Klonopin for OCD: Can it Treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Page content

Obsessive compulsive disorder has many sub-types and therefore has many different types of treatment; Klonopin being just one. Primarily the traditional treatment for OCD is various types of SSRIs such as Prozac (Fluoxetine) along with Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT). Depending on the sub-type is how the treatment is decided.

How Klonopin is used for OCD

One of the most prescribed SSRIs for OCD is Prozac; Prozac and OCD; unfortunately some patients with OCD do not respond effectively to the traditional treatment of a SSRI combined with CBT. It is then that studies have shown the introduction of benzodiazepines such as Klonopin have proven successful in the effectiveness of the OCD treatment. Since such SSRIs like Prozac are not contraindicated by benzodiazepines like Klonopin, they are most often prescribed as an addition to the current treatment.

Klonopin for OCD Sub-Types

Obsessive compulsive disorder has many sub-types as well as generally having a wide range of co-morbid conditions. One such co-morbid condition is anxiety that can sometimes lead to panic disorders that involve panic attacks. Klonopin for OCD is often prescribed as a daily medication when the patient suffers from daily anxiety. For patients who are at risk of panic attacks (anxiety attacks) the Klonopin is prescribed PRN (taken as needed). Best Medication for Sufferers of OCD, MDD and Anxiety discusses some of the medications used for OCD sub-types that involve anxiety.

OCD in the Public Eye

Obsessive compulsive disorder, regardless of its type, affects millions of people across the U.S. and studies to treat the OCD are numerous and the on-going studies are just as copious. OCD has gained much popularity with reality shows being designed around the disorder; such as Hoarders: Buried Alive and other shows that portray the lives of some with OCD. When seeing the inside life of those with OCD it is easy to tell that many can suffer from bouts of panic or anxiety. Not all types of OCD have a panic related condition associated with the disorder, but several types do and this is why Klonopin is prescribed.

How Klonopin Works for OCD Co-Morbid Conditions

The benzodiazepine is able to work to reduce daily anxiety for those with chronic anxiety associated with their OCD by decreasing the excessive brain activity that can lead to anxiety and panic disorders. GABA, an acronym for gamma-amino butyric acid, is a chemical that nerve cells use to link information to each other. Klonopin works by enhancing the effects of GABA. It can be used short term at a higher dosage to treat a panic/anxiety attack or at a lower dosage on a more frequent basis for those with daily excessive brain activity that leads to anxiety.

Klonopin used alone for OCD is not found to be an effective treatment. The first line of pharmaceutical treatment for OCD is a SSRI in addition to psychiatric treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When these two do not work satisfactorily, Klonopin for OCD sub-types may be introduced. Klonopin for OCD that has co-morbid panic disorder conditions is used at a high rate due to the benzodiazepine’s effectiveness for anxiety.


Anxiety Disorder-Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder


A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of clonazepamine -obsessive-compulsive disorder

World J Biol Psychiatry 2003 Jan;4(1):30-4


Psychiatr Serv 54:1111-1118, August 2003

© 2003 American Psychiatric Association

A Review of Pharmacologic Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Klonopin® TABLETS (clonazepam)


Does Klonopin treat OCD and depression as well as anxiety?