When Can I Drink Alcohol After Taking Klonopin?

Alcohol consumption while taking medication often brings concerns from patients and healthcare professionals alike. Alcohol certainly can interact with medication in a variety of ways including altering how they are metabolized or augmenting/diminishing the intended effect. See below for our latest question and answer regarding alcohol consumption while taking the Klonooin (clonazepam).

Question

Last night I had about 8 alcoholic drinks until my last one at about 10pm. I haven't had a drink all day today and I take klonopin 1mg tablets for anxiety as needed. Is it safe for me to take my dose right now? It's 8:30pm so it has been almost 24 hours since my last alcoholic drink. Also, when is a good window for spacing out drinking and klonopin?

Asked by Matthew On Feb 12, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Feb 13, 2018

There is a drug interaction between Klonopin (clonazepam) and alcohol, and they should not be used together. Both alcohol and Klonopin are associated with CNS (central nervous system) depression. The combined use of alcohol and Klonopin can lead to additive CNS depression, which can be extremely dangerous. Possible effects include:

  • Decreased mental alertness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Profound sedation
  • Coma


Klonopin (Clonazepam) With Alcohol

Klonopin (clonazepam) is classified as a benzodiazepine and has a fairly quick onset of action of about 20 to 60 minutes. The duration of action of Klonopin is around 6 to 8 hours in children and up to 12 hours in adults. 


While the effects of Klonopin generally last 6 to 12 hours, the half-life of the drug (i.e. time it takes for 50% of the drug to be metabolized) is significantly longer, around 30 to 40 hours. Some sources put the half-life at over 50 hours. Generally, it is thought that it takes at least 5 half-lives for a drug to be considered completely metabolized. Therefore, it will take at least four to five days for Klonopin to be completely metabolized and eliminated from the body.


Klonopin, on its own, is very unlikely to cause significant respiratory depression. However, taking additional medications that are CNS depressants (like alcohol) greatly increase the risk of dangerous and even fatal respiratory depression. That is why it is so important to use extreme caution (or avoid altogether) combinations of CNS depressants like alcohol, opioids and benzodiazepines.


In order to avoid consuming alcohol with Klonopin completely, it would be necessary to abstain from drinking for at least four to five days based on the half-life of Klonopin. However, there isn't much data available to appropriately determine how long the respiratory depressive effects of Klonopin last after dosing. The effects on respiration don't appear to last for the duration of time the drug is detectable in the body, but this isn't conclusive. If you are looking to consume alcohol while on Klonopin therapy, it would be prudent to speak with your doctor for advice in your particular situation

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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