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How do I know if my Klonopin taper is actually safe? Under advisement by a nurse practitioner not an MD.


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[Mo...]

Hello all, and I'm so happy to have found this site! Any help anyone has would be greatly appreciated as I'm feeling quite frightened at the moment.

Long story short  - 2mg to .5 taper Klonopin under advisement by NP. Have been on Klonopin for 6 yrs. 1 sometimes 2mg daily.

Nurse practitioner immediately had me reduced to 1 mg daily for six days, then to .5mg which I've been on for 2 weeks. I am on a waiting list to actually be able to get a psychiatrist at the same psychiatric group. 

I really thought I was doing fine and then for the past five days, now getting panic attacks, hallucinations, muscle pain and back pain, completely restless and can't relax, and of course either can't sleep and when I do sleep and nightmares are violent and horrific. I feel manic and as if I am a river flowing into psychosis.

I'm thinking that this taper was far too quick. And I should have literally started shaving off the pill or gone down maybe a quarter of a pill a week. 

Of course I got on YouTube and all I'm seeing are complete horror stories. Probably the biggest mistake but at least one video directed me to this site.

I believe the plan is to keep me on the .5 for a month and then move me down .25. From everything I'm seeing on the internet, this can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms where basically my life is going to be destroyed for probably 1 to 3 years. 

With all the above stated, has anyone else gone through taper like this? Is this a normal taper or is it abnormally quick or even ridiculously quick? Can this taper possibly cause brain injury? With the taper like this has anyone gone through the same withdrawal symptoms and how long did it last?

Unfortunately my primary care physician really doesn't know the best way to do this, which is why I'm seeing this nurse practitioner specializing in pharmacology, who is a consultant for a psychiatry group in which I'm still waiting to even talk to a psychiatrist.  And yes it is the only psychiatric group in my state that even takes my insurance. As I cannot find a psychiatrist who even takes insurance at all, so I'm pretty much stuck. 

Hopefully this post was somewhat coherent as I am finding myself quite confused and don't even know if I make sense right now. Thank you so much to anyone who has any advisement or could offer suggestions since I am sitting here crying feeling quite hopeless.

 

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[Co...]
5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

Hello all, and I'm so happy to have found this site! Any help anyone has would be greatly appreciated as I'm feeling quite frightened at the moment.

Long story short  - 2mg to .5 taper Klonopin under advisement by NP. Have been on Klonopin for 6 yrs. 1 sometimes 2mg daily.

Hello @[Mo...]. Welcome to BenzoBuddies.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

Nurse practitioner immediately had me reduced to 1 mg daily for six days, then to .5mg which I've been on for 2 weeks. I am on a waiting list to actually be able to get a psychiatrist at the same psychiatric group.

If your daily dose varied between 1mg and 2mg, I don't think it is unreasonable to start off by stabilising at 1mg. Especially if the 2mg dose was infrequent. The subsequent reduction to 0.5mg after six days is a much larger reduction and and faster than I would suggest to anyone after 6 years of use. I think it is faster than what the majority of doctors would instruct too.

When do you anticipate seeing the psychiatrist? Perhaps he/she will be more sympathetic to you following a more gradual taper.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

I really thought I was doing fine and then for the past five days, now getting panic attacks, hallucinations, muscle pain and back pain, completely restless and can't relax, and of course either can't sleep and when I do sleep and nightmares are violent and horrific. I feel manic and as if I am a river flowing into psychosis.

It is unsurprising that you are experiencing these withdrawal effects. I sympathise with the nightmares - I had all manner of disturbing dreams during my withdrawal.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

I'm thinking that this taper was far too quick. And I should have literally started shaving off the pill or gone down maybe a quarter of a pill a week.

What dose pills do you use? I would suggest using 0.5mg pills (the smallest available) and at least halving (better, quartering) these to allow reductions to dose of about 0.125mg.

Can you resist making further reductions until you see the psychiatrist? In your shoes, I would be looking to stabilise my dose until I felt better and make make smaller reductions going forward.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

Of course I got on YouTube and all I'm seeing are complete horror stories. Probably the biggest mistake but at least one video directed me to this site.

Yes, Youtube is probably best avoided. It is the worse cases, and you cannot be sure there are not other factors in the mix which does correlate with your situation.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

I believe the plan is to keep me on the .5 for a month and then move me down .25. From everything I'm seeing on the internet, this can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms where basically my life is going to be destroyed for probably 1 to 3 years.

