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Avatar universal

Preparing to get off Klonopin

I've been taking 1 mg klonopin for 3 years.[started at 1/2 increased to 1 mg.] for depression, anxiety, and to sleep. This drug has done wonders for me in many ways, but now its time to come off. I've tried to taper off 1/4 at a time, but the hyperacusis [intolerance to loud sounds], lack of sleep, unbelievable groin itching, and my almost uncontrollable talking [feeling high, motor-mouth etc} made me go back on, now I take
1 1/4 at night to feel normal. Since I work as a waiter, I'm going to have to stop working to get off this. Please tell me what to expect, and how long I should plan on being out of work. Also has any one noticed an increase in rate of hair loss from Klonopin?... WILL THE HYPERACUSIS GO AWAY? this is my biggest concern at this time. Please help me. Thank you, Steve.
103 Responses
Avatar universal

I am currently taking 1 MG of Klonopin every four hours and have cut down from 12 MG over a month period without much trouble.

1 MG is a very small dose and you should be able to taper that in less than one week. You may want to see a psychiatrist about some of those problems you mentioned or even a Neurologist.

So far no hair loss on my end, but I do get up-tight when my dose is over an hour or two past due.

My psych doc put me on 12 MG of Klonopin as an in-patient for 10 days to get me off the alcohol withdrawal due to siezures I was having and then tried to reduce the dosage slowly as an out-patient. Then my psych doctor out me back in and tried to cut me down from 12 MG TO 6 MG because she was worried when I had relapsed on alcohol a couple of months ago and was mixing the two. I went into seizures and DT's in less than 36 hours. She had forced me to go into in-patient treatment, so after the DT'S attack that day I released myself. I freaked out and was ready to kill the entire staff there, I was in both alcohol and Klonopin withdrawal together. I don't know if she did that on purpose to teach me a lesson or made a mistake, but after I released my self and shook down for one more week at home and almost died of seizures I finally admitted myself again and she raised the dosage back up to 12 MG of Klonopin. Then she slowly tapered it to 6 MG over six weeks in-patient. She tried to cut another 1 1/2 MG over a three day period and I started  to shakedown again so she put me back on 6 MG. During this time I was diagnosed by a Neurologist as having a seperate seizure disorder from the withdrawal as well as withdrawal and anxiety disorder.

I am now released and am staying on the 6 MG OF Klonopin for seizures and anxiety. Also Neurontin for seizures.

Why did you decide to stop the Klonopin? Maybe the reason you are having such a hard time getting off such a small dose is you still have the anxiety disorder. Those types of mental disorders can stay with you for life. It is normal for a man to lose hair sometimes even at a fairly early age. I hear some of the SSRI'S cause hair loss such as Depakote. I got really sick on Depakote when my psych doc tried that on me. I could not take it. Anyway enough of my babbling for one day. Good Luck.
Avatar universal
IF the hyperacusis is related to the Klonopin withdrawal, it should go away, along with the other symptoms within at the most a few months.  I know when it is happening to you it seems like a few months is an eternity.  There is still not a great deal of firm evidence about what causes hyperacusis in most people.  Some evidence points to a brain chemistry dysfunction as being the cause in some patients, wheras a closed head injury or noise induced trauma may be the cause in other patients.  If your symptoms do not resolve you should seek a referral to an audiologist.  Furthermore, you should discuss these issues with your physician since you may need to be treated for the anxiety, etc. with another medication.
Avatar universal
Sorry for the double post. It was an accident.  Sorry.
Avatar universal

Rand, you also appear to be misinformed. Valium is also an addictive substance and since Steven is on a relatively low dose of Klonopin other anti-anxiety drugs would be more beneficial and give less chance of further addiction as Brian was mentioning above. Some withdrawal symtoms cannot be avoided even if taking Valium,(another benzodiazapine), simply to trade off for the Klonopin.

You obviously know somethings about addiction, but very little about mental disorders which in many cases are the reasons the individuals become addicted to their medications in the first place whether it be alcohol or drugs, illegal or prescribed.

