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!!!

Liked by Leonard, falon

Well I hear what u r saying nut the big word there is CAN lead to dementia….and I have been on it for 27 years so if I get completely off it now at 56 what says I'm not going to get dementia and go through this horrible horrible withdrawal so we HOPE it doesn't happen???? Do you see what I'm saying?? At this point I say do I get to live a good life without withdrawals now or go through all this and still get dementia for being on it for so many years….its a very hard decision I have to make!!

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

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Mary,
I absolutely understand, hard to know what to do if you’re not sure which path you want to follow. Withdrawal is not pleasant. I tried to reinstate after my first tapper ended in horrible withdrawals. My first taper was going good until I got impatient and tried to speed it up. Then all hell broke loose. When my dr told me to reinstate the Klonopin it no longer worked. It did nothing for me, except turn me into a zombie with zero joy or emotion, not to mention i was sick as a dog all the time. My first taper was easy compared to what I’m going thru now. 2 totally different experiences. I really don’t understand that at all….it’s very frustrating. Continued prayers for you, may you find peace and the path that is right for you.
Peace & strength
Ann

Liked by Leonard

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@mmussak: Having gone through your and all the other posts, I would like to ask the same question that you posed yesterday: After 27 years and no problems why do you have to taper Clonazepam now, with all the terrible things happening to your body? I don't get it either. I am not a great admirer of Benzos, but these are legit drugs which have to be taken under certain circumstances, to alleviate a great deal of misery caused by intense anxiety. I take them myself, because I suffer from very severe and chronic anxiety and depression. These drugs should not be seen as inherently undesirable or evil; they serve a very important purpose [viz. to relieve anxiety], and are therefore prescribed much more frequently than antidepressants. If taken for a long period of time, it may not always be possible to taper them completely. The choice before you is to continue the taper with very unpredictable consequences and a great deal of suffering [and no guarantee of success], or to resume the dosage that you have taken for 27 years and lead a normal life. After all, don't people take medicines for depression, blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma [and many other chronic illnesses] for life? Anxiety is, similarly, a chronic illness, which may sometimes require medication for life, depending upon its severity etc. Please think about all these considerations and make up your mind soon. Do let me know what you think. God bless you.

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@pankaj; @mmussak– I would add my agreement to @pankaj advice! I have taken 1 mg. of Clonasapam for over 20 yrs. and it gave me back my life of things that had become phobia's for me. I've never felt the need to increase the dose and life is good! Jim @thankful

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@pankaj

@mmussak: Having gone through your and all the other posts, I would like to ask the same question that you posed yesterday: After 27 years and no problems why do you have to taper Clonazepam now, with all the terrible things happening to your body? I don't get it either. I am not a great admirer of Benzos, but these are legit drugs which have to be taken under certain circumstances, to alleviate a great deal of misery caused by intense anxiety. I take them myself, because I suffer from very severe and chronic anxiety and depression. These drugs should not be seen as inherently undesirable or evil; they serve a very important purpose [viz. to relieve anxiety], and are therefore prescribed much more frequently than antidepressants. If taken for a long period of time, it may not always be possible to taper them completely. The choice before you is to continue the taper with very unpredictable consequences and a great deal of suffering [and no guarantee of success], or to resume the dosage that you have taken for 27 years and lead a normal life. After all, don't people take medicines for depression, blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma [and many other chronic illnesses] for life? Anxiety is, similarly, a chronic illness, which may sometimes require medication for life, depending upon its severity etc. Please think about all these considerations and make up your mind soon. Do let me know what you think. God bless you.

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I totally agree 100 percent with you but why my new psychiatrist is making me get off it is beyond me…as people say if it ain't broken dont fix it. I'm not broken I was doing great…I got referred to this dr by my dr that moved out of state and now she not even knowing me wants to change things that are not even an issue just because SHE feels I should not be taking a benzo….I did today look up a new psychiatrist and am seeing her next week…pray for me that she puts me back to normal….after all these years of just dealing with disease of anxiety and depression and now she puts me In this world wind….i pray i can get back my life i had the last 27 years soon…ty all for caring and letting me know…..you all are a gift from God for helping people with this….!!!💖💖💖

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

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@mmussak

I totally agree 100 percent with you but why my new psychiatrist is making me get off it is beyond me…as people say if it ain't broken dont fix it. I'm not broken I was doing great…I got referred to this dr by my dr that moved out of state and now she not even knowing me wants to change things that are not even an issue just because SHE feels I should not be taking a benzo….I did today look up a new psychiatrist and am seeing her next week…pray for me that she puts me back to normal….after all these years of just dealing with disease of anxiety and depression and now she puts me In this world wind….i pray i can get back my life i had the last 27 years soon…ty all for caring and letting me know…..you all are a gift from God for helping people with this….!!!💖💖💖

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Awesome! I’m so glad you are getting a second opinion!!! You are your own best advocate. As I wrote in an earlier post I saw 3 before I found one that would work with me and not do anything crazy to me! Fingers crossed for you!!

