Klonopin taper

Posted by dawgbone @dawgbone, Jul 31, 2017

I have been on some kind of benzo for almost 40 yrs. I am trying to taper from 1.5-2 mgs of klonopin daily . Began in mid may 2017 and my last cut was very small on 7-2-17 to get to 1mg. Honestly feels like i am dying. I also take trazodone 75 mgs and 4 drugs for high blood pressure. I have been researching gabapentin and seroquel to help with the withdrawal symptons. Please offer any suggestions or help. I am 69 yrs old and cant even leave my house to visit my kids and grands. Thank you for any help!

Liked by Parus, Leonard, clutch, Ellen

@hopeful33250

Hello @imabamagal and welcome to Mayo Connect

I appreciate that you shared your story with us. It does sound like you have a lot on your plate right now with many responsibilities. I can certainly understand that you need to sleep well at night in order to keep up with your busy schedule.

Trazodone is an antidepressant medicine (non addictive) and is primarily prescribed for sleep issues. Here is an article about it from Everyday Health website,

https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/trazodone. If you click on the link you can learn more about Trazodone.

Here is a link to another article from the National Institute of Health regarding Trazodone,
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0012504/
Many of our Members on Connect have used it for sleep and have also used it when coming off addictive meds.

Have you ever had a sleep study done to determine if you might have another problem contributing to insomnia?

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Teresa, I have a generalized anxiety disorder that runs in my family. The bi-polar and mood disorders are in my husband's family. All my siblings are on some kind of Benzo for it, even my 88 year old dad that still works his farm. But none of us have an addictive nature, we have never took more than our recommended dosage. But I am nervous about the new regulations on benzos and I really do not crave it, I just know if I do not take it, all hell is going to break loose. I have the panic attacks, my heart races so hard, I can feel it in the top of my head and I have been know to hyperventilate if it is a bad episode. I just wish I had never been put on it, I was unaware of what it was doing to me.

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@youngsally

I'm a tapering off Effexor and klonopin kinda gal right now….so I can only tell you what has been suggested to me…but not tried. I'm not aware of any true anti-anxiety drugs that work better than a good ol benzo…or bad ol benzo. Valium has a longer half-life than klonopin (which is why it is sometimes used to help people who are having problems getting off klonopin)…but it is still a controlled substance like klonopin. Your MD might be able to write a prescription for a different dosage of klonopin if the problem is getting it filled without looking like you are med-seeking and getting caught up in the FDA compliance web; however, if the MD isn't willing to write the scrip, then they might be uncomfortable with how much you are taking — but it is worth an ask.

In my case, we are considering both Wellbutrin and Trazodone if I need something once I've tapered off. Trazodone will help you sleep but I don't know how it affects anxiety. Wellbutrin has a reasonable reputation as an antidepressant with some anti-anxiety effects. But as I'm sure you know – every person reacts differently.

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YoungSally, I have tried so hard all these years to stay away from anti-depressants. I have seen my daughter on many. Unfortunately, I did not mention, I have to dispense all her meds to her and keep them locked up as she will not take them correctly. That is another thing in my plate that I would rather not have to do. I am not sure if I want to take them, I'm not a fan and I am aware that Trazadone is a type of antidepressant, so I am on the fence on that.

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@imabamagal

Teresa, I have a generalized anxiety disorder that runs in my family. The bi-polar and mood disorders are in my husband's family. All my siblings are on some kind of Benzo for it, even my 88 year old dad that still works his farm. But none of us have an addictive nature, we have never took more than our recommended dosage. But I am nervous about the new regulations on benzos and I really do not crave it, I just know if I do not take it, all hell is going to break loose. I have the panic attacks, my heart races so hard, I can feel it in the top of my head and I have been know to hyperventilate if it is a bad episode. I just wish I had never been put on it, I was unaware of what it was doing to me.

