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!!!

@annfsd

Hi Mary,
First, my guess is your nausea is from your cut, not menopause. .25mg is a big cut. I can only cut .0625mg per month on a good month which is 1/4 of what you cut. But if you can stand it then your the bomb. Personally I could not and I’d probably be in the ER. I have never made a cut that big. I am 54 and have been thru menopause and it never made me nauseous, just hot!
Yes, you need yur dr to write the script for a liquid suspension. You then consult with a compounding pharmacist about what you r trying to with tapering. They often want to understand your history with the drug. So for me transitioning to the liquid made me a bit nauseous for 2-3 days. The idea behind liquid taper is micro cuts made over many days to lessen the withdrawal side affects. My nausea is less severe with tiny cuts. Google liquid benzo taper, there are several ways to do it.
In my case bc I am super sensitive to all changes, I only convert the .0625 I’m trying to cut to the suspension. So say my total morning dose is .1875mg, .0625mg of it is liquid that I measure out in a syringe, .125mg of my total dose is a quarter of a pill. Gradually over a month I try to reduce the .0625mg part by small cuts and eliminate it.
I would love to be able to convert all to suspension but it will be a process for me to do so.
I have a prescription for 4mg zofram dissolving tablets for nausea. I cut them into quarters bc taking a whole one gives me a headache and a stomachache. I’m rediculously sensitive to everything. But 1/4 helps enough to get me thru it.
What I did was call around and ask the compounding pharmacists if they have worked with patients trying to taper off benzodiazepines and asked for their advice and any helpful input they had. Then I went to my dr and told him who I had talked to and what their advice was. My dr was clueless he’d never had a patient do a liquid taper! He wrote the script but he was just clueless. I watched some utube videos with him so he could understand it. My psychiatrist has had patients do it that way and she now writes my scripts for the suspension. Do some internet research and you will get the gist of it. There are several ways to liquid taper. I just measure out the dose minus the small cut in the syringe, then
I mix it in a glass drinking glass with cold water and drink it. Then add water to the empty glass, swish it around and drink that too. That way I get all of the dose.

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Ann….thank you so much j for taking the time to e plain it all to me…trust me .25 was not my choice it was my drs …but then she doesnt think of what happens she just wants me off…I am going to start micro tapering on Monday with my next .25 and take 1 ml a day out of liquid and see how it goes…hopefully its easier then just cutting out the whole .25 way once…I did research on computer after you talked about it and sounds so much easier if there is such a thing…do I will take 1/4 of .25 and put in water solution and take other 1/4 pill and eliminate 1 ml day one….2 ml day 2 and so forth…I hope I have that right….you are such a help In this blog and hope more people read your information to help them…..Pray for me all for this is my second attempt….first one failed when I got down to .125 three times a day…so back to starting over at .50 3 times a day….love to all that have taken the time to help me@! 💖💖

Liked by thankful

@mmussak

Ann….thank you so much j for taking the time to e plain it all to me…trust me .25 was not my choice it was my drs …but then she doesnt think of what happens she just wants me off…I am going to start micro tapering on Monday with my next .25 and take 1 ml a day out of liquid and see how it goes…hopefully its easier then just cutting out the whole .25 way once…I did research on computer after you talked about it and sounds so much easier if there is such a thing…do I will take 1/4 of .25 and put in water solution and take other 1/4 pill and eliminate 1 ml day one….2 ml day 2 and so forth…I hope I have that right….you are such a help In this blog and hope more people read your information to help them…..Pray for me all for this is my second attempt….first one failed when I got down to .125 three times a day…so back to starting over at .50 3 times a day….love to all that have taken the time to help me@! 💖💖

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Mary, you will be in my prayers tonight and every night. I am so concerned for you bc of how fast your dr is making you taper, especially after you have been on this med for 27+ years. As I wrote earlier in my first post, I went thru 3 psychiatrist before I found one who had experience in tapering benzodiazepines. So if you are not comfortable with cutting so quickly maybe you should think about a 2nd opinion. She shouldn’t be giving you a deadline if she is. This should be a flexible journey, and as long as you are reducing you r on the right track. You just need to go slowly. Personally I will not be cutting this week bc last week’s cut was so hard on me. I took 2 months off in November and December, my choice and my dr was ok with it. I’d had lost 12 lbs and needed that weight back( I’m 5’6” 123 lbs normally), I don’t want to end up being anorexic. Please be careful, you are in my prayers always. Let us know how it goes.
Hugs and Strength to you,
Ann

@annfsd
When it comes to Melatonin less is usually best.