Liked by Leonard

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Thank you ann….your heart is so filled with love….keep spreading it!!!

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

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@mmussak

I totally agree 100 percent with you but why my new psychiatrist is making me get off it is beyond me…as people say if it ain't broken dont fix it. I'm not broken I was doing great…I got referred to this dr by my dr that moved out of state and now she not even knowing me wants to change things that are not even an issue just because SHE feels I should not be taking a benzo….I did today look up a new psychiatrist and am seeing her next week…pray for me that she puts me back to normal….after all these years of just dealing with disease of anxiety and depression and now she puts me In this world wind….i pray i can get back my life i had the last 27 years soon…ty all for caring and letting me know…..you all are a gift from God for helping people with this….!!!💖💖💖

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@mmussak: Good to know that you found my post useful. As you said, you are not broken, so why fix you? Just your bad luck that your new doctor decided to taper, and that too at a very rapid pace. As I mentioned in my previous post, it may sometimes become difficult to taper benzos if you have taken them for a long time or if your illness is severe. Here is a link to an article on the topic by S M Stahl, one of the top psychiatrists in the US: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1858/842428817661940cf410aebf5b9cff13d690.pdf. I, too, tried to taper a few years ago, but gave up when the withdrawal became unbearable. Since then, I have reconciled myself to taking it for the rest of my life. You will have to find a doctor who has empathy and who respects your concerns. This is not always easy; you may have to change doctors till you find one who agrees to restore your previous dosage of Clonazepam. After all, your previous doctor was OK with it and prescribed it to you for 27 years. You could seek his help in finding another one who continues the same line of treatment. Finally, let me make it clear once again that I am not a supporter of taking benzos for the long term. But if it becomes inevitable, as explained above, so be it. Please keep us posted with your progress. Thanks.

Liked by thankful, Leonard

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Ty for the article…I will be bringing it to my new psychiatrist…let's pray she is more sympathetic as u say and can see I dont abuse these drugs…never changed my dose for 27 years…unfortunately my dr I saw for 7 years moved out of state somewhere and my dr I saw for 20 years has retired.. i will keep praying!!

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

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Hi Mary — I feel for you. Keep fighting the fight. I am in a sort of similar situation and hopping on this thread to see if my Q helps…

I am a 40 year old white male with bipolar disorder trying to *desperately* wean off Clonazepam/Klonopin ("K" for short). Short version of Rx: along the way, I've taken everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety and ambien and trazodone…. I'm now down to 1.5mg of K per day, and that is down from 6mg back a couple years ago. Apart from vitamin supplements (C, A, D3, E, Theanine…), I am not on any other Rx.

Help needed: I am trying to wean off K under guidance of a therapist and Pysch MD. I am down from 6mg-8mg years ago to 1mg-1.5mg per day now. I find it helps to keep a BALANCED amoutn in system. I have tried to reduce over time, but it is very, very , very hard. Like crawling out of skin. I can go to 1mg per day, but I have a wife and kids and a job (for now) that I need to semi-function in. When I have tried to stop cold turkey, after 24 hours, I am a basket case. Of course, *everyone* says you can never stop cold turkey, and they are right. K is a poisoinous drug for many reasons.

Any thoughts appreciated on how to wean off, slowly… nothing seems to work…. other than keeping steady amount. Having a hard time dropping below 1.5 mg on a regular basis. I know it has a long half life, etc…. . Prefer herbal or other supplements. Thoughts?

@mmussak I know it feels impossible. If you can stick to a strict schedule, it CAN work. I know I write this, but easier said than done for me and everyone addicted to K. My goal is:

1.50mg daily for three weeks
1.25mg for three weeks
1.00 for three weeks
and so on

Some would say do a slower taper, so that is possible. There is some discomfort and irratibility involved (who are we kidding– it is like haveing crawling skin on fire). Thoughts?

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

REPLY
@happy_ira

Hi Mary — I feel for you. Keep fighting the fight. I am in a sort of similar situation and hopping on this thread to see if my Q helps…

I am a 40 year old white male with bipolar disorder trying to *desperately* wean off Clonazepam/Klonopin ("K" for short). Short version of Rx: along the way, I've taken everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety and ambien and trazodone…. I'm now down to 1.5mg of K per day, and that is down from 6mg back a couple years ago. Apart from vitamin supplements (C, A, D3, E, Theanine…), I am not on any other Rx.