That overstated. I am not suggesting that these things cannot happen, but again, these are worst case scenarios. Having said that, given what you have already experienced, and assuming there is no unusual pressing medical need for you to quit benzodiazepines soon, why the rush? (That's a rhetorical question directed at your NP, not you.)

You might well find that you are OK after a month 0.5mg. Mileage varies enormously, so you will just have to wait and see. But without a pressing need to quit, I would generally suggest making 0.125mg reductions to dose, every 1-2 weeks or longer if you feel you need it. The problem is that some medical care providers do not allow for such flexibility - there is generally no need to be so rigid.

By the way, why are you quitting? Was this your decision, or is this being forced upon you?

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

With all the above stated, has anyone else gone through taper like this? Is this a normal taper or is it abnormally quick or even ridiculously quick? Can this taper possibly cause brain injury? With the taper like this has anyone gone through the same withdrawal symptoms and how long did it last?

It is, unfortunately, quite common for doctors to force rapid tapers along these lines. But it varies a lot. Some doctors allow more time (and/or smaller reductions), and others will even let the patient manage their own tapers.

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

Unfortunately my primary care physician really doesn't know the best way to do this, which is why I'm seeing this nurse practitioner specializing in pharmacology, who is a consultant for a psychiatry group in which I'm still waiting to even talk to a psychiatrist.  And yes it is the only psychiatric group in my state that even takes my insurance. As I cannot find a psychiatrist who even takes insurance at all, so I'm pretty much stuck.

Again, why are you quitting clonazepam?

5 hours ago, [[M...] said:

Hopefully this post was somewhat coherent as I am finding myself quite confused and don't even know if I make sense right now. Thank you so much to anyone who has any advisement or could offer suggestions since I am sitting here crying feeling quite hopeless.

You make sense. The (forced) taper rate does not make much sense to me, but it is not that unusual.

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[Bu...]

Hello @[Mo...],

Welcome to BB from me too.

I'm sorry for everything you're dealing with right now.  This can be a very confusing and overwhelming process at times, but there is a wealth of good information and support here.  I'm glad you found us.

Have you had a chance to tell your doctor or the NP about your current symptoms?  Is the NP you're seeing now open to discussing a slower taper?

Many people here taper with a plan devised with help from fellow Buddies.  It's nice when someone finds a doctor who is very knowledgeable about slow, symptom lead tapers, but as long as you have someone to prescribe for you, it isn't necessary for that doctor to know how to taper.

On a personal note, I came off Klonopin last summer, way too quickly, but I am recovering.  I didn't find this site until after I was off, so IMO, you are way ahead of the game.  Don't lose hope, we're all here to help you figure this out.

 

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[Mo...]
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, [[C...] said:
Quote

Hello @[Mo...]. Welcome to BenzoBuddies

 

If your daily dose varied between 1mg and 2mg, I don't think it is unreasonable to start off by stabilising at 1mg. Especially if the 2mg dose was infrequent. The subtenant reduction to 0.5mg after six days is a much larger reduction and and faster than I would suggest to anyone after 6 years of use. I think it is faster than what the majority of doctors would instruct too.

Agreed. I was actually thinking of dialing it back to .75mg for two to four weeks then going down to .5mg

When do you anticipate seeing the psychiatrist? Perhaps he/she will be more sympathetic to you following a more gradual taper.

@[Co...] Thank you for having me as well as your quick response! 🙂

I wish I knew. I'm currently on a waiting list. For an available psychiatrist. I'll be calling again tomorrow to see what's happening with this.

3 hours ago, [[C...] said:

It is unsurprising that you are experiencing these withdrawal effects. I sympathise with the nightmares - I had all manner of disturbing dreams during my withdrawal.

What dose pills do you use? I would suggest using 0.5mg pills (the smallest available) and at least halving (better, quartering) these to allow reductions to dose of about 0.125mg.

Can you resist making further reductions until you see the psychiatrist? In your shoes, I would be looking to stabilise my dose until I felt better and make make smaller reductions going forward.

Yes, Youtube is probably best avoided. It is the worse cases, and you cannot be sure there are not other factors in the mix which does correlate with your situation.

That overstated. I am not suggesting that these things cannot happen, but again, these are worst case scenarios. Having said that, given what you have already experienced, and assuming there is no unusual pressing medical need for you to quit benzodiazepines soon, why the rush? (That's a rhetorical question directed at your NP, not you.)

