Tapering off clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril)

Posted by mmussak @mmussak, Dec 19, 2018

Hi my name is Mary and I am a first time user of ever using a discussion blog online but have felt in my heart I need some advice and help with an issue I am having. My dr I have seen for many years moved out of state and referred me to another phychiatrist within his office. At the time of his moving away he had me weaning off clorazapam slowly and doing it as slow to not make it not so difficult as you all know , and I was doing well at it until I was having extreme chest pain and they put me in the hospital for 2 days to check to make sure it wasn’t my heart, with all this happening I knew it was the weaning off the meds that was causing it so i went back up in dosage and it all went away again, and I was almost off it…My old dr started me on this med 27 years ago and I had no idea what it was but my body anxiety was shutting down my body and it helped it all go away so i didnt question it, well not until I went to school for nursing did I find out what it was all about. He put me on .5 mg three times a day and that stayed that way for 27 years not knowing what It does later in years, so I asked my dr to help me with the weaning off it, so our weaning process was as follows: Take .5 in a.m. ,25 afternoon and ,5 evening dose for 2 weeks then cut morning dose to .25 afternoon to .25 and evening .5 for 2 weeks then finally .25 three times a day for 6 weeks and then starting the last of the wean at this point the same as we did the first .25 till i was off. My new dr went from .50 3 times daily to .25 two times a day starting right away to get off it, that is over 1.0 mg a day off it all in one day and forward , I am already sad and crying because I dont know what to do, I have been there and I know how hard it was just to get off the way my old dr did slowly…..anyone out there that can help me with what to do I am so scared and I don’t think she knows how extremely hard it is to get off this stupid stuff or that I really do want to do it, but please make it as painless as possible if there is such a thing with these meds. At 56 I didnt think I would have to go through menapause and this hell(sorry about the word but so true) all at once…at times I think it would be easier to just get cancer or something and die. Sorry but its true if you have been there you will understand. PLease help me!!!

@gettingbetter75

Before discovering the wonders of CBD, tapering from Benzos have been difficult, to say the least. I've experienced almost all of the classical symptoms with the brief exception of nausea. CBD has helped alleviate, irritability, headaches, muscle pain and stiffness let alone the anxiety for which I was taking clonazepam. I was taking 3mg – 4mg at my peak and I'm now down to 0.75mg. I've been taking these drugs since my early 20's and I'm now in my early 40's. For whatever reason, I simply came across some online resources which were spelling out the benefits of quitting these drugs, mostly feeling ALIVE again and not in a constant state of drowsiness and emotional blunting. You don't know how deeply these drugs affect you until you get off of them. I'm also aware that I still have a substantial journey ahead of me but this is an amazing beginning.

I just started the most recent taper (1mg to 0.75mg) 5 days ago and I'm feeling OK. I do have a bit of trouble sleeping, especially after waking in the middle of the night. I should also add that I quit sleeping aids at this time also (Unisom specifically, 5 days ago). Through help from this forum (thanks @annfsd), I've switched Unisom for melatonin. It knocks me out at night but as I mentioned, I'm working through falling back asleep after waking in the middle of the night. The fact that I've been able to maintain such a low dose of clonazepam (for me) along with complete elimination of Unisom is nothing short of remarkable for me and I'm quite proud of that. I've gone from 3mg to 1.5mg without CBD and it was extremely difficult with a very high level of irritability and insomnia. This most recent taper from 1.5mg to 0.75mg (in 0.25mg increments) was done with the help of CBD and there is a tangible difference.

CBD (tinctures/oil, caps and or dry flower (High CBD, negligible THC)) has helped tremendously to help deal Benzodiazepine withdrawal. If I'm having a particularly difficult day, I will use one of the above delivery methods depending on my environment. For example, if I'm at home, I will vape it as it's the quickest delivery method (seconds). If I'm traveling, I will use either the tincture or gelcap. I should also add that I live in Canada so I have access to regulated CBD flower, oils, and gel caps, although at a steep price. For those us actively trying to taper from these difficult drugs, I think we can all agree that it's difficult to put a price on alleviating withdrawal symptoms.

Hope this helps and please note this is my experience only.

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Thank you for your post. I’m new here. I’m on .75mg of klonopin for 10 years and looking to start tapering after a month long of withdrawals from a bad batch from pharmacy. I was originally prescribed it for insomnia and am now seeing what a horrible drug it is. Would you mind telling me the dose of cbd you use and is it straight cbd? Does it help with insomnia? That’s my biggest fear of starting the tapering. I appreciate any help.

