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Inauspicious start to Ativan taper


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As some might be aware from my posts in the 'Introductions' thread I've been planning on tapering from 1 mg (2 pills) a day of Ativan after a two-week "stabilization" at that dosage. The stabilization was a success and I intended on cutting a .5 mg pill in half and try that for 2 weeks. If all went well, I'd cut the other pill in half, go two weeks, etc.

 

Anyway, the pill-cutter we have doesn't cut these teeny pills cleanly in half  :tickedoff: I've come close with a couple but close doesn't cut it (pardon the pun). Unfortunately the only razor blade we have is dull and it cut worse than the pill-cutter so I had to abort the taper. I'll look for another another pill-cutter and buy some razor blades tomorrow and try it again. Suddenly I'm thinking cutting these tiny pills might be harder than I thought.

 

 

 

 

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I am having the same problem.  My pill cutter is a piece of junk and does not cut the pills in half like it says it should.  I think we should use razor blades instead for more precise cutting.  I still need to buy one.  I can imagine how hard it is with .5mg but if you are careful you should be able to get them cut in half one way or another.
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A different pill-cutter seemed to do the trick. Starting taper from 1 mg. with AM dose 1 (.5mg) pill, PM dose ½ (0.25 mg) pill.
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Surprisingly I had my best luck breaking the pill in to 1/4 using my finger nails, razor blades seemed too hard and splintered the tab when cutting in 1/4.  There must be a better way out there??  I am going to look into a "Compounding Lab" nearby since they do reduction pills for withdrawals.
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Ativan is water soluble.

 

Put a pill in water until it dissolves, shake well, and drink the amount that gives you the target dosage.

 

I'd put my daily dose of klonopin in two cups of water, and drink one cup every 12 hours.

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Ativan is water soluble.

 

Put a pill in water until it dissolves, shake well, and drink the amount that gives you the target dosage.

 

I'd put my daily dose of klonopin in two cups of water, and drink one cup every 12 hours.

 

Let's say I decide to take a 1/4 pill and find cutting a pill to that size problematical - would it be as simple as dissolving a pill and drinking 1/4 of a cup?

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Yes, that would work, Steve.  Of course, you "waste" 3/4 of a pill but if that isn't a consideration, this might be the best route for you to take right now.
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Yes, that would work, Steve.  Of course, you "waste" 3/4 of a pill but if that isn't a consideration, this might be the best route for you to take right now.

 

Well that certainly takes the terror out of titration.  ;)

 

If my current taper goes according to plan I might go that route the week of July 24th. Right now I'm taking a .5 mg pill and a half (.25) pill. On July 11th I'm aiming to cut my other pill in half and take two halves for two weeks. I originally was going to just eliminate one of the pills after that but am thinking of reducing to 0.125 mg.

 

So far I'm on Day 3 of the first phase of my taper and (knock on wood) haven't felt the need to backtrack from the 1/2 pill reduction.

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Today will be Day 10 of my first round of Ativan tapering in which I cut a 1/2 pill (.25 mg) from a stabilized 1 mg. This round has been so easy (basically I'm not even aware I'm tapering) that I'm tempted to move onto Round 2 (splitting the other pill) before waiting the two weeks.
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Hello Steve:

 

Congratulations on your successful taper thus far.

 

I too am hoping to get off ativan. I was taking 1 mg AM and sometimes another .5 in afternoon. Did not realize I had developed tolerance and began having more and more anxiety. Determined to get off now. I started .25, .25, .25 spaced by 8 hours yesterday and have had some leg muscle pain, nausea, headache, waves of anxiety and hardly slept. Hoping to stabilize still at this schedule and then either taper directly or cross-over to valium first and then go down very slow. Am I understanding you correctly that when you went from 1 mg a day to .75, you had no symptoms of withdrawl at all? Or were they there but tolerable? If you had none with a 25% withdrawal, do you have an idea why you were so fortunate? Did you take anything that helped?

 

At this point, I am hoping to hang on with the .75 and not go up at all before taper.

 

Beeper, if you see this do you have any thoughts on what I am experiencing?

 

Thanks!

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Hi Steve,

I'm tapering lorazepam (ativan) also.

If I understand you correctly you have gone from 2mg/day to 1.75mg/day holding for 10 days.  Sounds about right to me.  I went too fast and am paying the price now. (I didnt know any better at the time).

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Hello Steve:

 

Congratulations on your successful taper thus far.

 

I too am hoping to get off ativan. I was taking 1 mg AM and sometimes another .5 in afternoon. Did not realize I had developed tolerance and began having more and more anxiety. Determined to get off now. I started .25, .25, .25 spaced by 8 hours yesterday and have had some leg muscle pain, nausea, headache, waves of anxiety and hardly slept. Hoping to stabilize still at this schedule and then either taper directly or cross-over to valium first and then go down very slow. Am I understanding you correctly that when you went from 1 mg a day to .75, you had no symptoms of withdrawl at all? Or were they there but tolerable? If you had none with a 25% withdrawal, do you have an idea why you were so fortunate? Did you take anything that helped?

