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Need Help With Xanax+Lunesta Taper


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Hi All,


First, here is a link to my intro http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=143863.0.


As a recap, I currently take .25mg Xanax, 3mg Lunesta (Xanax for about 2 years, Lunesta for 8 years), and 5mg hydroxyzine every night (started this more recently). I am struggling to determine how best to start tapering off of the first two (the hydroxyzine is pretty inoffensive and I don't worry too much about it).


So, the question I have is how should I handle this process? I have broken it down into the following possibilities, but I don't know what has the best chance of success (or if they're all wrong):


  • Direct taper (since I only take the Xanax/Lunesta once per day and they both have a relatively short half life)
  • Cross over to Valium and replace both Xanax and Lunesta with an equivalent dose, then taper off that
  • Cross over to Valium only for Xanax, taper off of that, then try to direct taper Lunesta separately


The primary concern I have with the Valium method is I don't want my body to get used to having a benzo onboard all the time (going from 12h HL of Xanax to 100h+ HL of Valium), and also the potential worsening of my brain fog and fatigue.


Any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated - thank you!

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First it is recommended to taper off one at a time. You are fortunate that you are on a relatively low dose of Xanax so unless you are having difficultly tapering directly off of it I would not cross over to another. I probably would do the Xanax first, and since the recommended reduction rate is no more than 10 percent every two weeks. Some need to even go slow. I would not worry about the Hydroxyzine right now. It may help you with some of the more common withdrawal symptoms like insomnia or anxiety.
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Something to think about--Lunesta is pretty much impossible to taper on it's own, once you get to around the usual starting dose (around 1 mg.). Almost all find that less then that will give them very little or no sleep. If you have a "back up" drug this would probably not be the case and you will be able to taper to zero. It's counter-intuitive, but I would taper off the Lunesta first, you should be able to do this fairly quickly, then taper the Xanax. No need to do a cross-over unless you are having intolerable inter-dose withdrawal symptoms. You may not like the Valium at all, so save that idea for a worst-case scenario.


Either way it is likely that you will have disturbed sleep and it is nothing to get terribly upset about it. Your body just has to adjust to a lower or no amount of sleep drug, and that takes time. I'm curious as to why you need hydroxyzine on top of the other two--are you still having sleep issues?

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See my signature, I crossed over from Xanax and Lunesta to Valium. I was already feeling bad with the Xanax and an unintended dose reduction when the pharmacy switched generic brands on me, and I couldn't stabilize even after going back to the original brand. My dr basically updosed my total benzo amount by adding 10mg Valium (.5mg Xanax equivalency according to Ashton). At the same time he had me drop the 3mg Lunesta I was taking to sleep. I took the Valium at bedtime. It knocked me out cold in 20 minutes, I slept like a baby, all my anxiety and other symptoms from the Xanax screwup got better and I had no withdrawal problems from dropping the Lunesta. I felt much better for two weeks, then my body adjusted to the Valium and I started getting some symptoms back, although not as bad as before. The down side of the Valium is that it did make me REALLY tired during the day, especially for the first two weeks. I had the foggy brain too.


I also did a partial crossover from Xanax to Valium, then direct tapered the remaining Xanax since I was really exhausted from the 15mg Valium in my system, I didn't want to add any more.


So, I don't regret crossing over, I definitely feel better on Valium compared to Xanax, but I was on a much higher dose than you. In your case, I would suggest tapering your small amount of Xanax directly first, if the Lunesta is still helping you sleep. Then you could try tapering the Lunesta directly, and keep the Valium crossover as a backup option.


I'm not sure what the Valium:Lunesta equivalency is, but 10mg Valium felt a LOT stronger than 3mg Lunesta. In hindsight, I think I could have got by with 5mg.


I also think Lunesta will probably be easier to get off of than Xanax. There were a few nights where I would skip taking the Lunesta and I would still fall asleep ok. I definitely couldn't skip a Xanax dose without feeling it.


One more thing, my dr had me drop the Lunesta when I started Valium because the combination might slow down my breathing, something like that. So I don't think you could cross from Xanax to V while still taking Lunesta anyway.

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