Help needed: I am trying to wean off K under guidance of a therapist and Pysch MD. I am down from 6mg-8mg years ago to 1mg-1.5mg per day now. I find it helps to keep a BALANCED amoutn in system. I have tried to reduce over time, but it is very, very , very hard. Like crawling out of skin. I can go to 1mg per day, but I have a wife and kids and a job (for now) that I need to semi-function in. When I have tried to stop cold turkey, after 24 hours, I am a basket case. Of course, *everyone* says you can never stop cold turkey, and they are right. K is a poisoinous drug for many reasons.

Any thoughts appreciated on how to wean off, slowly… nothing seems to work…. other than keeping steady amount. Having a hard time dropping below 1.5 mg on a regular basis. I know it has a long half life, etc…. . Prefer herbal or other supplements. Thoughts?

@mmussak I know it feels impossible. If you can stick to a strict schedule, it CAN work. I know I write this, but easier said than done for me and everyone addicted to K. My goal is:

1.50mg daily for three weeks
1.25mg for three weeks
1.00 for three weeks
and so on

Some would say do a slower taper, so that is possible. There is some discomfort and irratibility involved (who are we kidding– it is like haveing crawling skin on fire). Thoughts?

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I have tried that way and ended up in hospital with severe chest pains .. couldn't breathe right and hence they kept me for two days cuz it was effecting my heart…my gut was in a knot and couldn't digest any food…my body was shutting down….went back to my .5 x 3 times a day and within a few days everything went away….so let me ask u …do they have u micro tapering??? That is the smartest ways I have heard and am slowly doing my mid day dose that way…like a 1/4 of pill every 50 days….but I am feeling hard effects already do ti dr taking me off 25 immediately in one day…

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

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@mmussak

Ty for the article…I will be bringing it to my new psychiatrist…let's pray she is more sympathetic as u say and can see I dont abuse these drugs…never changed my dose for 27 years…unfortunately my dr I saw for 7 years moved out of state somewhere and my dr I saw for 20 years has retired.. i will keep praying!!

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@mmussak: I am not sure if taking the article to your new doctor will help…doctors usually don't like to be told what to do. Some of them might even take offence at being shown literature. Gentle persuasion might work better, including the withdrawal effects that you are experiencing. Good luck.

Liked by Leonard, annfsd

REPLY
@happy_ira

Hi Mary — I feel for you. Keep fighting the fight. I am in a sort of similar situation and hopping on this thread to see if my Q helps…

I am a 40 year old white male with bipolar disorder trying to *desperately* wean off Clonazepam/Klonopin ("K" for short). Short version of Rx: along the way, I've taken everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety and ambien and trazodone…. I'm now down to 1.5mg of K per day, and that is down from 6mg back a couple years ago. Apart from vitamin supplements (C, A, D3, E, Theanine…), I am not on any other Rx.

Help needed: I am trying to wean off K under guidance of a therapist and Pysch MD. I am down from 6mg-8mg years ago to 1mg-1.5mg per day now. I find it helps to keep a BALANCED amoutn in system. I have tried to reduce over time, but it is very, very , very hard. Like crawling out of skin. I can go to 1mg per day, but I have a wife and kids and a job (for now) that I need to semi-function in. When I have tried to stop cold turkey, after 24 hours, I am a basket case. Of course, *everyone* says you can never stop cold turkey, and they are right. K is a poisoinous drug for many reasons.

Any thoughts appreciated on how to wean off, slowly… nothing seems to work…. other than keeping steady amount. Having a hard time dropping below 1.5 mg on a regular basis. I know it has a long half life, etc…. . Prefer herbal or other supplements. Thoughts?

@mmussak I know it feels impossible. If you can stick to a strict schedule, it CAN work. I know I write this, but easier said than done for me and everyone addicted to K. My goal is:

1.50mg daily for three weeks
1.25mg for three weeks
1.00 for three weeks
and so on

Some would say do a slower taper, so that is possible. There is some discomfort and irratibility involved (who are we kidding– it is like haveing crawling skin on fire). Thoughts?

Jump to this post

Hello @happy_ira
First, welcome and please let me congratulate you on your amazing progress in tapering off K. You have made a huge reduction already, so a big congrats to you.👏🎊🎉

I am currently on 1.09mg daily and have a very difficult time cutting. I try to reduce in .0045mg cuts per week and it is extremely difficult. I have been on K for 12 years at very low dosage(@.75mg daily) My dr had me up dose after my first failure of a taper.