 

At this point, I am hoping to hang on with the .75 and not go up at all before taper.

 

Beeper, if you see this do you have any thoughts on what I am experiencing?

 

Thanks!

 

Wow, outside of the c/t misery I never had the w/d symptoms you're describing. Unless your situation improves soon I'd suggest reconsidering your .25 cut. You should stabilize on a dose that is comfortable before trying to taper. If the .25 mg cut is going to tear you up, try a .125 reduction (1/4 pill). If that doesn't result in a sufficient improvement then stabilize at 1 mg. The key is to taper when you're ready.

 

Regarding my taper you are correct.  I reduced from 1 mg (2 pills) to .75 (1.5 pills) after a 2 week stabilization and basically haven't experienced any symptoms at all that I could pin on w/d. Oh, I had some short-duration "waves" of anxiety the first couple days but I think it was more a case of taper-nervousness than an Ativan counter-attack. My sleep also could be better but I'm getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night and actually averaged less prior to the taper. I think a couple things have helped my situation. First and foremost, I don't think the 'benzo hole' I fell in was all that deep. I took the stuff for only a few weeks and think the dependency issue, while there, wasn't as pronounced as it would have been had I took Ativan longer or at higher doses.  The second thing was the stabilizing at 1 mg for two weeks. I was totally comfortable and when I took the plunge I was ready.  I think this is important throughout the taper: Be comfortable with the current dose before dropping.

 

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Hi Steve,

I'm tapering lorazepam (ativan) also.

If I understand you correctly you have gone from 2mg/day to 1.75mg/day holding for 10 days.  Sounds about right to me.  I went too fast and am paying the price now. (I didnt know any better at the time).

 

Good luck to you.

 

I went from basically 1.5 mg a day (only took 4 pills a couple times) to a stabilized 1 mg for two weeks before my taper. My taper-rate is aggressive but so far I found no need to tap the brakes. I agree that going too fast is a mistake, I tried a c/t that roughed me up good and think one has to be comfortable with their current dose before reducing. 

 

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I am having the same problem.  My pill cutter is a piece of junk and does not cut the pills in half like it says it should.  I think we should use razor blades instead for more precise cutting.  I still need to buy one.  I can imagine how hard it is with .5mg but if you are careful you should be able to get them cut in half one way or another.

well i heard about this solution to pill cuting and tapering after i jumped, but i'm happy to pass it along...get a gram scale see how much one pill weighs , and then make your cuts accordingly....this way you can still use little bits and pieces to get to the proper weight for your cuts

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I am having the same problem.  My pill cutter is a piece of junk and does not cut the pills in half like it says it should.  I think we should use razor blades instead for more precise cutting.  I still need to buy one.  I can imagine how hard it is with .5mg but if you are careful you should be able to get them cut in half one way or another.

well i heard about this solution to pill cuting and tapering after i jumped, but i'm happy to pass it along...get a gram scale see how much one pill weighs , and then make your cuts accordingly....this way you can still use little bits and pieces to get to the proper weight for your cuts

Thanks for sharing that 1after909 and congrats on your jump.  :thumbsup:

 

I'm a couple days into my second round of tapering (2 spaced half-pills, 0.5 mg total) and so far, so good.  ;D

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Steve

please be warned cutting .5mg from 2mg is different than cutting .5mg from 1.5mg because its a % game.  these two cuts are not the same, your more recent cut is more agressive, and exceeds the general 10% cut idea, but good luck!

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Hey Steve,

 

I wouldn't be too worried about the pills not cutting exactly correct. If one half seems significantly bigger than the other, then I would suggest cutting a more accurate pill. Whatever is comfortable and doesn't cause you anxiety. I know when I first started dry cutting I would go all kinds of crazy thinking if I was even the slightest bit off that it would affect my taper.

 

I read that you're cutting the pills in halves. I take Xanax, which I've read is similar to Ativan. For me, I don't think I can handle a half reduction. If the w/d's are manageable you can always proceed with how you're tapering, but don't feel bad if you have to cut the pill into quarters. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Steve

please be warned cutting .5mg from 2mg is different than cutting .5mg from 1.5mg because its a % game.  these two cuts are not the same, your more recent cut is more agressive, and exceeds the general 10% cut idea, but good luck!

 

I do consider myself lucky in a way after reading about the trials some people are going through. Regarding the percentages of the cut I think there's no 'one size-fits all' solution. Obviously someone who took a benzo longer than me and at higher doses would have a tougher time than I have had so far with my .25 mg cut rate.

 

Good luck back at ya!  8)

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Hey Steve,

 

I wouldn't be too worried about the pills not cutting exactly correct. If one half seems significantly bigger than the other, then I would suggest cutting a more accurate pill. Whatever is comfortable and doesn't cause you anxiety. I know when I first started dry cutting I would go all kinds of crazy thinking if I was even the slightest bit off that it would affect my taper.

 

That first pill cutter was pathetic - I was getting 65-35 and 70-30 splits, that's why I aborted for a day. The second pill-cutter wasn't always perfect but it was good enough. The current round I'm in has me taking the equivalent of a pill a day (.5 mg) so I'm not sweating tiny variances in the cut -it all evens out at the end of the day. My next (and hopefully last) round where I take only half a pill might be a little tricky though since I'll probably cut it in half and take two spaced 0.125 mg doses.  

