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Benzo withdrawal and taper information


[Va...]

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I just recently learned from my new psychologist how strong klonopin is.  He (and I) would like me to discontinue.  I'm unsure as to how to taper/ and or withdraw.  I've been on Klonopin since 1/11 at .5 at bedtime only.  June 26th my family dr. upped it to .5 three times per day and I gladly welcomed the increase.  I now know how strong and dangerous they are and want to taper off.  Perhaps staying on .5 at night for insomnia.  I take ambien cr 12.5 and lamictal 200 mg. at bed time.  The titration table and info is very confusing as I'm not thinking clearly.  I've had addition issues in the past w/ vicodin and xanax...so am not very happy I was prescribed this med.  I'm glad to have found this site and hope I can understand the instructions!

 

Blessings!

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Hello ValAnne, a warm welcome to BenzoBuddies!

 

Klonopin is indeed a very potent benzo, pretty much like Xanax except it has a longer half-life.  We will gladly help you figure out a plan to get off of this drug in a slow, safely manner.  Are you currently at .5 mgs or still at 1.5 mgs daily?  When you said the doctor upped your dose to .5 mgs three times per day on June 26th, did you mean May, April or some other previous month?  I make mistakes all the time and blame it on the benzo-brain.  ::)

 

You may want to discontinue the Ambien cr first, as that acts on the same receptors as the klonopin and may be causing you uncomfortable interdose withdrawals.  You may be able to stop it cold turkey, but be prepared to experience some rebound insomnia.  If you prefer to taper it you can probably do so rather quickly (a month or less).

 

Titration can be confusing at first glance, and especially when our head is clouded by the benzos, but if you are interested in it we have a titration board where members will be glad to explain it to you and help you figure out plan.  Otherwise a straight dry cut taper may be suitable for you.  Many here have successfully tapered directly from klonopin.

 

If you have any other questions or concerns please ask  :)

 

Crono

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I have been on Ambien and now Ambien CR for chronic insomnia and the fact I might be bipolar (nobody seems to know fo sure).  I will simply not sleep w/o it.  My p-doc started me on .5 mg. of Klonopin (late Jan. 2011) to be taken at night w/ the Ambien CR.  I simply did not know anything about it and trusted her when she said it was a "baby dose."  I assumed when I told her of my past Vicodin and xanax abuse she's not prescribe something potentially harmful.  I'm no long w/ her and my internist is prescribing my meds.  I just saw a psycholgoist on Tues who enlightened me on the dangers of Klonopin and would like me to get off it.  Given my addictive tendencies I also want to quit. 

 

I've been taking .5 three times per day since 5/26...sometimes I take two of them in the morning and one at night -- I've never spaced them out, i.e., morning, afternoon and eve.  I don't believe my family dr. is qualified in tapering or which method I should use.  And, I've read many sites (this and the Ashton site) and am very confused on which method of titration I should use.  I do suffer from panic disorder, but the Klonopin was prescribed to help w/ my insomnia only.  I hope this helps clear up any confusion.

 

If I read correctly yesterday, does someone from this forum help me develop a withdrawal method or is that up to me.  Again...very foggy until evening when I become more clear-headed.  I'm hoping the short amount of time I've been taking it will be in my favor.

 

This a super forum...with much info...I'm just having hard time navigating and knowing how to get input from other members.

 

THANK YOU!!!

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  And, I've read many sites (this and the Ashton site) and am very confused on which method of titration I should use. 

 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the method of titration you should use?  There is only one method, as far as I'm aware.  The best thing for you to do would be to check out our titration board and see if it's something you would like to do.  I started my taper by simply dry-cutting my pills, and then I switched to titration at 0.75mgs of Klonopin.  If you decide that titration is the way forward for you, then a member of our team can draw up a titration schedule for you, but you would have to post such a request on our titration board.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have about titration on that thread, and someone will be along to answer them for you.

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Thank you!  I'll try to locate the titration board.  I'd read about tapering by just cutting the pills; tapering using diazepman and another method where you crush and add to milk.  So, there's where I got confused. 

