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Starting tapering, Approximately 10 years on Xanax .25 mg daily


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Hello everyone  :)

Looking for help with tapering, I’m on a very small dose of Xanax.

I stumbled across this group quite by accident. But it’s just what I need. Years ago I went into a spiral of uncontrolled anxiety after my daughter moved out of state. I’m a  nurse, I had to quit my job in the step down ICU. Had major panic attacks. Started working as a hospice nurse and the anxiety just kept getting worse. My doctor prescribed Xanax .5 twice a day as needed. I started breaking them in half taking .25, sometimes 0.5 mg. Fast forward 10 years later taking .25 mg every day. Occasional 0.5mg a few times a month.

I gave up on even trying to get off of it until I started EMDR therapy with a therapist. To work on PTSD from my childhood/young adulthood. I’ve noticed the Xanax really doesn’t work anymore, but I have no intention of increasing the dosing.

I’m also a second year Karate student at the age of 57. I’m intermediate level (green/black), and have found a wonderful outlet for the anxiety that has plagued me since childhood.

With the help of my therapist, and this group I intend to break free from the cycle of needing some thing each day to cope. I’m grateful for finding this group, some of the stories here are so much worse than my own, my heart and prayers are with all of you here. :smitten:

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I am on 0.25 mg of Xanax a day, sometimes 0.5 a few times a month for bad days. how do I taper to get off?

My doctor said to take 0.25 daily for a week then every other day then stop. Could I cut the tablets in quarters and take 0.125 to gradually taper off. It’s been 10 Years and I’m nervous about withdrawal.

 

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It's normal to be nervous about tapering and what's ahead. But you're going to be okay. I don't agree with your doctor's suggestion,  I think it's too fast. We also don't recommend skipping days because your blood serum levels need to be consistent otherwise you cause a whiplash effect. But this is your taper so we'll support whatever you want to do.

 

How are you currently doing on Xanax? Are you experiencing interdose withdrawal? How many times a day are you dosing?

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Hi CatieBug,

 

I merged your two threads together since its a good idea to have your taper questions in one place, this helps the members know what's been suggested and it helps you keep track of your replies.

 

My question to you is, have you ever discontinued benzo's before and if not, have you felt any odd symptoms while taking the Xanax that you might attribute to the drug?  The reason I ask is because many people can discontinue these drugs with little to no problem and then there is us, those of us who can't so I'm trying to figure out which camp you're in.

 

As for the occasional extra .25 dose, its a good idea to discontinue this practice and stay on a steady dose. 

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To Pamster and Jelly Baby

Also thank you for merging my questions. I wasn’t sure what or where to post to get started with decreasing or how.

I honestly don’t notice much effect at all from the Xanax anymore. Very little. Each day I take 0.25 mg in the  morning. Today and yesterday took an additional 0.25 because I was nervous about the dentist getting a tooth taken out. I don’t notice any sort of withdrawal in between doses.

I have not noticed any odd symptoms as a result from taking xanax. I have not discontinued using  it before. Or tried until now. I have in the past forgotten to take it by accident. And the next day not noticed anything unusual. I’m wondering if this is just psychological at this point, because today I took a half a tablet and felt better within 10 minutes. I’m a nurse, that’s not really possible. So could I be mentally dependent on it and not physically anymore?

So where to start? I’m really determined to do this.

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It sounds like your body has become tolerant to this dose if taking more helps you feel better, I'd say you've become physically dependent but I guess we won't know for sure until you start tapering. 

 

I would advise not taking anymore extra doses for a week or so before you begin your taper, we could deem this your first reduction but hopefully it will be easy for you since you only take a few extra doses in a month.

 

It sounds like your pills are .5mg, does dry cutting your pills with a razor blade or shaving them with a file appeal to you or would you feel more comfortable being a little more exact with titration by using scales.  These are all good methods for tapering, the method you feel comfortable and confident in is what will work for you, they all get the job done. Titration FAQ's

 

Edit: Added more precise language

 

 

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Thank you Pamster

Yes cutting them sounds like a great idea, I have a pill splitter. So I could cut them in quarters. They are 0.5 mg each. I have definitely noticed over the past year and I don’t feel as relaxed when I take the Xanax. Which is why I figure now would be a great time to try!

I have a great therapist, he is doing cognitive behavioral therapy/EMDR with me. So I’m not feeling as much anxiety like I was in general. That is also very helpful!