@annfsd

Mary, you will be in my prayers tonight and every night. I am so concerned for you bc of how fast your dr is making you taper, especially after you have been on this med for 27+ years. As I wrote earlier in my first post, I went thru 3 psychiatrist before I found one who had experience in tapering benzodiazepines. So if you are not comfortable with cutting so quickly maybe you should think about a 2nd opinion. She shouldn’t be giving you a deadline if she is. This should be a flexible journey, and as long as you are reducing you r on the right track. You just need to go slowly. Personally I will not be cutting this week bc last week’s cut was so hard on me. I took 2 months off in November and December, my choice and my dr was ok with it. I’d had lost 12 lbs and needed that weight back( I’m 5’6” 123 lbs normally), I don’t want to end up being anorexic. Please be careful, you are in my prayers always. Let us know how it goes.
Hugs and Strength to you,
Ann

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For anyone interested and unaware of it, please check out the Ashton Manuel at: benzo.org.uk
Commonly know as the “ Benzo Bible” written by Dr. Heather Ashton. It’s a pretty good printed resource and one of the few out there. You can read it on line and possibly print a copy.
Also, the Benzo Information Coalition is another good resource to study. Founded by a group of drs and medical professionals, some have been thru Benzo withdrawal or are currently experiencing it.
Hope, Love & Strength,
Ann

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@mmussak

Ty for asking….actually my appt went really well I just explained some things to her and we compromised and I will be going down to just two a day instead of three and we will leave it there….I dont take it for sleep…I have no problem sleeping usually but when my anxiety gets so high my body starts to shut down…this last time she had me try and wean off I was In Hospital for 2 days for my heart and severe chest pain and could not digest my food…she put me back to regular dose I have taken for 27 years and everything went away….I have never gone up on my dose it has stayed the same for all those years…

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Hi Mary, I am brand new to this site and group. I have read some of your posts and good for you. My name is Sheila and I am in the process of weaning off of Alprazolem. This is day 82 and my heart is racing, I have a headache, some nervousness, I have been on it for 40 years. Yikes. Do you know of anyone that is doing this? Not sure how to reach out to people. Have a good day.

@bvgrammy

Hi Mary, I am brand new to this site and group. I have read some of your posts and good for you. My name is Sheila and I am in the process of weaning off of Alprazolem. This is day 82 and my heart is racing, I have a headache, some nervousness, I have been on it for 40 years. Yikes. Do you know of anyone that is doing this? Not sure how to reach out to people. Have a good day.

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Well welcome sheila…this is the first sight i have ever gone on but soo happy I did….I have gotten so much great advise and ways to better wean me off this klonopin that isnt so tough…my dr is insane the way she wanted me to come off and people here care and are so willing to share their experiences and ways to help you…please read the blogs and ask questions…alot of wise people here…I wish I the best…can i ask how you are weaning off your med??💖

@bvgrammy

Hi Mary, I am brand new to this site and group. I have read some of your posts and good for you. My name is Sheila and I am in the process of weaning off of Alprazolem. This is day 82 and my heart is racing, I have a headache, some nervousness, I have been on it for 40 years. Yikes. Do you know of anyone that is doing this? Not sure how to reach out to people. Have a good day.

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Hi, @bvgrammy – back in 2016, you may recall, you started a discussion called "Going Off of Xanax," https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/going-off-of-xanax/. It might be interesting for you to read what members have posted since that time and maybe ask any new questions there, too.

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.

@bvgrammy

Hi Mary, I am brand new to this site and group. I have read some of your posts and good for you. My name is Sheila and I am in the process of weaning off of Alprazolem. This is day 82 and my heart is racing, I have a headache, some nervousness, I have been on it for 40 years. Yikes. Do you know of anyone that is doing this? Not sure how to reach out to people. Have a good day.

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Marijuana is the only thing that helps

@clonazepamxxx

Marijuana is the only thing that helps

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Clonazepam
If you stop slowly enough you won’t need the marijuana.
Jake

