Clobazam

Clobazam is used to treat epilepsy. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Clobazam is also called Frisium.

What is clobazam?

Clobazam is used to treat epilepsy by preventing seizures. It is called an anti-seizure medication. Clobazam works by controlling the neurotransmitters (chemicals) in the brain. It also relaxes muscles that stiffen (contract) during a seizure. This means that the numbers of seizures are reduced, and those that do occur, are less severe. Read more about anti-seizure medication.

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand, clobazam is available as tablets (10mg).

  • The dose of clobazam will be different for different people, depending on your response to the medication.
  • Your doctor will start you on a low dose and increase your dose slowly over a few weeks.
  • Always take your clobazam exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take clobazam

  • Timing: Clobazam is usually taken once a day at bedtime. As your dose increases you may be asked to take it divided into 2 smaller doses. Try to take it at the same time(s) each day, as this will help you to remember to take your doses regularly.
  • Food and drink: Swallow your tablet(s) with a drink of water. You can take clobazam with or without food.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember if it is within 4 hours of when your dose was due. But if more than 4 hours have passed since when the dose was due, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take extra doses to make up for a forgotten dose. If you are not sure what to do, ask your healthcare provider.
  • Keep taking clobazam every day:  See tips to help you remember to take your medicines regularly.  It may take a few weeks before you notice the full benefits of clobazam. Do not stop taking clobazam suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Things to consider while you are taking clobazam

  • Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking clobazam. Alcohol can increase your chance of side effects such as drowsiness.
  • Tell all your healthcare providers that you are taking clobazam. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that need you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Clobazam can interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking including over the counter medicines, herbal and complementary medicines or recreational drugs. 
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, clobazam can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects go away once your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy or tired
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded 
  • This is quite common when you start clobazam.
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • These effects put you at risk of falls, and injuries especially if you are elderly. Tell your doctor if you are concerned.
  • Do not drink alcohol – it makes these effects worse.
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • This is quite common when you first start taking clobazam.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • Mood changes, agitation, unusual behaviour or thinking, loss of
    coordination, confusion, memory loss, trouble concentrating, trouble
    speaking.
  • Tell your doctor.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

The following links have more information on clobazam.

Clobazam New Zealand Formulary, Patient Information (adults)
Clobazam New Zealand Formulary, Patient Information (children)
Frisium Medsafe Consumer Information, NZ

References

  1. Clobazam NZ Formulary, NZ
Credits: Health Navigator Pharmacists. Reviewed By: Maya Patel, MPharm PGDipClinPharm, Auckland Last reviewed: 29 Jun 2022