 

Appreciate your patience and advice.

 

 

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Hi ValAnne,

 

I think dry cutting your dose for now would be a good way to start your taper.  I'm sorry you were given this drug without knowing how addicitve it is, but it's not too late to do something about it.

 

Since the Ambien CR is pretty much a benzo, would you like to begin by tapering it, or do you think reducing the Klonopin would be the place to start?  We suggest tapering only one benzo at a time.

 

If you decide to taper the Klonopin first, you might start by cutting one of your .5 mg pills in half and taking 1/2 less for a week or two which would be a reduction of .25 mg or 16.67% of your total dose to start out with.  Or if you wanted to take it slower, you could cut your .5 mg pill into quarters and take one quarter less for a week or two for a reduction of .125 mg or 8.33%.

 

Pam

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Welcome!

 

The only thing I would add to the good advice above are some thoughts about sleep. Both I and my husband have chronic sleep issues.

 

The thing is, just about any med taken for sleep is habit-forming. Worse, in time it stops working. So you have to up the dose, or get off.

 

Personally, I am going back to basics concerning sleep. There are worse things than broken sleep, and that's the prison of addiction.

 

There's a lot of lost sleep in the withdrawal process that I have come to accept. I'm hoping that in time my body will re-gain a decent measure of natural sleep.

 

You're on right path. Good luck!

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Thanks for all the helpful hints and advice.  Yes, I wish I knew "then" what I know "now" about Klonopin; esp. since I told my p-doc about past issues with Vicodin and xanax (not at the same time); both of which ended me up in the hospital for a bit.

 

I've read SO much online about tapering/titration (is there a difference) that I'm totally confused.  I've read about the Ashton method(s) and don't know which one will work best for me.  Since a benzo is a benzo is a benzo I'm not sure I want to use one (i.e., valium) to get off Klonopin.  To my way of thinking that's just replacing one addiction w/ another...but I don't know!  I'm horrible w/ numbers but wonder what the advantage(s) are of using the wet method where you crush and add to water or milk?  Is that for people who've used higher amounts for longer periods of time?

 

I believe for now I'll reduce each dose by 1/4th and take it nice and slow...say taper by 25% every two weeks? 

 

Are there any supplements or vitamins that can help reduce the w/d symptoms or you just have to muddle through.  I've gone thru xanax w/d cold turkey...that put me in the hospital w/ suicidial ideation.  Don't care to repeat that scenario.

 

I'm taking Ambien CR and Lamictal because I may be bipolar...without sleep aids I simply do not sleep...at all...my body might be tired, but my mind will not shut down.  I'm seeing a pyschologist who's familiar w/ all my issues; anxiety, depression, addiction and he's going to be working with me, but he'd not even heard of the Ashton method...so here I am...hoping for words from the horse's mouth so to speak. 

 

I might add that I have only used .5 Klonopin since late Jan. and my dr. then wrote the prescription incorrectly for .5 3 x per day in late May; and I didn't question it.  One in a series of mistakes.  I have not taken it regularly...except for the .5 at night.  Does that affect the tapering or withdrawal; not having a consistent amount in my system?  So much I did not know and still do not know.  What a horrible way to learn!

 

But, am so grateful for this site!  Thanks again to all who've given support. 

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ValAnne,

 

So sorry to hear about the situation you have found yourself in.  I think we have some things in common.  I started taking clonazepam (generic klonopin) in March at about .5 per day.  In mid April I realized I couldn't stop it and found this board for support.  I tried a couple times to just stop and the pain was too much.  Found the right doctor and he recommended stabilizing at my .5 dose for two weeks and then being tapering.  I have chosen to taper 10% per week and the withdrawal has been manageable.  I also have been taking ambien for over 10 years and will have to deal with that after my current taper.

 

The most important thing you may learn here is to follow what our body tells you.  If you can taper at 25% every two weeks and the withdrawal symptoms are manageable then that could be your plan.  You may find that it gets more difficult as you reach lower doses.  If that should happen, just slow things down. 

 

The most important thing for now is to get started with your taper.  Keep us posted on your progress.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Kelly

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