There obviously was a reason Steven took Klonopin for three years. Many people also self medicate for other physical problems such as severe pain, that many addicting substances temporarily seem to help until the real addiction sets in.

Oh, by the way, Klonopin is good anti-convulsant, with very little side effects compared to the others I tried!

You should think before you type the next time.
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the great comments, keep'em coming, the more more information I have to work with, the better my chances for success. I WILL be checking out egroups.com, thanks rand. Any thoughts about using, melotonin, St Johns wort, Nytol, Sam-e to help with this, I've thought about Buspar, but drugs? I remember asking my original Psyc Doc at least a dozen times if I would have problems with addiction. His answer was always no!
Avatar universal
Let's keep in mind we are all here trying to help each other and none of us has all the answers.  Rand is correct that Klonopin is much stronger per mg than Valium (although 20 times may be a bit high).  I think Barbara is correct that there is usually no need to withdraw from benzodiazepines over the course of one year.  I have plenty of experience with patients withdrawing from benzos and it usually can be accomplished over a few months.  In looking back at Steven's post, he probably is withdrawing the medication too quickly, and, since even cutting down by a quarter is causing some real discomfort, switching over to Valium and then tapering it slowly would probably be beneficial.
Avatar universal

Rand,

WHEW!!!! And I thought I liked to babble. Yes I completely understood your initial post, however as you admitted in your second post there is no way of completely avoiding withdrawal symptoms.

You mentioned in your first post, "I can also tell you that 1 mg of Clonazapam is not a low dose at all and it might take you a year to taper it off slowly......"

This is the most rediculous thing I have read so far. A YEAR!!!!!! COME ON, GET REAL!!!! Why should anyone be playing around with addiction withdrawal for one year when it could take as little as one to two weeks using non-addictive drugs as temporary substitutes rather than another addicting drug such as Valium?

You mentioned, "I don't know who you are" and that you know the foremost authorities on addiction! OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH! I am so impressed! You seem to have a problem with grandioso thinking.

I don't see any credentials attached to your name, or your foremost authorities name anywhere backing you up on your statements!

As far as your so called experiences with your 9 years of Klonopin addiction withdrawal and comparing it to heroin withdrawal. Opiod withdrawals are said to be very painful but not deadly and one can get through it, especially with help. I have had Klonopin withdrawal myself and do not recall it being anything like what I have seen described as heroin withdrawal. I have not seen where you have tried benzo or alcohol withdrawal with little or no help! That can kill you. The SEIZURES AND DELIRIUM TREMENS really SUCK!!!!!!!

Thank God I am over that torture. I hope never to have to go through that again although somewhere down the line I probably will. I don't think my Doc will keep me on the 6 MG's forever, even for Status Epilepticus.

With your thinking Rand, it will take me an eternity to withdraw from that!


Steven,

I feel you should take Brian's advice you have seen on his posts here on this forum. He seems to really know what he is talking about and he has had experience with addictions and withdrawal.

Avatar universal

Sorry, I am really spacing out. I made another error, I have been off the booze for eight weeks not six. I am several hours past my time to take the Klonopin because I got busy and just forget about it. I usually start to space out when it is overdue. That's one of the main side effects I notice other than the seizures. I guess that's why my mood is going downhill too so I had better get with it.
Avatar universal
Barbara

You misunderstood me.
If you go back and read why it is easier to taper off Valium than Klonopin you might get it the second time around.
I hate explaining simple things twice.
Yes all benzos are *addicting* including Valium.
Valium is the benzo of choice to taper down off benzos with.
I will repeat this, study it carefully. I know EXACTLY what I am talking about and personally know the worlds foremost expert on benzo withdrawal, a psychopharmacologist in England who ran the worlds best kown exclusive benzo detox facility for 12 years and about 400 patients during that time.  Heather Ashton is quoted by just about every expert on the subject.
I am not going to bother debating this any further seeing as you missed almost everything I was trying to say.

There is NO risk of further addiction by following the proper stepwise switchover to valium and the very gradual tapering recommended in the Ashton manual.