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@amy10

Thank you for your post. I’m new here. I’m on .75mg of klonopin for 10 years and looking to start tapering after a month long of withdrawals from a bad batch from pharmacy. I was originally prescribed it for insomnia and am now seeing what a horrible drug it is. Would you mind telling me the dose of cbd you use and is it straight cbd? Does it help with insomnia? That’s my biggest fear of starting the tapering. I appreciate any help.

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Hi, @amy10 – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm sorry to hear you were having trouble from a bad batch of clonazepam (Klonopin). How were you able to figure out there was a problem with the medication? What kinds of symptoms were you experiencing?

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CBD helped me immensely with withdrawal symptoms while tapering off Klonopin. It also helped with anxiety. I'm a medical patient in Canada so I have access to medical-grade CBD from the major LPs however, I will warn you, it's not cheap at $90 for 40ml but worth it to help temper those withdrawal symptoms. It helped a lot on this difficult journey to get completely off Clonazepam and I would recommend it. My journey started on Dec 18' and was finally off by father's day. And no, it was not planned that was just the way the taper timing eventually worked itself out with the taper schedule. I was taking 2.0mg every night for reference. Now I'm working through insomnia problems. Always something…

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@gettingbetter75

CBD helped me immensely with withdrawal symptoms while tapering off Klonopin. It also helped with anxiety. I'm a medical patient in Canada so I have access to medical-grade CBD from the major LPs however, I will warn you, it's not cheap at $90 for 40ml but worth it to help temper those withdrawal symptoms. It helped a lot on this difficult journey to get completely off Clonazepam and I would recommend it. My journey started on Dec 18' and was finally off by father's day. And no, it was not planned that was just the way the taper timing eventually worked itself out with the taper schedule. I was taking 2.0mg every night for reference. Now I'm working through insomnia problems. Always something…

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I was thinking of looking into cbd

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@gettingbetter75

CBD helped me immensely with withdrawal symptoms while tapering off Klonopin. It also helped with anxiety. I'm a medical patient in Canada so I have access to medical-grade CBD from the major LPs however, I will warn you, it's not cheap at $90 for 40ml but worth it to help temper those withdrawal symptoms. It helped a lot on this difficult journey to get completely off Clonazepam and I would recommend it. My journey started on Dec 18' and was finally off by father's day. And no, it was not planned that was just the way the taper timing eventually worked itself out with the taper schedule. I was taking 2.0mg every night for reference. Now I'm working through insomnia problems. Always something…

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Hi, @gettingbetter75 – just wanted to suggest, given your mention of sleep problems, that you might look at this Connect discussion on insomnia https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/josephene-i-am-having-terrible-insomnia-as-well-nothing-seems-to-help

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@merpreb

@elwooodsdad– Have you talked to your doctor about switching up medicines? Maybe adding another anti-depressant? I take both Zoloft and Welbutrin. Welbutrin took me from the edge to enjoying life, most of the time.

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What makes any of you think the SSRI Medications are safer than benzodiazepines? This has been a false impression created by drug companies an perpetrated by physicians who believe frug companies. Pick your poison. Many take Benzos for years with no problem. Just try coming off an SSRI after years of use. And two together??? Just asking for serotonin syndrome

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@annfsd

Hello,
I use the elixinol brand, 3600 bottle in tincture. That is a 120ml (4oz) bottle, that I order directly from the company. I use about 1.5 bottles per month. I pay 224.00 per bottle including a10% discount for being a repeat customer. Free shipping in the US, not sure about Canada tho. I know they do ship to Canada tho.
Here is the dosage I take:
10am- 30 mg CBD
2pm- 30mg CBD
8pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm – 10mg Naturol extended release melatonin.
If I wake up during the night, I take 15-30mg CBD and drop back into sleep.
I have found that sticking to a consistent dosing schedule works best for me and if I’m having an anxiety issue I dose a .5ml extra at that time, that generally doesn’t happen as I avoid any stress I can. Btw the melatonin helps greatly at night and I use a melatonin tincture 3mg at bedtime as well. So a total of 13mg melatonin at bedtime. I am not using any other meds for sleep and refuse to take any other psychotropic meds other than the Klonopin & CBD.
I would be very careful with valerian root, Passion flower, etc. They act the same as benzodiazepines so yes you will sleep but those supplements will not help you upregulate your GABA receptors. Do some deep research on any supplement you take. I have gotten myself into real trouble with them…
Best,
Ann

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WOW! THATS A LOT OF CBD!!