 

I read that you're cutting the pills in halves. I take Xanax, which I've read is similar to Ativan. For me, I don't think I can handle a half reduction. If the w/d's are manageable you can always proceed with how you're tapering, but don't feel bad if you have to cut the pill into quarters. Slow and steady wins the race.

 

I like your last sentence. It would make a good sig.  ;)

Don't worry. I have no intention of letting an inflexible schedule determine my actions. I've been doing these .25 mg cuts without an Ativan backlash but would not endure w/d hell when I can simply accept that I cut too much and try it again at a lower rate. In essence I've already done that before when I tried the c/t approach.

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For the first time since I started tapering I experienced some discomfort. It probably started yesterday but I put it down to too much coffee after having to wake up early. Basically an anxious nervous-stomach type feeling that subsided as the day went on. Sleep wasn't as good last night and I got a leg cramp for the first time in years. This morning started out OK but then after just one cup of coffee the nervous stomach/anxious feeling returned, only much stronger this time along with a weird headache, rapid heart-rate and shakes. I can't say I had anxiety in the mental sense but it was like my body thought I did. Does that make sense? It got bad enough that I considered moving my first half-pill up a couple hours (I usually take it around 1 PM) but the symptoms abated. I've been fine since. It'll be interesting to see what happens tonight as far as sleep goes and if there's another morning episode after I have a cup of joe.  I'm also beginning to wonder if the brief bouts of anxiety I had at the beginning of the previous round of tapering was actually w/d instead of just being nervous about starting a taper.
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I know what you mean about your body feeling like it has anxiety, but not your mind. Tapering has made my stomach a little messed up in the morning and at night. Sometimes, instead of telling myself it's withdrawal, I get anxious over it, which in turn makes my stomach hurt even more. If you want some tips to help easy your anxiety, you can head over to the anxiety bored. The link provided is one of my favorite threads on there.

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=13001.0

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I know what you mean about your body feeling like it has anxiety, but not your mind. Tapering has made my stomach a little messed up in the morning and at night. Sometimes, instead of telling myself it's withdrawal, I get anxious over it, which in turn makes my stomach hurt even more. If you want some tips to help easy your anxiety, you can head over to the anxiety bored. The link provided is one of my favorite threads on there.

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=13001.0

 

Thanks for the link, the poster Jeff provides a very helpful set of "tips." I've been working on my own techniques for dealing with anxiety since this whole dependency thing occurred and, outside of acknowledging that I actually had an anxiety issue which I think was the most important step, I've incorporated a self-reflection approach which is very similar to #2 on Jeff's list of tips. The few times I've had situations where anxiety could rear it's ugly head lately I've had success dealing with it.

 

Regarding my taper and how I'm feeling: I'm fine today. I slept better overnight and passed the coffee test this morning (only a little butterflies today). I'm thinking each time I reduce my dose I'm going to have these mini Ativan counter-attacks which probably is worsened by the strong coffee I brew. Lack of sleep probably was another contributing factor. The scary thing about yesterday was that while I was having the symptoms I didn't know how bad it was going to get. It was a level 7 out of 10 there for a while and I was asking myself, "Is it going to just get worse and worse?" Well, it didn't. That'll help if this thing happens again when I make my next cut.

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For the first time since I started tapering I experienced some discomfort. It probably started yesterday but I put it down to too much coffee after having to wake up early. Basically an anxious nervous-stomach type feeling that subsided as the day went on. Sleep wasn't as good last night and I got a leg cramp for the first time in years. This morning started out OK but then after just one cup of coffee the nervous stomach/anxious feeling returned, only much stronger this time along with a weird headache, rapid heart-rate and shakes. I can't say I had anxiety in the mental sense but it was like my body thought I did. Does that make sense? It got bad enough that I considered moving my first half-pill up a couple hours (I usually take it around 1 PM) but the symptoms abated. I've been fine since. It'll be interesting to see what happens tonight as far as sleep goes and if there's another morning episode after I have a cup of joe.  I'm also beginning to wonder if the brief bouts of anxiety I had at the beginning of the previous round of tapering was actually w/d instead of just being nervous about starting a taper.

 

Hi Steve,

 

This sounds more like a (mild) regular version of my w/d symptoms.  I dont think we can overlook  possible tolerance buildup plus there is just so much individual variation. I have been on ativan only a few months but some others have been on much longer and are w/d with few symptoms.  In the end I say listen to your body.

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I'm thinking it was a result of my current .25 mg reduction. I felt some anxiety after my previous cut as well that I didn't initially attribute to w/d. The good news is that in both cases the symptoms were manageable and didn't last long.  After this latest episode I haven't had any more symptoms outside of some mild butterflies after my morning coffee yesterday. Today I didn't have any symptoms so hopefully that's the end of it...for this round.  I won't be surprised if I feel Mr. Ativan tug back again in a little over a week when I make what is hopefully my final cut.
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