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@imabamagal

I understand, just a little, where you are coming from. I have an elderly relative who like you has had a generalized anxiety disorder all of her adult life. Well, at age 90, two years ago, her PCP decided to take her off the benzo that she had been taking for many, many years. It resulted in a real meltdown for her and I had her hospitalized in order to get her meds in order. She was prescribed a small dose of Remeron and Risperdal, just at bedtime. The psychiatrist also allowed her just a smidgen of a benzo that she could take at night if the other two were not helping her sleep.

Have you considered consulting with a psychiatrist regarding the change in meds from the benzos to a different type of med? A good psychiatrist (who is well-versed in meds for anxiety disorders) might be able to help you more than a PCP.

If you are comfortable doing so, please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

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@youngsally

I'm a tapering off Effexor and klonopin kinda gal right now….so I can only tell you what has been suggested to me…but not tried. I'm not aware of any true anti-anxiety drugs that work better than a good ol benzo…or bad ol benzo. Valium has a longer half-life than klonopin (which is why it is sometimes used to help people who are having problems getting off klonopin)…but it is still a controlled substance like klonopin. Your MD might be able to write a prescription for a different dosage of klonopin if the problem is getting it filled without looking like you are med-seeking and getting caught up in the FDA compliance web; however, if the MD isn't willing to write the scrip, then they might be uncomfortable with how much you are taking — but it is worth an ask.

In my case, we are considering both Wellbutrin and Trazodone if I need something once I've tapered off. Trazodone will help you sleep but I don't know how it affects anxiety. Wellbutrin has a reasonable reputation as an antidepressant with some anti-anxiety effects. But as I'm sure you know – every person reacts differently.

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Yikes, your situation sounds incredibly challenging! I hate to mention the dreaded word “Effexor” but that medication has worked really well for anxiety for me. Lexapro is another anti-depressent that has good data as an anti anxiety med. Also Buspar can provide relief for people. There are also meds called alpha and beta blockers… run these by your doc and see what he or she says. From a lifestyle perspective I found that exercise and meditation can also work well.

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@imabamagal

YoungSally, I have tried so hard all these years to stay away from anti-depressants. I have seen my daughter on many. Unfortunately, I did not mention, I have to dispense all her meds to her and keep them locked up as she will not take them correctly. That is another thing in my plate that I would rather not have to do. I am not sure if I want to take them, I'm not a fan and I am aware that Trazadone is a type of antidepressant, so I am on the fence on that.

Jump to this post

Sounds like you definitely have a lot on your plate…and it's unfortunate that you can't trust your daughter around certain types of medications…when one sees that, whether as an adult or kid, it can certainly make you want to stay away or at least be leery.

It took me awhile to get used to taking an antidepressant….but after 20 years…my therapist thinks that I'm not getting (and may not need) their support any longer. I tend to agree with her…especially since I'm down to 37.5mg of Effexor from 150mg in early August, largely without any issues.

Today was probably my worst day – terrible headache, nausea, dizziness– and I've been on my current dose for 10 days or so. I don't know if it is allergies, that I couldn't sleep at ALL last night (slept about 90 mins before I had to take the train to a meeting at 1:30)…or if it was the heat in NYC today….but I finally had a day where I wanted to just hit myself with a hammer and sleep it off. A/C helped cool me down and I was fine having a detailed financial discussion with a CFO…so I'm happy I wasn't a cognitive mess….I just hope today was an aberration and not the start of the hard part of the taper. But I see the psychiatrist for a follow-up tomorrow and my therapist on Friday….so I'll certainly have a lot of feedback and insight – particularly from my therapist who has been away for a month so it will be our first in person session since I started on the taper.

Liked by imabamagal

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@hopeful33250

@imabamagal

I understand, just a little, where you are coming from. I have an elderly relative who like you has had a generalized anxiety disorder all of her adult life. Well, at age 90, two years ago, her PCP decided to take her off the benzo that she had been taking for many, many years. It resulted in a real meltdown for her and I had her hospitalized in order to get her meds in order. She was prescribed a small dose of Remeron and Risperdal, just at bedtime. The psychiatrist also allowed her just a smidgen of a benzo that she could take at night if the other two were not helping her sleep.

Have you considered consulting with a psychiatrist regarding the change in meds from the benzos to a different type of med? A good psychiatrist (who is well-versed in meds for anxiety disorders) might be able to help you more than a PCP.

