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Advice on taper URGENT x


[Pa...]

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Dear Everyone,

 

I came off Valium 18 years ago and it took a year of two weekly drops, and was very very hard but worth it praise God!

 

Now, my mum, who has been on Nitrazepam for 40 years wants to come off if she can.  She is in her early 70's has M.E. chronic fatigue illness and Fibromyalgia as well as few other issues. She feels that her numb legs she has started to get and general fatigue issues are not helped by the benzo. And that she would like to try withdrawal or at least get the dose as low as possible. She has been taking 2x5 mg so 10mg at night for many year's. She takes strong opioid pain killers during the day and so it's important she does not mix the two and spaces as much as possible. So when I stopped I was on valium a few times a day and nothing else and so it was easier to manage withdrawal. At the time I was in touch with a wonderful organisation called CITA the counsel for involuntary tranquillizer addiction and they as well as this forum and going to NA narcotics anonymous meetings and members there and my doctors help I came off it. CITA published a book that at the time advised swapping from whatever benzo you were on to an equivalent dose of valium to help taper a benzo withdrawal due to long half-life of valium. However, as I was already on valium I haven't had this experience but it seemed to make sense. But for my mum, as she only takes in the evening and can't really mix the benzo during the day with her pain killers for fear of oversedation and also that valium also relaxes muscles and she is already pretty immobile this isn't ok the face of it an easy option as she needs her pain medication for chronic pain and doesn't really need any more energy zapped and can't spread a dose over 24 hours as easily etc. So her local doctor has recommended something that in my mind is incredibly dangerous. Basically he had suggested a regime that will have her off her 40-year benzo in 2 to 4 weeks!!!!!!! His suggestion is week one doesn't take one of her nitrazepam but swap it to a dose of one Trazadone or Trazodone (sorry not sure of spelling yet until they arrive shall update but pretty sure its Trazodone!) tablet sorry don't know dose yet but arives tomorrow. So essentially HALF her benzo to 5mg from 10 for two weeks substituting 5mg for the trazadone tablet, then after two weeks "have a little chat" and if she is "ok" stop the benzo altogether and just take 2 trazadone instead, and then he will "get her off the trazadone easily as not very adictive" words in speech marks his. This seems INSANE to me!!!!! Hysterically I looked up trazadone and it can take 4 to 6 weeks to build up in your system and / or be effective!!!!! I did look it up briefly and see that it is soemtimes used or trialled in the withdrawal of benzo and has seen to have benefits has anyone experience of this? but surely not to the point that this doctor seems to think this rate will be safe and ok!?????? I spoke to a friend who works in a treatment centre a while back and they said that it had to be done very slowly still and someone as old as my mum may be on one drop or reduction for ma y mo the before another drop is tried and she needs careful monitoring. So what this doctor has suggested with the knowledge and experience I have myself of the incredibly tough but worthwhile withdrawal proces is that what he is suggesting could well kill my mum! Or at least seriously compromise her one way or another I mean seriously 40 years on a benzo and stop it altogether in two weeks!!!!!! Please please could you give me your thoughts on this as it's incredibly worrying, I appreciate things have moved on since I cane of valium which took a year and I still regard as one of the hardest, but best things I did in my life, that really can not believe this can be done with trazadone in two to 4 weeks when it may not even become therapeutic for 6 weeks!!!! Many thanks in advance, God bless, Mark

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Hello Paul Smith, welcome to BenzoBuddies,

 

I feel you're right to be concerned with your mum's proposed plan for withdrawal, Trazodone at least from the consensus of this community has not proved effective against withdrawal symptoms, some members have mentioned it slightly helping with insomnia but that's about it.

 

I'm so glad you're advocating for her, a rapid taper is not advisable for anyone on benzo's for as long as she's been and certainly not someone her age.  We can help you and her plan a taper that would be better suited for her but she'll need a steady supply of the Nitrazepam to accomplish this, will she have this?

 

We typically suggest reducing the dose by about 5-10% every week or two but given her circumstances I would suggest going even slower than that to minimize symptoms.  Please take a look out the methods we support here: Planning your taper (Taper Plans)

 

If you'd like to get input from other members about her symptoms, feel free to start a thread on the Withdrawal Support (during your taper) board to get feedback.

 

Please let us know how we can help you help your mum, we're glad you found us.

 

Pamster

 

 

 

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HI,

It took you a year to get off of valium? I am on a taper of valium to replace the xanax. I am so scared the panic attacks will come back when I taper the valium. How do I know they won't. Also everytime I get hot and sweaty from working out I think I am going to have a panic attack because that is what happens when I have them. It sounds difficult what your mother has to go through. Let us know how we can help...