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Catiebug,

 

I would suggest either filing your pills or using titration as Pamster suggested to reduce your dose by 5-10% each time. It sounds to me you want to cut to 0.125mg if I'm understanding correctly which will be a 50% cut. That might be too much to tolerate if you would like to remain functional. To make a 10% cut from 0.25mg you need to cut 0.025mg from your dose which means lowering your dose to 0.225mg. That is why Pamster also suggested titration because it's sometimes easier to do it that way than filing.

 

I also think holding your dose at 0.25mg for a while to get used to this dose is a good idea. In the meantime you can research what method will be best suited for you to taper.  :thumbsup:

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Just a correction on my previous post.  I meant to say liquid titration might sometimes be easier than filing.
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Liquid as in liquid medication?

Or diluting? I think I would prefer just to quarter the tablets and decrease that way. I’ve never taken that much of it. And already feel like it isn’ working like it used to.

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I guess I really just don’t know how to go about it. It sounds too complicated to do filing. My dose is very small already. I think I’m going to try quartering and see how I feel. And run it by my therapist when I talk to him Friday.
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If you take a look at our Titration FAQ's you'll see the different ways to reduce your dose when your pill gets too small to cut.  Many members find their symptoms intolerable and slowing down their taper by using other methods to make their dose smaller is the only way to minimize symptoms.

 

As jelly baby stated, you cutting your .5 mg pill into quarters will mean you have four .125 pieces and taking .125 less each day from your .25 mg dose would be a 50% reduction, we advise no more than 5-10% to keep withdrawal symptoms manageable.  Its best to start low when starting out to gauge how you're going to react, you may find that 5-10% isn't a problem and if that's the case you can increase your next reduction but its a lot easier to increase your taper rate the next time than it is to get slammed with symptoms and suffer through them. 

 

I know this all sounds overwhelming but its like anything else, once you get the hang of it, its easy to do.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

:)

OK so I’ve gone a week taking 0.25 mg of Xanax, I was never on a high dose.

I’ve been on it for 10 years, generally 0.25 a day, but over the past couple of years taking 0.5mg on average four times a month for “bad days “ So average 1 xtra dose a week excerpt this week.

Over the past week, I have felt NO different. No increased anxiety or signs of withdrawal. Also I’ve been working with a therapist doing EMDR therapy with dramatic results in my overall sense of well being and anxiety.

My doctor and pharmacist have suggested just to reduce to 0.125 and then take it every other day and stop.. On here have been told to shave it, and gradually wean the dose. I guess I don’t see the point in that? I’m already on such a small dose, it just seems like I would be prolonging it. And I have no intention of taking anything else.

I feel mine is psychological dependence, and not chemical. The power of the mind is huge.

Suggestions from the moderators much appreciated.

 

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If you feel reducing your dose by 50% is the right call we'll certainly support that, this process is all about finding the right taper for you, we're all different.  However, if you begin to feel unwell I would suggest slowing it down so you can remain functional.  We don't recommend taking the medication every other day because it tends to produce a whiplash effect of symptoms, keeping blood serum levels constant helps minimize symptoms, but this is your call as well.

 

We just want you to get off the drug as painlessly as possible.  :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good morning Pamster and Jelly baby,

 

An update, I am holding at 0.25 mg daily for the past three weeks now. It was a rough past holiday weekend. I had family from out of town and my house is not that big. But I got through it without resorting to using extra Xanax. I am taking 0.25 each morning. Have not taken an additional 0.25 in three weeks.

My therapist is working with me, suggesting I skip a dose on Saturday or Sunday when I’m not so stressed. I would prefer just reducing the dose as all of you have suggested. Titrating slowly.

I think my barrier is wondering how I will feel without it. It’s a false sense of confidence when you take Xanax. Getting past the psychological dependence is hard.

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Catiebug,

 

You've done tremendously well to stay on the 0.25mg and not take any extra! Especially with the weekend and family around. Like you said we sometimes build this false sense of security that the drugs help us cope by reaching for the pills. I think this weekend you've proven to yourself you can do it without the pills. Also remember when we go through withdrawal the drug lies to us and I bet one of those lies is "you can't get through it without the meds".

 

You are so much stronger than you ever think, and you're going to beat the anxiety and beat the benzo's.

 

I totally agree with you it would be better not to skip doses .

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