I am new to this site too. Until tonight by researching on my own- I didn’t know you had to taper off using Clonazepam. My doctor never told me how serious this drug is or that one day I’d have to taper or detox from taking it. I feel like I have been violated because I had no idea or information and clearly these types of drugs are being overprescribed or given without explaining to patients just how SILENTLY addictive they are until you need to come off of them.
I was prescribed Xanax and Prozac for about three years following a physical assault for anxiety and depression. They were not effective or lost effectiveness so a year ago my doctor added chlonazepam. I used it for a year only as prescribed-.25 MG three times a day. Within the first three months, I felt so much better. I stopped taking the Xanax pretty quickly; then a month later I stopped taking Prozac cold turkey and was fine, feeling good; then another month later I stopped taking my adderall cold turkey that I had taken for years for ADD. I felt great and was down to only taking one medication. I felt like I was on the mend with Clonazepam- probably because I didn’t know how strong it really was. After six months I just felt so flat and lifeless. I continued with it another six months and knew I wasn’t anxious/depressed anymore but had become just on autopilot not enjoying anything and lacked any motivation or creativity which I never had an issue with before. I knew I wanted to stop taking all medications since they weren’t working and seemed to make me feel worse.
Since I had zero issues or withdrawal symptoms when I stopped taking my other medications, I decided to stop taking my Clonazepam cold turkey. When my prescription ran out I decided to just not refill it. No one had ever told me it had to be tapered or would have such severe side effects. So I just stopped. It’s been two and a half weeks of agony and I just learned tonight why! I have felt for the last two weeks that death would be better than getting through another day of symptoms and luckily at almost three weeks, I feel like I’m functioning at the 50% level. I still feel horrible but finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope this continues.
Please do not take this drug or allow a doctor to give someone you love this drug. I’ve never used an illegal drug in my life or abused prescriptions and know about not taking pain meds and those risks. I had NO IDEA whatsoever that my prescribed anxiety medicine I only took for a year would end this way with me feeling like a junkie. Please warn others!

@clonazepamxxx

I am new to this site too. Until tonight by researching on my own- I didn’t know you had to taper off using Clonazepam. My doctor never told me how serious this drug is or that one day I’d have to taper or detox from taking it. I feel like I have been violated because I had no idea or information and clearly these types of drugs are being overprescribed or given without explaining to patients just how SILENTLY addictive they are until you need to come off of them.
I was prescribed Xanax and Prozac for about three years following a physical assault for anxiety and depression. They were not effective or lost effectiveness so a year ago my doctor added chlonazepam. I used it for a year only as prescribed-.25 MG three times a day. Within the first three months, I felt so much better. I stopped taking the Xanax pretty quickly; then a month later I stopped taking Prozac cold turkey and was fine, feeling good; then another month later I stopped taking my adderall cold turkey that I had taken for years for ADD. I felt great and was down to only taking one medication. I felt like I was on the mend with Clonazepam- probably because I didn’t know how strong it really was. After six months I just felt so flat and lifeless. I continued with it another six months and knew I wasn’t anxious/depressed anymore but had become just on autopilot not enjoying anything and lacked any motivation or creativity which I never had an issue with before. I knew I wanted to stop taking all medications since they weren’t working and seemed to make me feel worse.
Since I had zero issues or withdrawal symptoms when I stopped taking my other medications, I decided to stop taking my Clonazepam cold turkey. When my prescription ran out I decided to just not refill it. No one had ever told me it had to be tapered or would have such severe side effects. So I just stopped. It’s been two and a half weeks of agony and I just learned tonight why! I have felt for the last two weeks that death would be better than getting through another day of symptoms and luckily at almost three weeks, I feel like I’m functioning at the 50% level. I still feel horrible but finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I hope this continues.
Please do not take this drug or allow a doctor to give someone you love this drug. I’ve never used an illegal drug in my life or abused prescriptions and know about not taking pain meds and those risks. I had NO IDEA whatsoever that my prescribed anxiety medicine I only took for a year would end this way with me feeling like a junkie. Please warn others!

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PS – before tonight, I thought I was just very seriously ill with a virus, flu, etc. I didn’t make the connection of all of these debilitating physical symptoms with stopping the medication bc it took a few days of being off of the meds before I got really sick. For the first week, I thought I had a really bad cold or the flu. After one week of not feeling better, I went to urgent care and tested negative for flu or strep or anything they could tell. After another week, I went back and they thought it must be a sinus infection, though nothing showed infection on my lab work and no fever, so they gave me an antibiotic and said to come back if I didn’t feel better in three days. I also felt like I had a UTI but they tested and said no infection. No wonder- all of these symptoms are the result of an unanticipated drug detox, not any virus or infection. I seriously thought I was dying for over two weeks.
The only thing that took away the agony was marijuana. Otherwise I could not eat, sleep, or even sit up for more than a short period, and literally could not leave the house.
I was like a two year old child mentally and intellectually where I couldn’t find words or complete a whole sentence correctly, just lost in zombie state, and physically feeling like I’d rather die than do it again tomorrow. I am so hopeful now that I know what I’m dealing with. Good luck to everyone else that was probably on higher doses or took the drugs longer since I see some of their symptoms have lingered for a very long time. I hope I get back to 100% soon and guess it’s too late for me to turn back now since I am nearing week three and starting to feel a little bit better. The days were so bad that even a 10% decrease in symptoms seems life changing. I hope this post helps someone else bc it may have saved me.