If you are comfortable doing so, please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

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I second that. PCPs are not always well-versed in the latest clinical nuances of psychoactive medications…if you have a complicated regimen – it makes total sense to at least have someone else weigh in. My GP works with my therapist – so together they had enough knowledge to keep my fairly simple regimen on track..and I don't have any other chronic medical/medication issues. but they also knew when to call in a psychiatrist/psychopharm for more knowledgeable help.

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@youngsally

Sounds like you definitely have a lot on your plate…and it's unfortunate that you can't trust your daughter around certain types of medications…when one sees that, whether as an adult or kid, it can certainly make you want to stay away or at least be leery.

It took me awhile to get used to taking an antidepressant….but after 20 years…my therapist thinks that I'm not getting (and may not need) their support any longer. I tend to agree with her…especially since I'm down to 37.5mg of Effexor from 150mg in early August, largely without any issues.

Today was probably my worst day – terrible headache, nausea, dizziness– and I've been on my current dose for 10 days or so. I don't know if it is allergies, that I couldn't sleep at ALL last night (slept about 90 mins before I had to take the train to a meeting at 1:30)…or if it was the heat in NYC today….but I finally had a day where I wanted to just hit myself with a hammer and sleep it off. A/C helped cool me down and I was fine having a detailed financial discussion with a CFO…so I'm happy I wasn't a cognitive mess….I just hope today was an aberration and not the start of the hard part of the taper. But I see the psychiatrist for a follow-up tomorrow and my therapist on Friday….so I'll certainly have a lot of feedback and insight – particularly from my therapist who has been away for a month so it will be our first in person session since I started on the taper.

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My doctor's regiment was this. I am starting with 1/3 tablet of Buspar twice a day, staying on .50 mg right now of Klonpin and 50 mg of trazadone at night. I slept pretty good last night, but he is going to taper down the doses of Klonpin as he raises the dosage of Buspar. He told me it would take about 3 weeks for the buspar to get in my system, so this is what I have for the next 3 weeks and then we will see where it goes from there.

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@imabamagal

My doctor's regiment was this. I am starting with 1/3 tablet of Buspar twice a day, staying on .50 mg right now of Klonpin and 50 mg of trazadone at night. I slept pretty good last night, but he is going to taper down the doses of Klonpin as he raises the dosage of Buspar. He told me it would take about 3 weeks for the buspar to get in my system, so this is what I have for the next 3 weeks and then we will see where it goes from there.

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@imabamagal
This sounds like a good plan! If you are comfortable doing so, please keep in touch and update as to how you are doing with this plan.

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I will, I have the determination to get off the benzos. I have seen this doctor for over 30 years. He knows all about my struggles, so he will help me.

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@imabamagal

YoungSally, I have tried so hard all these years to stay away from anti-depressants. I have seen my daughter on many. Unfortunately, I did not mention, I have to dispense all her meds to her and keep them locked up as she will not take them correctly. That is another thing in my plate that I would rather not have to do. I am not sure if I want to take them, I'm not a fan and I am aware that Trazadone is a type of antidepressant, so I am on the fence on that.

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Hello @imabamagal

Since you were "on the fence" about taking antidepressants I thought you might find this post interesting. It was written by a pharmacist at Mayo Clinic:

"The goal to be “addiction-free” is admirable! I commend your motivation to improve.
Taking antidepressants for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) shouldn’t be considered “addictions.” Antidepressants aren’t addictive, but missing doses or stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal-like symptoms including sudden worsening of depression. MDD and GAD are often chronic diseases that can require lifelong treatment. Sometimes people feel so much better with treatment they think they don’t need treatment any more. Your clinician can help you try to taper off safely. Communication with your healthcare provider is important in providing a personalized taper and options for resuming therapy, if needed.
Extra care should be taken regarding tapering from clonazepam. It will be important for you to get tapering instructions from your psychiatrist. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like clonazepam can be serious and may include tremors, anxiety, sweating, psychosis and seizures. The onset and severity of withdrawal depends on the which drug was used, for how long and other patient specific factors. If needed, you could ask about less addictive anti-anxiety medications."

