Jump to content

New to Group: Benzo withdrawal from Lorazepam..want your opinion?


[...]

Recommended Posts

I started getting symptoms of anxiety in 2009. My internist said I have anxiety put me on Lorazepam .5mg 1x morning and .5mg 1x evening did this for a year. Took myself down to .5mg per day up till now May 3, 2011 and from there I took.25mg and have been doing this till I go back to the psychiatrist June 6th.  I have horrible muscle cramps in my legs, burning feet, headache, cant sleep, trouble breathing, panic attacks 3x. I called my psychiatrist today and told him I was concerned with my muscles being tight and all my other symptoms. He said why don't you just stop taking the medication and that I may be experiencing the withdraw again and again everyday....because I'm going through withdrawal from the med in the evening.  He then said I can stay at this dosage .25mg till I see him June 6th if I prefer that but will keep putting myself into withdrawal. I cant imagine just stopping it cold turkey as I feel pretty crappy. I feel bad all together but it gets worse from about 4pm, even worse by 9pm till early hours of the morning and then I take my .25mg at 9am.. so I don't know what to do.. just stay on this .25mg till I see the doc June 6th, then see what I do from there... ?? I asked him if I need to do the diazepam to withdrawal and he says I was on such a low does he does not think I require it. I feel horrible now.. and i don't know what I should do cause he acts like its no big deal.. and I feel it....I don't think its anxiety I'm feeling... and more withdrawal symptoms. I'm very sensitive to all medications.. so that is why I want to do this slow and correct. any input would be great.  The plan I had was to stay on .25mg till June 6th and then see what the doc said.. I was thinking of then cutting it down to half of what I'm taking now and then stop. But it seems like the doc thinks I can just stop cold turkey if I choose.. my body is telling me diff. I don't want to throw my body into anymore shock then it has already been put through.  :) :Thank you. Jenny
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jen:

 

Welcome to benzo buddies!  It looks like you tapered way too rapidly, and are experiencing some nasty withdrawal symptoms as a result.  The recommended taper rate here is no more than about 10% every 7-14 days.  We definitely don't recommend a cold turkey if you can avoid it.  I would speak to your doctor about going up in dosage to stabilize, and then coming down much more slowly.  You will find lots of information and support here.  I do hope you feel better.

 

Draftsman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Jen.   While you doctor is correct that you might not "require" it, it sure would make things easier and less shock to the system to taper rather than c/t off a benzodiazepene.  It sounds like your doctor might be reasonable and flexible if he/she is willing to prescribe valium, since it is easier to taper off of due to the longer half life and would likely be a less intense experience. Draftsman is correct that you have tapered too quickly with the last big cut from .5 to .25, thus the intense symptoms you have had the last couple weeks.   To be sure, even a taper will result in withdrawal symptoms, but in most cases to a lesser degree.  

 

About three years ago, I had taken 6mg valium for a few week Int'l trip for jet lag and motion sickness.  After stopping it when I got back, I had vertigo and insomnia which put me in the ER.  My ENT and an otoneurologist reinstated me to 5mg valium and I tapered off it over about 9 months, cutting approximately .25mg per ten days (I went slowly to avoid a return of such intense s/x). It worked out great and others on forum have used the same method.  My physician in the ER, by the way, would not acknowledge that the vertigo was caused by the valium c/t three weeks earlier yet it is pretty well established that it can take up to a month for valium to process out of the body.  Unfortunately, many doctors are not taught about the sensitivities that some patients have to going off benzodiazepenes "too quickly".  The vestibular therapist I saw in the neurologists office told me that benzodiazepenes should always be tapered slowly, that all their patients taper slowly even off 2mg valium.  .5 lorazepam that you were taking up til early May is roughly equivalent to 5mg valium. Even though you have been at .25 for a couple weeks, I would consider going back up to .5 but via adding some evening valium to your current morning .25 and try to get that scrip as soon as possible as it will likely take a couple weeks for the valium to build up in your system.

 

Since you made that last cut recently, here's what I would do.  Ideally, ask your doctor to prescribe liquid valium which you can start taking in the evening but tablets would work at this point too.  You should keep taking the morning dose of lorazepam for the next two to three weeks while adding 2 to 2.5mg liquid valium or valium via tablets at night.  In effect you would be up-dosing a little back to where you were but I think it would make sense given your symptoms and recent history.

 

The valium will take a few weeks to build in your system as mentioned.  The .25 lorazepam you are taking is equivalent to 2.5mg valium should be replaced with valium in a few weeks so that your total will be about 5mg valium. You can then begin a slow taper  next month using the table which I will post below.  You can start by combining tablets or combining tablets and liquid but once down to about 2mg, I would do all liquid (in fact it is what I did to taper off valium 18 months ago).  I will come back and post a table that I showed my doctor and which I used to taper off valium.  This is just one way to go.  Others can weigh in and ultimately you will decide depending on how you are feeling.  If you are handling the s/x of the recent cut, you may also consider other options.

 

In any case, here is the table I used. good luck.

