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!

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My thoughts on this @ansleigh, restrictions are soon coming on Benzos. I do not like the thoughts of being addicted to them, plus having to raise the dosage from time to time as your body adapts to them. I am going to try, I may not succeed, but I'll give it a whirl to see if I can let go

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@imabamagal– We are behind you & wish you much success! Jim @thankful

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@imabamagal

My thoughts on this @ansleigh, restrictions are soon coming on Benzos. I do not like the thoughts of being addicted to them, plus having to raise the dosage from time to time as your body adapts to them. I am going to try, I may not succeed, but I'll give it a whirl to see if I can let go

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Hi @imabamagal
I know we are all different and must do what we feel is best for us. In my case I have been on .5 mg. of clonazepam for a very long time. Have not been aware of any negative effects at all and have not felt any need to bump up the dose ever. I take it at night and get a good night's sleep. (I take it several hours before I go to bed).
Best wishes
Ainsleigh

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@thankful

@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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benzo "addictions" — although I hate that word — because it has some negative connotations in our society — are starting to get the media's attention…in part because the benzos are difficult to stop – but more so because they are contributing to ODs for people with opioid issues. We do live in a world of judgement – but I think the real reason to trying to get off them — or at least not take every day — is that you will likely build up a tolerance…even if it doesn't lead you to take more than prescribed. Think of it like the antibiotics — tolerance is not dissimilar from resistance — so if there were a change in your emotional situation — the physicians might have to prescribe a more powerful drug or dosage to help you cope in the future.

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I am about to start tapering off of Klonopin. I was been on benzos. for 30 years. The current dose I take is 1mg. 3 times a day. I take 1mg in the morning, 1mg. at lunchtime & 1mg. at 6pm. I have tried 3 times in the past at short term in-patient facilities and the withdrawal was so unbearable that I just could not do it. My doctor is going to start a "substitution taper" using Valium. The 1st taper will be from the 6pm dose & I will take .75mg. of Klonopin & add 15mg Valium to this dose. The 2nd taper will decrease am dose to .75mg of Klonopin & add 15mg. Valium to this dose. The 3rd taper will decrease lunchtime dose to .75mg. of Klonopin & add 15mg. Valium to that dose. I will be tapering off .25mg. every 3-weeks, so this is going to be a very slow taper. The taper schedule is called "The Ashton Taper," which has taper schedules for every benzo. out there. I know this is going to take me 18 months, but I know this is the ONLY way I will be able to do it. Has any one else tapered off Klonopin in this way?

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In regards to PCP's I do have to differ. I feel that they are more understanding when it comes to knowledge that you can't do any kind of rapid taper off benozos. Especially after being on them for over 25 years like I have.
I have been seeing the same psychiatrist for 25 years & every time in the past 10 years I have asked to be taken off the benzos, because they are not helping my anxiety, but making it worse he has either told me I have been on them to long to ever get off of them or that I would have to go in-patient. I have tried the "in-patient approach" 3-times in the last 10-years, The last time was in October 2015. They took me off 4mg. of Klonopin in less than 14-days & sent me home the day they gave me my last dose of 1mg. Within 2-days the withdrawal was so severe that I ended up having 16 gran mal seizures back-to-back & ended up in the hospital ICU for a week. The withdrawals were horrific. After leaving the hospital, I went back to my psychiatrist & he put me right back on them. I was able to taper myself down to 3mg. It took a year.
Supposedly the Ashton Taper is the best way to go and everything I have researched on it states that you have little to no withdrawal. It may take 1 /12 to 2 years, but the way I look at it is I have been on them for over 25 years, so what's the big deal of taking my time getting off of them so I won't have to suffer with the terrible withdrawal.
You should google "The Ashton Report" & on the 1st page you will see the section on "Tapering Schedules."

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@mel6415

In regards to PCP's I do have to differ. I feel that they are more understanding when it comes to knowledge that you can't do any kind of rapid taper off benozos. Especially after being on them for over 25 years like I have.
I have been seeing the same psychiatrist for 25 years & every time in the past 10 years I have asked to be taken off the benzos, because they are not helping my anxiety, but making it worse he has either told me I have been on them to long to ever get off of them or that I would have to go in-patient. I have tried the "in-patient approach" 3-times in the last 10-years, The last time was in October 2015. They took me off 4mg. of Klonopin in less than 14-days & sent me home the day they gave me my last dose of 1mg. Within 2-days the withdrawal was so severe that I ended up having 16 gran mal seizures back-to-back & ended up in the hospital ICU for a week. The withdrawals were horrific. After leaving the hospital, I went back to my psychiatrist & he put me right back on them. I was able to taper myself down to 3mg. It took a year.
Supposedly the Ashton Taper is the best way to go and everything I have researched on it states that you have little to no withdrawal. It may take 1 /12 to 2 years, but the way I look at it is I have been on them for over 25 years, so what's the big deal of taking my time getting off of them so I won't have to suffer with the terrible withdrawal.
You should google "The Ashton Report" & on the 1st page you will see the section on "Tapering Schedules."