But Klonopin is far from ideal for tapering from. Yes it is an anti-seizure medication but also prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders though not meant for use for more than 6 weeks. I was on it for 9 years :-(  If he is taking it for epilepsy or something like that then he should not stop but if it is for anxiety/panic/sleep problems or transient pain it is far preferable to deal with the sometimes awful stmptoms of those than it is to deal with the heroin like withdrawals.  Your advice on tapering from K will only serve to make him more miserable than he would need to be.

Here is what I said before:
" using Valium to do this would be a better choice since Clonazepams lowest dose is a .5mg tablet
and it has a medium half life of 18 to 50 hours but Valium which comes in 2 mg tablets is far easier to taper from. 1 mg of Clonazepam equals roughly 20 mgs valium. I bet few people here knew that !!
Also with the active metabolite in Valium, the half life is from 36 to 200 hours and without the
metabolite it is 20 to 100 so it is easier to keep a more even blood level of valium."

You can debate this till you are blue in the face if you like but the information here is 100% accurate.  Of course withdrawal symptoms usually cannot be avoided, I did not say they could. I am saying you will get a smoother ride down using valium because of the 2 mgs tablets available compared with the lowest dose of K which is .5mgs  equal to 5 Valium tablets of 2 mg strength.  Sorry you are having a problem understanding this. maybe you should consult with a pharmacologist ?  Incidently, my own doctor is a pharmacologist at he University of British Columbia.
If you don't agree with Heather Ashton and other experts on withdrawal,  then who do you think you are ?
( nothing personal is meant by this please )

Maybe I should put it in another way so anyone here can understand the simplicity.
Let's say you are down to the lowest available tablet of Klonopin which is .5mgs  It would be literally impossible to cut this down even by shaving the tablet carefully.  Because of this, a person on his way down cannot maintain an even blood level which makes it harder to avoid the horrible withdrawals that are possible.  I used this drug and I know.   Been there done that, have you ?
Now compare this one tablet to 5 tablets of 2 mg strength. Is it not obvious that it is easier to taper down when you hace 5 scored 2 mgs tablets rather than one .5 mg tablet of K ?

Again,  .5mgs of K is equal to 10 mgs of diazepam for WITHDRAWAL PURPOSES !!
I happen to have all the protocols here but I posted it once and I'm not sure why but the site here objected to it because of the rules of the site but I am not sure which rule so instead I would point those having need of more information from people actually going through this to go to the support site:
http://www.egroups.com/group/benzo
so I don't break the rules here.  Anyway,  there are 425 members there who can answer a persons questions.  The group is growing every day by about 1 or 2 members.

I was quite insulted by your tone. You don't know who I am nor do you have the credentials to challenge the world experts on this subject who I am in personal contact with. So please step back so this person can get the proper advice.
he needs.

Thank you

Rand

Avatar universal

Thank you for clearing up that little problem. I am surprised you suggested the Valium however since Steven is still going to have to deal with the initial underlying condition which caused him to begin the Klonopin in the first place. The Valium will be a temptation similar to Klonopin in which to continue the self medicating the insomnia disorder or anxiety or whatever it is.

I guess only Steven can decide how uncomfortable the symtoms of withdrawal are that he can tolerate.

I had no problem cutting down 1 mg per week the first six weeks until the seizures began. I initially said in my first post that my Doc cut me down 1 1/2 mg in three days once I was down to 6 MG and that was a mistake. It was 3/4 in three days. The shakedowns started after that and she felt the Klonopin was worth staying on until we get the seizure problem dealt with.