I am doing a micro taper using a simple syrup suspension compounded by a compounding pharmacist. So I am able to make very small reductions each week when I can tolerate them. I try to weekly but can’t always swing it. Depends on how sick I am (nausea, magraine headache, etc) and how bad my pain level is. When I start having chest pain I know it’s time to back off and hold a bit.

Have you read the Ashton Manuel? Are you and your dr at all framiliar with the side effects caused by vitamin supplements during the taper process? Google it, if you are not framiliar with this school of thought. Vitamin D made me very, very sick, I was literally in bed for 3 days. The supplements might possibly be adding to your misery and making things more difficult. I have developed sensitivity to many foods and supplements. As Mary mentioned in her post, the micro taper is easiest for some people and I’m one of those. I wish I could cut more but my body has a different agenda and so I am going very slow. Your .25mg cuts every 3 weeks are very big cuts.
Best regards
Ann

Liked by Leonard

REPLY
@annfsd

Hello @happy_ira
First, welcome and please let me congratulate you on your amazing progress in tapering off K. You have made a huge reduction already, so a big congrats to you.👏🎊🎉

I am currently on 1.09mg daily and have a very difficult time cutting. I try to reduce in .0045mg cuts per week and it is extremely difficult. I have been on K for 12 years at very low dosage(@.75mg daily) My dr had me up dose after my first failure of a taper.

I am doing a micro taper using a simple syrup suspension compounded by a compounding pharmacist. So I am able to make very small reductions each week when I can tolerate them. I try to weekly but can’t always swing it. Depends on how sick I am (nausea, magraine headache, etc) and how bad my pain level is. When I start having chest pain I know it’s time to back off and hold a bit.

Have you read the Ashton Manuel? Are you and your dr at all framiliar with the side effects caused by vitamin supplements during the taper process? Google it, if you are not framiliar with this school of thought. Vitamin D made me very, very sick, I was literally in bed for 3 days. The supplements might possibly be adding to your misery and making things more difficult. I have developed sensitivity to many foods and supplements. As Mary mentioned in her post, the micro taper is easiest for some people and I’m one of those. I wish I could cut more but my body has a different agenda and so I am going very slow. Your .25mg cuts every 3 weeks are very big cuts.
Best regards
Ann

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@annfsd @mmussak

The micro tapering methods and Ashton method (yes, I've read that) are all easier said than done. The fact is, K is very very addictive in its own right, when coupled with genetics, length of time on the medication, each person's unique make-up etc…. there is no "one size fits all".

I have micro-tapered before, and yes 0.25mg every three weeks feels HUGE as we all know the half life and so on. It does lead to irritability, some semi-suicidal thoughts alll amidst real external pressures (job, family, etc).

In the end, the few times I have tried, I buckled and went back to 1.5mg. I chalked it up as an EXCUSE on jobm, family etc…. however, as my therapist would say "cart before horse". I need to get off the med. Anyone on here trying same knows how really really really hard it is.

There *never* seems to be a good time, but I believe that had I gotten off this years ago, IU would be in a better place now. My PLAN is to taper at that schedule. Easier said than done. But this time, unlike past years, I am committed becuase it has ruined enough of my life.

Liked by Leonard

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@happy_ira

@annfsd @mmussak

The micro tapering methods and Ashton method (yes, I've read that) are all easier said than done. The fact is, K is very very addictive in its own right, when coupled with genetics, length of time on the medication, each person's unique make-up etc…. there is no "one size fits all".

I have micro-tapered before, and yes 0.25mg every three weeks feels HUGE as we all know the half life and so on. It does lead to irritability, some semi-suicidal thoughts alll amidst real external pressures (job, family, etc).

In the end, the few times I have tried, I buckled and went back to 1.5mg. I chalked it up as an EXCUSE on jobm, family etc…. however, as my therapist would say "cart before horse". I need to get off the med. Anyone on here trying same knows how really really really hard it is.

There *never* seems to be a good time, but I believe that had I gotten off this years ago, IU would be in a better place now. My PLAN is to taper at that schedule. Easier said than done. But this time, unlike past years, I am committed becuase it has ruined enough of my life.

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@happy_ira
You mentioned that a slower taper was possible in your original post. So that was why I commented and mentioned the liquid suspension taper. Certainly I didn’t mean to make you defensive, my apologies. You have set your course and sound determined to follow it. If that’s a given, then I wish you strength and nothing but success. Please let us know how it goes.
Best,
Ann

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