Jump to content

13 years of Klonopin to Diazepam substitution in 3 days! Advice?


Recommended Posts

Hello all. What a supportive environment. I am so grateful to you all.


I'll outline this in the most reader-friendly way I can and I'm hoping for some good input.


I was on Klonopin (Clonazepam) for 13 years. My dosage usually stayed within the range of .5mg to 1.0mg every evening and an occasional 2mg if I had had severe insomnia and anxiety (they usually go hand in hand for me). Long story short, I've had insomnia, anxiety and depression ON the Clonazepam off and on for 8 years. The MAIN problem was horrible insomnia, but I call it 'sleep deprivation,' because I wouldn't sleep a wink, and sometimes, this went on for days (I once went TEN days without sleep, literally). Recently, I'd sleep one night on Ambien, then be awake all night the next. I got addicted to Ambien and let me tell you, this is a horrible drug - much worse than any benzo. Also, my blood work, thyroid, etc. is all normal so the sleep difficulties are definitely drug-related and anxiety-induced.


Backtrack to 3 or so years ago and an amazing Psychiatrist who encouraged me to take Zoloft. I've only been able to tolerate 25mg of Zoloft and he understood this (my sensitivity to meds and their side effects is overwhelming). He even used a liquid form of Zoloft to "up it" a few mgs. He was supportive and caring and never "pushed" drugs on me. Sadly, my beloved Doctor whom was going to help me taper off of Clonazepam, passed away in 2006. I miss him everyday and wonder what he'd say about this new plan.


So now to the present: A new Doctor. An Internist. I actually found his name on one of these boards. He has substituted my Clonazepam for Diazepam and I was OFF OF CLONAZEPAM in THREE DAYS! But here's the deal, I felt fantastic the first few weeks on 10mg Diazepam 2x a day, and 25 mg of Zoloft 1x, but in the past 2 days I have reverted back to the insomnia / anxiety / sleepless / frightened occurrences. Also, I've been "playing" with the levels of Zoloft as the good Doctor directed. I found 50mg too much for me. I was anxious and feeling super-strange. I went back down to 37.5, still no good but slightly more tolerable. My brain must be so confused with all the lowering and increasing of this SSRI.


So here's what I'm on now, all input is appreciated.


25mg Zoloft (He had a plan for me to go up an interval each week, but the side effects were too strong so I'm staying with this for now but will be seeing him Monday).


10mg Diazepam (morning)


10mg Diazepam (evening) AND at anytime in between I can take and additional 5 mg of Diazepam if needed (which I had to do last night, and it didn't help).


Also, for sleep, he has prescribed Temazepam. I have been too scared to take it, and WAS sleeping the best I've slept in years just on the above schedule but the past two nights are SO reminiscent of the "Clonazepam days" and the fearful sleep-deprivation.


My question is: when should I start to taper off the Diazepam? Has it stopped working already? (It's been a total of 21 days). Also, has anyone found it helpful to take an anti-depressant on a higher level when coming off of a Benzo? My Dr. says it's like a "safety net" of sorts. To top it off, I'm starting a new job an April 6. Great timing, huh?


Scared, sleepless, restless and looking for anyone who's been in a similar situation as mine.


Thanks so much. And please hang in there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Ivybloom,


Welcome to BB,

wow, what a story.

Well, first, you have to understand that a benzo is a benzo. If you have developed a tolerence to klonopin then you have a tolerence to all of them. Plus, 1mg klon is equivelant to 20mg valium for the purposes of tapering, according to many. So you may not have been switched over to quite enough benzo. Temazepam is also a benzo. I would be leary of adding another benzo to your regimen. It may complicate your taper.


As for the zoloft, it's really best to try and go thru a benzo taper without it, but since you are alread on it, it would be better to stay on for now at least. Since you seem to have problems each time your try to increase your dose, I would stay at the dose you are at now, 25mg. Nothing worse than going up and down on these meds!


As  for when to start tapering, Valium takes a week or two to build up in your system which is why you are probably feeling bad right now. The klon is just now wearing off and the valium hasn't fully kicked in yet. I would give it another week or so before starting.


If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Are you familiar with the Ashton manual? I'll get the link for you. It's all about benzos and tapering, and has much helpful info.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Linda,


Thanks for that reply.


I think you are absolutely right about staying on the Zoloft at 25mg. My brain was starting to feel "zapped." And like you say, there's nothing worse than going up and down and up and down. No wonder I feel nuts.


I wonder, what is Seroquel? Did it help you or have you had to taper off that as well? I see you have it listed for 'severe situational insomnia.' Can you explain that to me? I think that might be something I experience often. How do you get sleep without drugs?


Thanks again and I'll consult the Ashton manual!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ivy, Here's my story.




Seroquel is an anti psychotic which had been prescribed to me off-label for the insomnia. It has very strong antihistamine properties and very sedative. Probably the above link explains it all.

As for how I get sleep without drugs, I just do, mostly. It's not perfect, but mostly fine. There are occasional times where I HAVE to get a good nights sleep, and those are the nights I usually don't. Proving that it's all in my head. If I have something important to get up early for, I will take something like unisom or atarax. Unisom is an otc medication similar to benadryl, and atarax is prescription only. It's basically an antihistamine also.


The key is not to take them regularly as they will lose effectiveness. I save them for special occasion only!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ivybloom,

I wanted to say hello. Glad you found us. Linda of course gave you great advice, so I'll just say...I'm wishing you all the best. I hope you begin to feel better soon. I'm looking forward to yur progress. Kel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Kel. And thank you!


I am so happy to see that you're Klonopin-free! So am I, but now I'm Diazepam-full! Arrrgh!


Life can be such a struggle at times...Hope you are well.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...