Is it safe to use herbs such as passion flower, kava kava, GABA, ashwaganda while slowly reducing the amount of clonazepam taken daily. A pharmacist has advised me not to take any of the above as they may interact with the clonazepam. However, I've tried weaning off numerous times without any substitute such as a herb and have not had any luck. I've been taking a minimum of 6 mg of Clonazepam daily for 2 or 3 years now.
Just wondering if anyone has found it helpful to use herbs while cutting back on the Clonazepam. I would also be interested to know if anyone has tried herbs in combination with Clonazepam and has had negative expereinces.
My suggestion is to use Valerian root. The principle underlying Valerian root extract is almost the same as benzodiazepines like clonazepam. It will have some affinity with the GABAa receptor which is the same receptor involved when you are taking clonazepam. Also you have numerous pharmacologically active conpound in Valerian like some alkaloids: actinidine, chatinine, valerianine, and valerine. Isovaleramide, GABA, valeric acid, valepotriates, acevaltrate, isovaltrate, valtrate, acetoxyvalerenic acid and valernic acid. Also flavanones such as hesperidin, 6-methylapigenin and linarin.
Valerian root is the closest herb you can get similar to benzodiazepines. Yes it will interact with your clonazepam but the interaction is an increase interaction which means you basically like increasing clonazepam alone. I can't suggest you to use this herb nor give you any dosage information. What I can tell you are the facts. Don't perceive this as a medical advice.
Another advice a can suggest you if you want to succesfully taper you clonazepam is work with your doctor to use the cross-tapering technique which is tapering clonazepam and slowly introducing diazepam because diazepam is longer acting and is the benzodiazepine of choice for tapering. So talk to your doctor about cross-tapering with diazepam to ease the withdrawal.
Valerian can also be helpful as it won't cause addiction, so when you are on a low dose of benzodiazepine you are likely to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. The Valerian could be used to ease those symptoms but always check with your pharmacist and doctor for proper dosage and bring them the information they need to know about Valerian so they know how it is acting and what dose should be used. Once you are off the benzodiazepine you can quit Valerian without being addicted like you are with clonazepam.
The informaton above is for informational purpose only. It should not be perceived as a medical advice. Always check with you pharmacist and doctor before getting on any new supplement, herb or prescription drug.
Everyone can react differently to drugs. one drug doesn't fit all like one size doesn't fit all.
My understanding is klonopin is longer acting than diazepam. Am I wrong here? At any rate, the reason your pharmacist told you not to use those herbs while taking a benzo is they both target the same receptor, which is GABA. On the other hand, those experienced in herbs know when to take the herb so it doesn't cause a problem. There are meds that are used to ease the taper -- I think the two I've heard of are trazadone and neurontin. You might consult your psychiatrist on this. The difficulty of using herbs or another benzo is that they, at least in part with the herbs, are essentially double targeting the same receptor and could lead to an amount of GABA your body can't tolerate. What I would do is taper down slowly on the klonopin until you're down to a normal dose, which is 1-2mg a day. If you do that successfully, then you can think about introducing a relaxant herb to help you, under the care of a knowing physician or naturopath who can monitor you. Kava is the strongest relaxant of the herbs you mentioned, ashwagandha the least problematic as its effect on GABA is very little, while it's main effect is on the adrenals. But it will also be the least relaxing. The advice on valerian is good, as long as you know what you're doing. I take klonopin 2mg per day and have for years, and I have successfully used relaxant combinations to help when I've needed extra, but I know herbs well and how to take them. If you don't, seek expert help.
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