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Dear Pamster,

 

Thanks so much for your message feedback on all points and warmth and support and thw links to the taper guide shall check it out. Yes shall post in the other forum and keep her progress updated. This is a truly wonderful support site I shall try and get my mum using it once she starts we may begin 4 weeks in a treatment centre to get her stable generally we looking into now as she not been eating well either and needs stabilising on all fronts.  Thanks so much and shall update soon. Thanks Paul Smith

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Can you tell us a little about the treatment centre she may be entering, I agree it's important to make sure she's eating and stable but I hope they won't attempt to withdraw her from the Nitrazepam, in our experience they tend to taper patients too rapidly. 
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Hi Pamster,

 

Thanks again, its not confirmed yet but we are looking at a hopefully a quarter of one of the 2 x 5mg tablets in terms of the first drop and that being the only drop that she does for the entire four week duration. if she settles and is ok on that then possibly taking it down to one and a half tablets month two that will take her to 7.5 mg and then run with that for a few months or more if need be. This are just ideas for now but given she will only be in there for four weeks I personally think just one drop is best and a smallish one at that. what do you think? Also, its a group therapy 12 step kinda approach along with one on one counselling. I have heard good things from several sources from people who I know that work in the rehab industry. She will have her own room and bathroom and its a nice place set in some nice greenery. I'm hoping that she will start eating properly, get lots of love and support and start taking all her medication as prescribed and get back into the rhythm of things! SO I'm thinking just a 1.25 mg drop for the stay, get her stable and then her continue at home.

 

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Hi "Being Free" panic attacks can suck, but they pass, and for me the more I had the more I knew not to fear them as they told me I was gonna die and in the end, I was a bit like "change the record I didn't die!" lol but if you do get them, they did stop eventually for me. Having lots of support and friends you can ring when struggling or write to is mega helpful this is why I went to a lot of NA narcotics anonymous meetings got numbers and had a sponsor in AA that i was attending also and still do to this day, I can only speak for me but I found it helpful to journal about the symptoms and panic if I ever got. I would list the strange effects I sometimes had that were disturbing, and then after a while, I could look back over a whole range of symptoms and see that each time they had passed and that the panic never killed me even I had thought it would. This is empowering and comforting, cos you get to the point where your like, ok I been here before and felt this and was ok, my friends in NA also told me its ok, and I learned to live with the withdrawal effects and acknowledge them and recognize its normal, and so I just didn't worry so much, but with a good doctor guiding you, a loving God of your own understanding (AA speech) friends in NA or online here and in forums that are also going through the same cheering you on its great! I also reminded myself that after each day I would not have to go through that day again and I was a day closer to my freedom! I'm not an expert and that's why I got as much help and support as I could. On the Xanax being very honest for the last two years, over 15 years after my valium withdrawal, I started on a one a day dose for very extreme sleep problems of Xanax, I don't take 3 times a day like I did the valium, but I would like to come off at some point and I know it's not great or ideal. I'm on here for help for my mum but I want to be honest that a few years ago I started taking a once-a-day dose of Xanax for my sleep.
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Hi Pamster,

 

Thanks again, its not confirmed yet but we are looking at a hopefully a quarter of one of the 2 x 5mg tablets in terms of the first drop and that being the only drop that she does for the entire four week duration. if she settles and is ok on that then possibly taking it down to one and a half tablets month two that will take her to 7.5 mg and then run with that for a few months or more if need be. This are just ideas for now but given she will only be in there for four weeks I personally think just one drop is best and a smallish one at that. what do you think? Also, its a group therapy 12 step kinda approach along with one on one counselling. I have heard good things from several sources from people who I know that work in the rehab industry. She will have her own room and bathroom and its a nice place set in some nice greenery. I'm hoping that she will start eating properly, get lots of love and support and start taking all her medication as prescribed and get back into the rhythm of things! SO I'm thinking just a 1.25 mg drop for the stay, get her stable and then her continue at home.

 

The centre sounds like a good place for her to get some structure back in her life and I agree with your plan to taper her slowly.  I hope the staff recognizes that she's not an addict, too many of those places don't understand benzo dependence because they're so used to dealing with addicts.  Sorry, but I get protective when I see  labels being put on those who suffer from benzodiazepine dependence, it's a completely different animal than alcohol or other drug addictions.  I know this because I've been free of alcohol for 29 years and have seen this issue from both sides. 

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