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My guess is that knowledge varies from MD to MD….a lot depending on age, training, specializations and clinical beliefs. Your psychiatrist sounds very conservative — and that isn't bad. It strikes me that the Ashton taper is well known – at least among people on this thread. It is certainly worth trying. If you can go more quickly great…if it takes longer…that's fine, too. Keep working with all your doctors – I find it's good to email or VM to keep everyone in the loop – and good luck!

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@youngsally

benzo "addictions" — although I hate that word — because it has some negative connotations in our society — are starting to get the media's attention…in part because the benzos are difficult to stop – but more so because they are contributing to ODs for people with opioid issues. We do live in a world of judgement – but I think the real reason to trying to get off them — or at least not take every day — is that you will likely build up a tolerance…even if it doesn't lead you to take more than prescribed. Think of it like the antibiotics — tolerance is not dissimilar from resistance — so if there were a change in your emotional situation — the physicians might have to prescribe a more powerful drug or dosage to help you cope in the future.

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@youngsally– As I said in my earlier post I have been taking 1mg Klonopin or Clonazepam for over 20 years and for some reason without building up a tolerance. I started because of panic attacks that began robbing me of the many things that I took for granted doing on a regular basis. Whether it was driving on freeways or over bridges or flying to my favorite vacation spots, my panic attacks began to rule my life. After working with a Psychiatrist for about 6 months he introduced me to Klonopin and for me that changed everything! I love the fact that I am not aware I am on any drug and yet it seems to provide that edge that prevented me from doing the things I enjoyed. I started taking back my life one thing at a time. Even to this day there are still things that are still make me a bit uncomfortable, but as I am ready to take them on and suceed, it makes it that more easier and gives me the confidence to go for it! Often I will take a half a pill with me "just in case" but I seem to never need to take it. I think this helps again to reinforce for me I can do this. I do feel if I forget to take a pill in the morning that by early afternoon I am feeling a bit edgy like I had a double espresso, but once taking it within a 1/2 hr. I'm back to myself. I don't like that I "need" this little blue pill, but as I said in my earlier post "why fight what works for me"! Jim@thankful.

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Jim — my bad — so many messages — although I happen to like a little double espresso (actually a quad) but that is another story 🙂

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I am also trying to taper off of clonazepam. I have been taking 1mg a day for the past year and I am afraid of the side effects. I will begin after I have finished tapering the 50 mg of quetiapine xr. From what I have read this is a difficult drug to taper ,

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@linda66

I am also trying to taper off of clonazepam. I have been taking 1mg a day for the past year and I am afraid of the side effects. I will begin after I have finished tapering the 50 mg of quetiapine xr. From what I have read this is a difficult drug to taper ,

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Hi Linda, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

When did you start your tapering off? There is a lot of good information in this group but remember to be cautious and always follow advice from your physician on tapering off any medication.

Have you suffered any of the side effects yet?

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I have been on .5 mg of Klonopin for 5 years now. I want to taper off. I usually take it before bed each night, I didn't take it last night and I didn't really feel and symptoms until I got sweaty and kinda sick to my stomach tonight. Approximately 48 hours later. I was going to try taking one every other night for a few weeks and then a half of one every other night for a few weeks then try to go longer with it until eventually I dont take it anymore. Thoughts or suggestions? I am getting kinda scared after reading some of these posts.

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It's a not unreasonable goal – but you have to see how you feel…but note that some people can have potentially dangerous reactions/withdrawals even from a relatively small dose. If possible, I would at least make certain that your prescriber knows that you plan to taper off – so that they can be alert for any bad reactions.

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@youngsally

It's a not unreasonable goal – but you have to see how you feel…but note that some people can have potentially dangerous reactions/withdrawals even from a relatively small dose. If possible, I would at least make certain that your prescriber knows that you plan to taper off – so that they can be alert for any bad reactions.

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Thank you, I will discuss it with her at my next appointment.

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@jamienolson

Hi Linda, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

When did you start your tapering off? There is a lot of good information in this group but remember to be cautious and always follow advice from your physician on tapering off any medication.

Have you suffered any of the side effects yet?

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I started with a dosage of 200mg of quetiapine at night and 200xr during supper. I started tapering the nighttime medication at a rate of 50 mg every two weeks until I was completely tapered off this dosage . Then I stared tapering the quetiapine xr at a rate of 50 mg every two months. I am now only on 50 mg of quetiapine at supper. I also take 0.5 mg of clonazepam twice a day. I missed a few dosages of clonazepam a week ago and noticed difficulty sleeping at night. I also am having difficulty falling asleep and I am waking up earlier than I used to ( around 6: am ). I have had about 5 hours of sleep during the past two days instead of my regular 8 hours. Everything was going smoothly until I forgot taking the pills at night. I am following this tapering schedule from my psychiatrist.

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