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!

@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 ­čÖé

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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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@linda66

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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Hi, @linda66 – that is wise that you got this tapering schedule from your psychiatrist and that you are trying to taper off the clonazepam and the quetiapine one at a time.

Hoping members discussing clonazepam here, like @mel6415 @thankful @beatester @imabamagal @gman007 and others may have some insights for you as you navigate the tapering process with both medications.

Wondering if your psychiatrist is planning to put you on different medications after these tapers or move to another type of treatment?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @linda66 – that is wise that you got this tapering schedule from your psychiatrist and that you are trying to taper off the clonazepam and the quetiapine one at a time.

Hoping members discussing clonazepam here, like @mel6415 @thankful @beatester @imabamagal @gman007 and others may have some insights for you as you navigate the tapering process with both medications.

Wondering if your psychiatrist is planning to put you on different medications after these tapers or move to another type of treatment?

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I will only start tapering the clonazepam once I finish the quetiapine taper. I probably will start next year depending on how this quetiapine taper goes. Actually this is the third medication that I have tapered since November 2017 after I came out of the hospital in October. It is a long story , but I went there since I was unable to sleep which was caused by severe back pain. Instead they put me on several different medications and didn't treat the pain. ( trazadone 50 mg, quetiapine 200mg, quetiapine xr 200mg , clonazepam 1mg and tramazapam. As well as baclofen and naproxen. They even suggested that I try ECT to treat my depression and misdiagnosed me with manic depression. During this time the doctors continued to increase the dosages to the point that it will take me at least two years to completely taper off these medications. As well they never discussed any of the negative side effects of these drugs with me before they increased the medications.

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@linda66

I will only start tapering the clonazepam once I finish the quetiapine taper. I probably will start next year depending on how this quetiapine taper goes. Actually this is the third medication that I have tapered since November 2017 after I came out of the hospital in October. It is a long story , but I went there since I was unable to sleep which was caused by severe back pain. Instead they put me on several different medications and didn't treat the pain. ( trazadone 50 mg, quetiapine 200mg, quetiapine xr 200mg , clonazepam 1mg and tramazapam. As well as baclofen and naproxen. They even suggested that I try ECT to treat my depression and misdiagnosed me with manic depression. During this time the doctors continued to increase the dosages to the point that it will take me at least two years to completely taper off these medications. As well they never discussed any of the negative side effects of these drugs with me before they increased the medications.

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Wow! Sounds like you are a very strong person to be able to have tapered off what you have so far. Regardless of the medicine it seems like getting off of them is so hard. In regards to the clonazepam – I am currently taking 3mg. & this is the lowest dose I have ever been on for the 25+years I have been on benzos. I have tried to get off of them 3 times in the past 10 years to go in-patient & taper down. They tapered me down WAY TOO FAST every time – 7-14 days total. The last time was in 2015 & I was on 5mg. of clonazepam & went in-patient and they took me off in less than 14-days. DON'T DO IT THIS FAST! I know you are only on 1mg., but you need benzo. withdrawal is the absolute worst & can cause mental psychosis.
Google "The Ashton Taper" & look at the taper schedule for clonazepam. This is a "substitute taper" where valium is used to taper down the dose. Or do a "gradual taper" by .125mg. every 2-3 weeks, stop 1-week, then continue.
I am about to start a taper & my psychiatrist and I TOGETHER decided that I am going to taper .125mg. every 3-weeks, then go 1-week with no changes, then continue. It is going to take me about a year & a half to get off of them completely. This is completely fine with me, because considering I have been on them for over 25+ years & have been through the 3 "fast-tapers" that resulted in horrible withdrawal I would not do it any other way!
Wishing you the best of luck!

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