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@jimlindac

Hi, Jim is right. Living your best life is the goal of any treatment. If you read the studies done on benzos and dementia you will find that at this time, they don't have any concrete evidence that they cause dementia. There is no direct link because there is a missing piece about the question of whether people started on the benzos later in life because they were already in the beginning stages of dementia. For example, ten years ago my mom started having anxiety issues at age 73. Her doctor put her on xanax .25 3 times a day. This is a very low dose and she usually only took it twice a day. In hindsight, the anxiety was being caused by the onset of dementia/alzheimers and the xanax was added to combat those symptoms. At age 73, the xanax did not cause the dementia. The studies they are currently referring too are having the same difficulty…what came first the chicken or the egg? In the future, they may prove that there is a connection to some of these medications ie: benzos, statins, beta blockers, but for now there is a lot of speculation. I hope you ultimately live your best life in this moment. I have been taking Klonopin for about 15 years 1 mg at bedtime. It has really helped and I too have occasionally tried a slow wean thinking that being off of them is better for me. I always end up back on my 1 mg and am comfortable there, no side effect and no panic attacks at night.

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Amen! No conclusive evidence at all. Just a drug company ploy

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@rosebookay

What makes any of you think the SSRI Medications are safer than benzodiazepines? This has been a false impression created by drug companies an perpetrated by physicians who believe frug companies. Pick your poison. Many take Benzos for years with no problem. Just try coming off an SSRI after years of use. And two together??? Just asking for serotonin syndrome

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New to this group, and hope it is at least supportive. I am back at Mayo this week for lung cancer follow up, CT on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the hell of withdrawal from Clonazepam, (started August 2016) and then my psychiatrist totally dropping my sertaline this summer is wreaking havoc on my body, emotional state and my brain. I so need another human being to connect with as it seems VA and other providers just don't want to admit that it can cause so many problems. Knowing how much stress affects everything I am seriously worried about my cancer. Will someone at Mayo at least consult on this issue???

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@meka

New to this group, and hope it is at least supportive. I am back at Mayo this week for lung cancer follow up, CT on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the hell of withdrawal from Clonazepam, (started August 2016) and then my psychiatrist totally dropping my sertaline this summer is wreaking havoc on my body, emotional state and my brain. I so need another human being to connect with as it seems VA and other providers just don't want to admit that it can cause so many problems. Knowing how much stress affects everything I am seriously worried about my cancer. Will someone at Mayo at least consult on this issue???

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I have tapered off of klonazepam safely, with a doctor's guidance. I am still taking sertraline. Did your doctor say why they were taking you off of Sertraline? I have taken antidepressants for over 20 years with no known problems from doing so. I am sorry that you are having so many problems. We certainly try to be supportive. We are not Mayo employee, but people who love to help people with problems similar to what you have.
If your doctor will not give a reason for cutting you off of Sertraline, I would ask about seeing another doctor. Please let us know how you are doing and how the cancer treatments are working.

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@meka

New to this group, and hope it is at least supportive. I am back at Mayo this week for lung cancer follow up, CT on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the hell of withdrawal from Clonazepam, (started August 2016) and then my psychiatrist totally dropping my sertaline this summer is wreaking havoc on my body, emotional state and my brain. I so need another human being to connect with as it seems VA and other providers just don't want to admit that it can cause so many problems. Knowing how much stress affects everything I am seriously worried about my cancer. Will someone at Mayo at least consult on this issue???

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Hi @meka, good to hear from you. Our paths usually cross in the Lung Cancer group, but I noticed your message here. May I ask why your psychiatrist has recommended tapering off your medications? I also encourage you to tell your cancer care team at Mayo about your emotional state and the current medication tapering that you're doing. Your health is as much about your mind as your body. Please tell them and let us know how it goes. Will you be seeing your oncologist this week?

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@rosebookay

What makes any of you think the SSRI Medications are safer than benzodiazepines? This has been a false impression created by drug companies an perpetrated by physicians who believe frug companies. Pick your poison. Many take Benzos for years with no problem. Just try coming off an SSRI after years of use. And two together??? Just asking for serotonin syndrome

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Hi, @rosebookay – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm wondering if you have had previous experience tapering off clonazepam or are tapering currently? If so, will you share more about how this went/has gone for you?

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