@imabamagal, Will you let me know if this information is helpful to you?

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@imabamagal

I will, I have the determination to get off the benzos. I have seen this doctor for over 30 years. He knows all about my struggles, so he will help me.

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@imabamagal
Good to know! Having a long history with a doctor is wonderful.

Liked by imabamagal

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@hopeful33250

Hello @imabamagal

Since you were "on the fence" about taking antidepressants I thought you might find this post interesting. It was written by a pharmacist at Mayo Clinic:

"The goal to be “addiction-free” is admirable! I commend your motivation to improve.
Taking antidepressants for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) shouldn’t be considered “addictions.” Antidepressants aren’t addictive, but missing doses or stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal-like symptoms including sudden worsening of depression. MDD and GAD are often chronic diseases that can require lifelong treatment. Sometimes people feel so much better with treatment they think they don’t need treatment any more. Your clinician can help you try to taper off safely. Communication with your healthcare provider is important in providing a personalized taper and options for resuming therapy, if needed.
Extra care should be taken regarding tapering from clonazepam. It will be important for you to get tapering instructions from your psychiatrist. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like clonazepam can be serious and may include tremors, anxiety, sweating, psychosis and seizures. The onset and severity of withdrawal depends on the which drug was used, for how long and other patient specific factors. If needed, you could ask about less addictive anti-anxiety medications."

@imabamagal, Will you let me know if this information is helpful to you?

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This was very helpful. I think I am headed in the right direction, we will see how it goes. This morning I do not have any anxiety and I am down .25 on my Klonpin. I think the next step once the buspar kicks in, is to lower to.25 on the Klonpin and take 1/2 tablet on the buspar. What I understand the buspar will be continually raised. I think the highest dose is 60 mg, but he did not feel like I would need that much. Also, I started with 25 mg on the trazadone and it will be raised to 50 mg

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@lisalucier

Hi @amberpep. I can hear the concern in your voice. I’m sorry you are worried about Klonopin (clonazepam) and what might happen if you start tapering off of it. We understand some of these medications can be challenging to stop taking.

It’s important to know you are not alone. I’m tagging @jimhd, @janetdh , @hazelblumberg, and @lauren123 , who have experience with clonazepam, as well as some other members who have participated in our Mental Health Group here on Connect, @johnjames, @predictable, @blindeyepug, @gailb, and @contentandwell, in hopes they may be able to provide some support. We are here for you and want to discuss anything that is worrying you.

You mentioned sometimes you think it would just be better if you were dead. Please know we are very glad you are here and for your participation in this community. If at any point you start to feel like you may consider hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. Your safety is the most important thing to us.

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@lisalucier – Hi there Lisa and friends of Connect. I just noticed this topic and wanted to weigh in on my experience with Klonopin or Clonazepam. I started with Klonopin probably over 20 years back and moved to Clonazepam the generic when it became available. It was perscribed for me by a Psychiatrist for panic attacks. I have taken 1.0mg this entire time and it has done the job for the most part. I am still somewhat reluctant to drive accross tall bridges and would prefer to stay off freeways, but I am doing this again as long as my wife is riding with me. There was a period of time when I could not fly (not literally, ha ha) and I have been now able to fly which is wonderful!
Over all these years it often comes up from my Dr. about where am I at with this drug and have been given several options, but I have typically said "why change when something works"? Occasionaly I forget to take my little blue pill and if I go all day I am very spacie. I hate that I feel so addicted to it and would prefer that not be the case, but as I said why change what works.
More recently I have been giving it more thought and have had that conversation with my Dr. and he said he would put together a plan to do this if I want and I guess I need to take the next step. We will see where this goes. I will keep you posted if I do and I wanted to tell everyone I appreciate each of you and your transparency on this topic. Jim @thankful

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Hi Jim- My thought would be if it ain't broke why fix it. Panic Attacks are no fun!
Best wishes
Ainsleigh

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@ainsleigh– I agree! Thank you! Jim @thankful

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