At least I have not touched the booze in six weeks, but I don't like replacing it with the Klonopin either. I get an MRI in two days so hopefully that will show if anything other than withdrawal is going on. If it shows nothing than I will start to taper once again, one MG per week if my Doc allows it. The problem will be the return of alcohol craving, I do believe I am more addicted to that than to the Klonopin, although I like the effects the Klonopin gives more than booze since it doesn't make me sluggish and clouded head like the booze. By the time I would be off the Klonopin I would be well past the alcohol craving part but would still have to deal with my anxiety and depression disorder. The typhoon season is upon us so I hope for one soon. Unfortunately I cannot afford to chase Jelawat to the Ryukyu Islands! That would solve all my problems and no more fighting addictions, anxiety or the human race! LIFE STILL SUCKS!!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks again for the comments!, The valium taper down makes lots of sense, I did'nt realize the power of Klonopin and how cutting these pills with a blade and not shaving them just right could have such an effect. Any problems switching cold turkey from Klonopin to Valium? Also, I feel the taper off from K will not be as big of a problem as the long term after effects. Anyone agree?
Avatar universal
Hi folks.  Wow!  Important discussion going on here.  I checked in on this thread because I have been taking Klonopin, 1 mg. twice a week for about 2 years.  I also take an SSRI for anxiety disorder, but there are some situations that the SSRI alone will not get me through.  Am I at risk for serious addiction/withdrawal on this intermittant dosing?  I read in the Social Anxiety Disorder website that Klonopin is the drug of choice for treating anxiety because it's long half-life makes it less addictive.  Is this not the case?  And what is the difference between shaving the pills and cutting them?  I haven't heard that before.  

Thanks for any info.
Avatar universal
Lily, Klonopin is very addictive, and extreemly difficult to stop. DO NOT allow youself to get addicted to this stuff. It may be more addictive, it may be less addictive than other benzos, it does not matter. Please save your self from the hell many benzo users have to endure. If you are only using klonopin a few times a week, NOW is the time to give it up. Knowledge is the key. Educate yourself about the possible withdrawel problems so if you do have problems you'll know how to deal with them. Check out the web site www.egroups.com\group\benzo , you will learn a lot. Best wishes, Steven
Avatar universal

Yes, I agree with everything Rico said. He hit the nail right on target. I also can cut down from the 6 MG if I choose in fact I often miss my middle of the night doses. I should stick with the 6 MG's for the seizures however so I try to stay with my doctors instructions. There are no side effects at all for me. If I miss too many doses I shakedown so I stay with the Klonopin and don't even give addiction another thought. The other anti-convulsants had too many bad, intolerable side effects for me.

Thanks Rico for standing up against some of these "holier than thou" people that post once in a while.
Avatar universal
Hey Steven,

Addiction is not the correct term here!

If someone is prescribed a benzodiazepine for an anxiety disorder,Panic disorder, or seizures, then the doctor is responsible for that diagnosis. I happen to take Klonopin and think it is a wonderful medication. It has virtually cured many problems that I was having and it has no side effects at all for me. Some things that Klonopin has helped tremendously for me are
GERD, IBS, social phobia, nocturnal panic attacks, insomnia, etc..

So get off your high horse and stop saying that people that take these beneficial medications are "addicts", because addiction implies abuse. I have actually decreased my initial dose of 6mg down to 2mg with no problem at all. Now I am comfortable at 2mg and have not had to raise it at all. I plan on staying on this med for the rest of my life since it helps with organic problems which I have no control over (like you make it sound we do).

You need to quit preaching that these meds are bad and evil because they are NOT!!
Avatar universal

I was on 12 MG of Klonopin at one time during my in-patient withdrawal and they let me out on work pass. I had to have a driver though for safety reasons. I managed to work but it was very difficult.

That was nothing compared to working with alcohol withdrawal and seizures for 3 1/2 months before they finally sent me to the correct addiction doctor!
Avatar universal
Any doctor who fails to recognize the seriousness of benzo detox and/or withdrawal shouldn't be presiding over a patient's going off of that kind of drug. Sounds like you need to see someone who acknowledges the dangers and rigour of coming down from these sometimes beneficial but always tricky family of drugs. Benzos are powerful medicine. They should be treated accordingly. I had a doctor take a casual attitude about me going off of Ativan after back surgery and I almost died in a benzo-withdrawal-induced seizure. Hands down the most painful and fightening moment of my life. I know of someone who bit their tongue completely off during a Valium-withdrawal-induced seizure.
Avatar universal
I suffer from general anxiety and have been taking klonipin and/or xanax for 3 years (presently on 2mg a day klonipin) . I asked my doctor for the klonipin instead of Xanax because of the longer half life of klonipin. WITHDRAWAL IS HELL for someone who is already nervous. After 3 years of use,I don't know if I'm taking to klonipin to avoid withdrawal or to combat anxiety, which I still seem to have. Now I'm about to come off klonipin ( a new doctor has prescribed zoloft, and eventually BuSpar) and after reading this forum, i'm scared as hell.I know what withdrawal feels like and I figured a tapered withdrawal would be unnoticeable. I think my sdoctor underestimates the withdrawal symptoms, considering I have to work a 9-5 job while doing this. What do you guys think?
Avatar universal


