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How Long Does Klonopin (Clonazepam) Stay In the System?

Klonopin is a prescription medication belonging to a class of drugs named ‘benzodiazepines’. Primarily, it is used for the treatment of anxiety and acute epilepsy. Development of physical and psychological dependence is common among Klonopin users. The drug produces relaxing and euphoric effects when consumed in high amounts. Use of benzodiazepines like Klonopin has been linked to a number of problems such as impaired memory, learning problems, depression etc. After quitting the drug, it stays in the system for some time as the body removes it.

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How Long Does Klonopin (Clonazepam) Stay In The System?

How long does Klonopin stay in your system after quitting?

After quitting Klonopin, a number of withdrawal symptoms appear as the body learns to function without the drug. It is important to go through withdrawal and detoxification under medical supervision to avoid any harmful side effects.

The time Clonazepam (Klonopin) stays in the system depends upon its half life. The estimated half life of the drug ranges between 30 to 40 hours. It means that it takes the user about 2 days to remove 50%

of the drug from his system. Another 2 days will be taken to remove 75% of the drug.Liver is the main organ involved in the detoxification and metabolism of clonazepam. Clonazepam break down product “7-aminoclonazepam” has a half life shorter or almost equal to original drug. So it takes around 2 weeks for the body to remove the drug and its metabolites.

Factors that influence the time taken for Klonopin removal:

On average, it takes about two weeks for the complete removal of the drug from the system. However, it may vary from one user to the other. How fast the drug will be removed from the system depends upon a number of factors such as:

1.Individual variations:

  • Studies suggest that age of an individual influences the way benzodiazepines are removed from the system. Elderly people, usually 65+, show a lower clearance rate. On average, the clearance rate for benzodiazepines is reduced by 22% in elderly people.
  • Body mass index or height and weight of the user are also known to influence the clearance rate of the drug. Greater the body mass, faster the drug will be removed from the system.
  • Genetic disposition also influences the time taken for clearance. There are a number of enzymes in the body that facilitate the process of clonazepam break down. Certain genes present in the DNA of a person encode for these enzymes.
  • Liver is the major organ involved in clonazepam metabolism. A healthy liver is likely to break down the drug faster than a diseased one.
  • Metabolic rate of the user determines how fast the drug is broken down to its metabolites. A person with active metabolism takes less time to remove it from the system.

2.Time the drug was taken for:
How long the drug was taken for is another important factor that determines clearance time. A person with a long term history of Klonopin abuse takes longer to get rid of the drug as compared to a person who has taken it for just a few days. The reason is, with prolonged use, the drug starts to accumulate in the body fat and other tissues and it takes longer for the body to completely eliminate it.

3.Dosage of the drug taken:

Long term users are also likely to take heavy doses of the drug to cope with tolerance. As a result, it takes longer for the body to remove it. A person who takes 1mg of the drug per day removes it much quickly than a person who takes 4mg. At higher doses, the efficiency of the liver is significantly decreased since it is only able to break down a certain amount of drug at a time.

Also, taking high doses of the drug means high amounts of it will move through the body so there is a greater chance of it getting incorporated in the body tissues. People who take low doses are less likely to store it in their bodies.

4.Polydrug abuse:

Combining clonazepam with other drugs can modify the way it is metabolized. Certain inhibitor drugs can even inhibit the function of enzymes involved in its metabolism thus elongating the time taken for its removal.

Absorption, metabolism and excretion of Klonopin:

As soon as the drug is ingested, it starts to be absorbed in the blood via gastrointestinal tract. If 2mg of Klonopin are ingested, the levels of clonazepam reach their peak values within 1-2 hours. If 6mg of Klonopin are taken in a single day, the plasma concentrations of the drug will range between 30-80ng/mL.

Clonazepam shows high affinity for lipids so it becomes lodged in body fat as it is extensively distributed throughout the body. It takes around one week of clonazepam use for it to reach its peak value in the body fat.

Liver is the primary organ involved in Klonopin detoxification. As the drug reaches liver, it is broken down into its metabolites. Most of the drug ingested is excreted in the form of its metabolites via urine and feces. Only a little amount is excreted as original drug ‘clonazepam’.

Drug tests used to detect Klonopin the body:

After ingesting Klonopin, a number of drug tests can be taken to detect clonazepam and its metabolites in the body.

  • Urine tests:
    A fresh urine sample is collected from the user and is sent to the laboratory for testing. Most of the drug leaves the body in the form of its metabolites and only a small amount as unchanged clonazepam. So, usually the urine tests analyze the urine for the levels of clonazepam metabolite ‘7-aminoclonazepam’. Evidences show that this metabolite can be detected in the urine for 21 to 28 days after last drug consumption.
    Urine tests are preferred over other modes of testing because they are non-invasive and easy to perform. Also, the drug can be detected for reasonably long period of time.
  • Blood tests:
    Clonazepam reaches its peak values in the blood after 1-2 hours of ingestion so it is the best time to collect the sample for testing. However, small doses of clonazepam can be detected in the blood even after a few minutes of ingestion. After reaching its peak values, the blood concentration of clonazepam starts to decrease but it still remains fairly detectable. Because the drug has high absorbance rate and is accumulated in the body tissues, it can be detected for even longer periods of time.
    Blood tests are not a preferable form of drug testing due to their invasive nature and short period of effectiveness as compared to urine tests.
  • Saliva tests:
    Oral fluid can be collected and tested for the presence of clonazepam and its metabolites. Clonazepam and its metabolites can only be detected for up to 5-6 days post ingestion. Although it is non-invasive and easy to perform but it is not commonly used as it is not that accurate.
  • Hair tests:
    Samples of hair follicles (preferably from head) are collected from the patient and tested for the presence of clonazepam and its metabolites. With prolonged use, the drug becomes incorporated in the body hair of the user. The advantage of performing hair follicle test is that it is non-invasive and it remains effective for up to 4 months after last drug use. So it is a preferable choice when the patient is tested after a long period of time.
    The disadvantage of this test is that it can be sometimes inaccurate.
Tips to speed up the process of Klonopin removal:

Complete removal of the drug from the body is a time taking process. However, some techniques can be used to speed up it up:

  • Quitting the drug and seeking treatment:
    After quitting the drug, avoid taking it again at any costs. A relapse can be very dangerous during detox process. Rehab centers can not only help to quit the drug but also to successfully maintain abstinence.
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle:
    Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and doing regular exercise can help speed up the process of Klonopin removal. Klonopin is stored in the fat cells of the body and exercise helps to burn the fat. It enables the body to remove it more efficiently.

Klonopin addiction is a serious condition that needs proper treatment for a successful recovery. Don’t ever be ashamed to reach out for help. Delaying the treatment will only worsen the condition of the addict.

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