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April 5, 1976

Clonazepam: A New Anticonvulsant

JAMA. 1976;235(14):1480-1481. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260400046033

This editorial is abstracted in large part from an article by Browne that soon will be published in Archives of Neurology. The editorial is intended to alert physicians to the article and to bring their attention to the recent approval of clonazepam (Clonopin) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing in the United States.

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine anticonvulsant structurally related to chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride (Librium) and diazepam (Valium). Browne's article reviews in some detail the drug's effects on the electroencephalogram, and, more importantly, presents the facts known from what has been published about clonazepam. The drug is rapidly absorbed by the oral route and appears to pass quickly from blood to brain. Preliminary results indicate a biological half-life of 22 to 32 hours, and the therapeutic serum concentration is 5 to 50 ng/ml.

Major side effects of the drug are drowsiness, ataxia, and behavioral changes. They tend to