@clonazepamxxx

PS – before tonight, I thought I was just very seriously ill with a virus, flu, etc. I didn’t make the connection of all of these debilitating physical symptoms with stopping the medication bc it took a few days of being off of the meds before I got really sick. For the first week, I thought I had a really bad cold or the flu. After one week of not feeling better, I went to urgent care and tested negative for flu or strep or anything they could tell. After another week, I went back and they thought it must be a sinus infection, though nothing showed infection on my lab work and no fever, so they gave me an antibiotic and said to come back if I didn’t feel better in three days. I also felt like I had a UTI but they tested and said no infection. No wonder- all of these symptoms are the result of an unanticipated drug detox, not any virus or infection. I seriously thought I was dying for over two weeks.
The only thing that took away the agony was marijuana. Otherwise I could not eat, sleep, or even sit up for more than a short period, and literally could not leave the house.
I was like a two year old child mentally and intellectually where I couldn’t find words or complete a whole sentence correctly, just lost in zombie state, and physically feeling like I’d rather die than do it again tomorrow. I am so hopeful now that I know what I’m dealing with. Good luck to everyone else that was probably on higher doses or took the drugs longer since I see some of their symptoms have lingered for a very long time. I hope I get back to 100% soon and guess it’s too late for me to turn back now since I am nearing week three and starting to feel a little bit better. The days were so bad that even a 10% decrease in symptoms seems life changing. I hope this post helps someone else bc it may have saved me.

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PPS- I have only used marijuana at night in a small amount bc I was not eating at all or sleeping. After I would be able to eat half a meal maybe (I’ve had no appetite) and i would be able to sleep for a few hours. It made my headache partially subside for a couple hours but doesn’t at all take away all symptoms. I was limiting myself to once a day at night bc I’m not by any means a regular marijuana user. My friend was very worried about me and recommended it. I am a 41 year old, college educated, married, professional woman. I used to judge people that used marijuana though it’s legal widely now. No more. I think these doctors need to evaluate it and use it as a first line treatment effort BEFORE they are allowed to prescribe addictive pills.
No wonder we have so many people addicted to heroin after taking addictive pills.
After going through this withdrawal experience personally, I think that marijuana could likely be very effective as an aid in treating many withdrawal symptoms, whether from prescription medications or illegal drugs.

@jakedduck1

Clonazepam
If you stop slowly enough you won’t need the marijuana.
Jake

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Thank you but I did not know about the need to taper. WISH I did! My psychiatrist prescribed the meds but never told me I’d have to taper or anything before stopping. When he prescribed he said it was to be for a short time – not long term and didn’t say how addictive it would be. I only see him once a month so still have another week plus before my next appt. I had no idea why I’ve been so sick and my urgent care visits didn’t ask about old medications just what I was taking currently which is nothing. I totally missed the connection and had no reason really to associate how sick I was with stopping a medication two weeks earlier. I didn’t know any drug could make you feel that bad- like dying. The worst point was the two week mark in hindsight. At any rate, and after two visits to urgent care and no answer but an antibiotic passed out to me as a guess, I don’t know that I’d be able to get through without the marijuana. It was a god send.

@clonazepamxxx

PPS- I have only used marijuana at night in a small amount bc I was not eating at all or sleeping. After I would be able to eat half a meal maybe (I’ve had no appetite) and i would be able to sleep for a few hours. It made my headache partially subside for a couple hours but doesn’t at all take away all symptoms. I was limiting myself to once a day at night bc I’m not by any means a regular marijuana user. My friend was very worried about me and recommended it. I am a 41 year old, college educated, married, professional woman. I used to judge people that used marijuana though it’s legal widely now. No more. I think these doctors need to evaluate it and use it as a first line treatment effort BEFORE they are allowed to prescribe addictive pills.
No wonder we have so many people addicted to heroin after taking addictive pills.
After going through this withdrawal experience personally, I think that marijuana could likely be very effective as an aid in treating many withdrawal symptoms, whether from prescription medications or illegal drugs.

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@clonazepamxxx
I’m not judging anyone. I personally don’t believe it should have ever been legalized. One reason is the 400 or so chemicals in it and how the molecular structure may be altered by heating, processing and chemicals used for pest control etc. Anything that alters the how it functions can’t be a good thing. Also a major concern is that people get high and drive and cause accidents. The death toll keeps rising but states still legalize it. How many more have to die? There is not nearly enough research proving it’s safety. Although there are thousands of studies, only a handful are backed up with scientific proof. According to the Federal Government marijuana is still illegal and banned in all National Parks and on Federal Lands. We live in a free Country and are allowed freedom of choice. Obviously I disagree with some of those choices. Unfortunately people are allowed to get high on various substances and jeopardize innocent people. That’s 1 of my 2 cents worth.
Hope your feeling better soon,
Jake

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