911 immediately.

Can You Drink on Klonopin? 

You should avoid drinking while on Klonopin. Mixing alcohol and Klonopin can lead to dangerous side effects. This is due to a drug interaction between the two substances.

Clonazepam and Alcohol Interactions

You should avoid mixing clonazepam and alcohol because of how the two substances interact. Both are central nervous system depressants, meaning that taking them together can lead to problematic side effects, like:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems concentrating
  • Impaired thinking 
  • Poor judgment

Dangers of Combining Klonopin and Alcohol

The side effects of taking Klonopin and alcohol together can be dangerous to you and those around you. Combining these substances can lead to complications like:

  • Addiction
  • Accidents
  • Overdose

How Long After Taking Klonopin Can You Drink?

Klonopin is a long-acting benzodiazepine, and you should wait at least four days after your last dose to drink. This is because Klonopin can stay in your system for days.

You can estimate how long a drug lasts in your body based on a drug’s half-life. The half-life of a drug is how long half a dose of a drug lasts in your body. Klonopin’s half-life ranges from 18 to 50 hours, depending on the person. Because it takes five half-lives for a drug to be completely removed from your system, it can take 3.75  to 10.5 days for Klonopin to leave your system. You should avoid alcohol during this time.

How Long After Drinking Can You Take Klonopin? 

You should avoid taking Klonopin until alcohol is completely out of your system. However, the specific length of time depends on how much you have to drink. Alcohol stays in your system for hours after you drink, peaking in your bloodstream within 45 minutes and slowly leaving your body over the next several hours.

A breathalyzer test can measure the amount of alcohol in your system by telling you your blood alcohol content (BAC). This number is based on factors like how much you drank, your body composition and your biological sex. Once your BA has peaked 45 minutes after a drink, it will decrease by approximately 0.015 per hour. Therefore, if your BAC is 0.06, which is under the legal driving limit in most places, it would still take around four hours for that amount of alcohol to leave your body. 

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more specific information on how long it takes to separate alcohol and Klonopin based on your medical history.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Atlanta, GA

Overcoming a struggle with Klonopin can feel overwhelming. This is especially true if you are challenged by an additional substance like alcohol as well. Fortunately, help is available. The Recovery Village Atlanta is with you every step of the way, from helping wean you off Klonopin and alcohol to keeping you sober over the long term. Don’t wait: contact a Recovery Advocate today.

Sources

Drugs.com. “Clonazepam: Package Insert.” February 1, 2023. Accessed May 7, 2023.

Drugs.com. “Clonazepam Monograph for Professionals.” October 31, 2022. Accessed May 7, 2023.

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: clonazepam, ethanol.” Accessed May 7, 2023.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol-Medication Interactions: Potentially Dangerous Mixes.” May 6, 2022. Accessed May 7, 2023.

Bowling Green State University. “Alcohol Metabolism.” Accessed May 7, 2023.

Hallare, Jericho & Gerriets, Valerie. “Half Life.” StatPearls, June 23, 2022. Accessed May 7, 2023.