You might well find that you are OK after a month 0.5mg. Mileage varies enormously, so you will just have to wait and see. But without a pressing need to quit, I would generally suggest making 0.125mg reductions to dose, every 1-2 weeks or longer if you feel you need it. The problem is that some medical care providers do not allow for such flexibility - there is generally no need to be so rigid.

By the way, why are you quitting? Was this your decision, or is this being forced upon you?

It is, unfortunately, quite common for doctors to force rapid tapers along these lines. But it varies a lot. Some doctors allow more time (and/or smaller reductions), and others will even let the patient manage their own tapers.

Again, why are you quitting clonazepam?

You make sense. The (forced) taper rate does not make much sense to me, but it is not that unusual.

I have one milligram pills right now, but that is a wonderful idea. Thank you!!! I think the .5 makes far more sense to help in tapering down. It is my primary care physician that prescribed my medication so I will definitely be getting in touch with him tomorrow to change my pills. Much better than smashing them into pieces like I have been.

Regarding why feel it is necessary to be rid of the Klonopin, it is that I have unfortunately figured out that I have now grown a tolerance, hence I think I may have developed an addiction.

My dog of 19 years just passed away, and because of the extreme, debilitating sorrow I'm embarrassed to say that I tried twice to take 3 mg just to try and dull my emotions a tad, and unfortunately realized that it felt exactly the same as being on 1 mg whereas 6 months ago I wouldn't have had a care in the world on 3mg. I spoke to my primary care physician and after my slap on the wrist he has prescribed Buspiron and agreed with me that I need to come off the Klonopin as addiction has set in. 

Thank you again and I think your suggestion is going to help me immensely! To me it just seems logical that the quicker you taper off of a benzo the more difficult withdrawal will be. I'm honestly not sure why the nurse practitioner just wants to pull me off of it so quickly. I definitely agree with you I think with this it's better to doctor ourselves with the taper.

 

 

 

Edited by [Mo...]
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[Mo...]

@[Bu...] Hello and thank you! 🙂 And thank you so much for your kind words. 

I'm so sorry to hear that you are still going through withdrawals. That is so horrible! 😥 But big congrats on being able to get off of that nasty drug. 🥳

I actually tried to get in touch with the NP when my problematic withdrawals began and they never called me back. I have a video appointment with them tomorrow and I will definitely be explaining that tapering down from benzos and not being able to get in touch with the person that is supposed to be helping you is unacceptable. Murphy's law... Story of my life.

The fact that you were able to actually completely come off of Klonopin just over a span of 4 months or so is quite impressive. I cannot imagine the horrible withdrawals though. I know to expect the withdrawals to last quite a while but hopefully for you they're not too debilitating.

I have severe panic disorder so have been on multiple benzos and can deal with most things, but I never expected that it would be this difficult to come off of Klonopin. Never expected to hallucinate and have my body jerking around like a puppet. Headaches, nausea and all the gastrointestinal issues I always expect but going into psychosis is completely shocking for me. I'm guessing this is caused by the super quick taper. There's a very good chance I will be firing my nurse practitioner when I speak to him tomorrow if he doesn't agree to a much more conservative plan.

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[Bu...]

Hey @[Mo...],  I forgot about time zone and hemisphere differences.  My last summer is probably not your last summer. :)  I have been off for about 10 months.  I was on .5 mgs a day and tapered down over 6 months and it was still too fast.  I'm just a bit of a cautionary tale for doing a slow taper.  Though I'm certainly nowhere near the worst case you'll find. 

48 minutes ago, [[M...] said:

I never expected that it would be this difficult to come off of Klonopin.

Yeah, me neither!

48 minutes ago, [[M...] said:

I'm guessing this is caused by the super quick taper. There's a very good chance I will be firing my nurse practitioner when I speak to him tomorrow if he doesn't agree to a much more conservative plan.

I think this is exactly the reason you feel so miserable.  And good for you, sticking up for your health and well-being.   Some lessons I learned from this are to ask a lot of questions, be my own advocate and be firm with what I need for my health.

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[st...]

 

Hi, my experience was very similar to yours as far as initial dose and rate of first reductions. You can see a summary timeline here: https://benzobuddies.org/profile/320694-[st...]/?tab=field_core_pfield_34

When reducing to 0.25 K too quickly, I had to go back to 0.5 due to very bad symptoms. I would have then tapered K slowly from 0.5 to zero but K turned on me so I had to cross over to Valium. I hope that you can stabilize and take as long as your body requires. I’m rooting for you.

You can read my more descriptive story here:

 

 

 

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