 

Using 5mg and 2mg Tablets to Reduce Your Valium by .25mg per cut

 

By using combinations of 5mg and 2mg Valium tablets, you can easily and accurately reduce your Valium dose in .25mg increments. This simple method works until you taper down to 1mg Valium, at which point you can continue to cut by .25mg by either slicing your 2mg Valium tablets into eight equal pieces (many people find this difficult, while others find it quite simple, opting to do this throughout their tapers), utilizing liquid Valium, having a compounding pharmacy produce special .25mg Valium tablets, or titrating.

 

One-half (1/2) of a 2mg Valium tablet equals 1mg

One-fourth (1/4) of a 2mg Valium tablet equals .5mg

(Simply cut your 2mg tablet in half, and then cut each half in half. You should end up with four pieces of the same size, with each piece equaling one-fourth (1/4) of your original 2mg tablet.)

One-half (1/2) of a 5mg Valium tablet equals 2.5mg

One-fourth (1/4) of a 5mg Valium tablet equals 1.25mg

As there are many possible combinations of the above, the following guide is simply a sample of options that will hopefully assist you on your tapering journey! (10mg Valium was an arbitrary starting point.).  Once reaching 2-3mg, some people find it easier to use liquid valium which allows for even smaller cuts as needed.

 

10mg: Two 5mg tablets (5mg + 5mg=10mg)

 

9.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg + .5mg = 9.75mg)

 

9.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg + 2mg = 9.5mg)

 

9.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg =9.25mg)

 

9mg: One 5mg tablet, two 2mg tablets (5mg + 2mg + 2mg = 9mg)

 

8.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg + .5mg =8.75mg)

 

8.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg + .5mg = 8.5mg)

 

8.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 2mg = 8.25mg)

 

8mg: One 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 2mg + 1mg = 8mg)

 

7.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + 1mg + .5mg = 7.75mg)

 

7.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 5mg tablet (5mg + 2.5mg = 7.5mg)

 

7.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg+ 1mg = 7.25mg)

 

7mg: One 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (5mg + 2mg = 7mg)

 

6.75mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg + .5mg = 6.75mg)

 

6.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1mg + .5mg = 6.5mg)

 

6.25mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet (5mg + 1.25mg = 6.25mg)

 

6mg: One 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + 1mg = 6mg)

 

5.75mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (2.5mg +1.25mg + 2mg = 5.75mg)

 

5.5mg: One 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (5mg + .5mg = 5.5mg)

 

5.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, two 2mg tablets (1.25mg + 2mg + 2mg = 5.25mg)

 

5mg: One 5mg tablet

 

4.75mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2.5mg + 1.25mg + 1mg = 4.75mg)

 

4.5mg: Two 2mg tablets, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (2mg + 2mg + .5mg = 4.5mg)

 

4.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg + 1mg = 4.25mg)

 

4mg: Two 2mg tablets (2mg + 2mg = 4mg)

 

3.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg +.5mg = 3.75mg)

 

3.5mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2.5mg + 1mg = 3.5mg)

 

3.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, one 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 2mg = 3.25mg)

 

3mg: One 2mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (2mg + 1mg = 3mg)

 

2.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 1mg + .5mg = 2.75mg)

 

2.5mg: ½ of a 5mg tablet

 

2.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ½ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + 1mg = 2.25mg)

 

2mg: One 2mg tablet

 

1.75mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1.25mg + .5mg = 1.75mg)

 

1.5mg: ½ of a 2mg tablet, ¼ of a 2mg tablet (1mg + .5mg = 1.5mg)

 

1.25mg: ¼ of a 5mg tablet

 

1mg: ½ of a 2mg tablet

 

You can use liquid valium to continue to taper small amounts from here

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome to BenzoBuddies, Jen5.

 

I was on lorazepam, too, and had to take it multiple times each day to avoid interdose withdrawal.  If you are just taking your dose 1x/day, that may be part of the trouble.  If you were doing okay at .5mg/day, I agree with draftsman about asking your doctor about going back to that dose and tapering more slowly off.  When I was at .5mg/day, I was taking 1/4 of a tablet (.125mg) 4x/day.  I then tapered off by dropping .125mg about every 2 weeks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Jen5 and welcome to BB! I also tapered directly off Lorazepam and took it twice a day. I agree that you should NOT just cold turkey the benzo. A slow steady taper is the safe way to go. Glad you found us, we are here to help.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm about 10 days off of the Lorazepam roller coaster myself.  Beeper and cantwaittobebetter are so right about spreading the dose out to at least 2X a day.  For me, I felt better taking 0.25mg twice a day vs 1.0mg once at night (that's right, half as much and I felt better).  The half-life is too short on this drug and puts your body through hell when you take it once a day.  Everyone I know that takes this drug only once a day and is able to function is almost always on another benzo or SSRI.

 

What you are feeling is very real, almost all of us have been there.  I would definitely recommend having another talk with your doctor and figure out a comfortable taper schedule.

 

Hang in there.

 

-Erik

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for all your comments with advice and encouragement!  :) I decided to stay at the .25mg since I was put through so much already and it feels a little better... so will try to hang in there. My doc. I will see June 6th and from there see what he tells me. I plan to go down more or just stop... and hoping for the best. I dont want to take anymore drugs at all so hoping that I can do it. Thank you for sharing your stories and helping me in this difficult time! Have a wonderful weekend! Jenny
Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...