This is just my opinion but I feel your doctor needs to put you on an anti-convulsant drug such as Neurontin while you are tapering down off the Klonopin to avoid seizures and rebound anxiety. The Neurontin will make the withdrawal much less stressful. Ask for Ultram if you have too much pain. That also helps greatly to reduce the withdrawal pain and anxiety symptoms.
Avatar universal
much thanks to all that replied to my problems. its good to know that i'm not alone here....thanks
Avatar universal
I'm so glad I've found this site! it's become a daily thing for me to check now, not just for klonipin withdrawal, but to remind myself that I DO have an addictive personality and can't just go out and have a beer, take a vicodin, etc. without always going too far, as I have in the past. today is the first day of my withdrawal. I took 1 mg of klonipin last night and will again tonight, as my doctor suggested. feeling OK right now

Lily, I switched from Xanax to Klonipin for general anxiety diorder because the half life of klonipin is longer. My old doctor pretty much let me self medicate myself. If I suggested something, he would prescribe it, and I had read that klonipin has a longer halflife. With Xanax my withdrawal would set in within 8 hours. The only difference with klonipin is that the withdrawal takes longer and is worse, to my experience (from running out of medication) I wouldnt worry too much if you're only taking it twice a week, but realize if you do become addicted, IT SUCKS!!!!
Avatar universal
you don't happen to still have the phone number to that "old doctor" do you? (just kidding)
Avatar universal
To Rico. WOW! It's been a few days since I've checked this site.[It can be hard to reach my computer sitting way up on this["high horse"]. Anyway, if you read my original post, you will see where I said that this drug has done wonders for me in many ways. I have had depression and anxiety problems on and off for most of my life. When I discovered Klonopin, I thought it was a gift from heaven. That was until the problems started. I've been on this for 3 years. I suspect you have been on this for less than a year. PLEASE check out the web site <***@****> .
EDUCATE YOURSELF! Best wishes, Steven
Avatar universal
You say in your first post "but now it's time to come off" [the Klonopin]. Why, may I ask, is it time to quit the Klonopin, especially since it seems to work so well for you? Did your doctor just say that one day, or ... what? If you've effectively managed your anxiety with Klonopin for 3 years with only one increase from .5 to 1 MG, it seems to me you're using the stuff exactly as it was intended to be used. I always warn people about the potential for seizure from sudden discontinuance of benzodiazipines like Klonopin because I want the horrific seizure experience I went through to at least benefit SOMEBODY. Especially when I hear (often) of a doctor's casual or just plain ignorant approach to taking their patients off of the stuff. My orthopedist had me on Ativan for about 9 months prior to back surgery. I took it because I was in a lot of pain and the benzo seemed to potentiate my Vicodin ES. After the successful surgery, I didn't need the stuff anymore. He just shrugged and said, "Well, stop taking them." Four days later, Christmas night, I went into a six-hour seizure that resulted in a compressed vertebra (from the violent contraction of my chest muscles). The paramedics told me I had all but stopped breathing and was close to swallowing my tongue. My wife was seconds from closing the door to the bedroom to "let me sleep in" when this wonderful woman (truly my gift from god) noticed my posture and color and saved my life. My chest muscles were so traumatized from the 6-hour seizure that I couldn't walk upright for 3 weeks.

Anyway, I still regard Klonopin and its cousins to be excellent drugs when used properly, and you sound like the Klonopin Poster Boy for Sensible-Use Magazine. So what gives?
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