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Avatar universal

Long Term Klonopin

Hi, I'm pretty new to the forum and I have a question for everyone about klonopin.  I'm someone with GAD who worries alot and also has panic attacks and palpitations.  I had to leave work early two times recently because I just couldn't handle it.  My doctor gave me Xanax to take for the anxiety, but I don't want to get addicted so I don't take it too much.  Maybe one or two times a week at most.  I've been reading about the klonopin drug and how you can take it  everyday, so I asked my doctor about it.  He told me "Yes i could take it everyday - if I wanted to get adddicted!"  He said it was almost the same as Xanax and he discouraged me from wanting it!  I was wondering about anyone else out there who took it for a long time, because it seems like if you take it for a few weeks, you would not want to stop - if it's really working that is.  Like me, if I were taking it, and if it really helped my anxiety, it would be so hard to stop taking!  Anyway, has anyone taken it for a month or two and then stopped?  What's it like?  Can I take it for a year?   or two?  I'm desperate to stop the anxiety, since it's affecting me at work, and my job  is going downhill.  
26 Responses
212161 tn?1537898045
am in your same shoes . ive been anxiety for 8 weeks now , and i have klonopin to take took it 3 days got off of it, i dont feel anxiety all day long it just hits me sometime in the day most in the am, so i feel like i should not take it twice a day everyday, but than if i took it for like two weeks could i get over the anxiety all together. not sure so i just fight it all day long and by night am tired. this has just come on me the last 3 months and so i know its not my life stye and hope i can get over it , but not sure if i can with out meds, the dr has wanted to put me on paxil etc ssri drugs but i dont want them so i already had ativan but didnt want to take it everyday either as it dont last as long as klonopin, there is a guy on here rca he is very good about meds and knows his stuff, he told me about the klonopin so i ask my dr about it and he gave it to me told me try two weeks go back tell him how i felt , well i took 3 days than off, so could not tell him how i felt , today bad on and off am not myself anymore so i guess trying the med might help.ryan says this is a long term med for anxiety and your body does not get used to it and need more like with ativan,xanax and other benz meds . but i do know drs rather you take a ssri drug than this so most dr dont like to give it , sounds like your dr not to wild about it . but i think am going to start back on mine and see what i do feel like in two weeks what do i have to lose, i know there are a few on here who take it and really like it . good luck and have a safe 4th
Avatar universal
Yes, he gave me paxil instead and i've been taking it for 2 weeks or more and i can't tell if it's working or not, only 20 mg per day which i think is a very low dose anyway so i dont't even know if it should be working.  Yes, me too in the am, especially at lunchtime i go out to get lunch, a salad because i'm trying to lose weight, and i wait in line and everyday feel like im having a heart attack and im going to die.  i get all racy and hot and afraid.  i got inderal for my racing heart, but now i get palpitations instead of fast heartbeat.  so, no, he would not give me klonopin and im thinking of going to another doctor who will give it to me instead of paxil. i just don't want to get addicted and what happens if it works, then its a year later, do you go off it? do you take it for life?  if its long term how do you know how long to take it?
193245 tn?1189993322
Time for you to change doctors, my friend.  If yours doesn't know the difference between Xanax and Klonopin, he doesn't know much about it and shouldn't be prescribing either one.

There's a big difference.  RCA will probably come on here and articulate it better than I can, so we'll wait and see what he says.

I've been on Klonopin for four months or so.  If I were hardcore addicted to the stuff, I'd be having tolerance issues and would need more and more to get the same therapeutic effect.  I don't feel the need to increase, though.  Sometimes I think about it, but it's certainly not a physical desire.  The more appropriate term would be "physical dependence".  If you take Klonopin everyday then, yeah, you'll be physically dependent on it and will not be able to just up and stop taking it without going through some withdrawal.

For what it's worth, my doctor told me I could take Klonopin the rest of my life if I so desired.

Anyway, Xanax is basically for people who experience occasional panic attacks and need to stop them quickly.  Klonopin is for people who have them all the time.  It was designed to take everyday.  Xanax is much more addictive, so that's why it's only for occasional use.

There's a HUGE difference between the two.
Avatar universal
Im starting klonopin tomorrow well today july 4th. I have alot of anxiety due to  my heart arrthymias. I am on low dose of ativan .5mg twice daily. my doc wants me to change to klonopin because it stays in system better. He said you could stay on it forever at a low dose with no problem. he has had people on it for ten years. I read that if you take as prescribed and the level of it in your blood  stays the same then it really helps. Ativan peaks faster and then you go to a low. klonopin keeps a steady level. Im gonna take .5mg twice daily. Im a bit nervous im always nervous with new meds. But klonopin also works like a ssri so im hoping this is my ticket to some relief and a little bit of the normal life. lol
Avatar universal
Wow, what an amazing post, especially the part about the difference between addiction and dependency. I know what you mean, any drug for brain chemistry can make you dependent, but  not addicted, very clear difference!   Its awesome that klonopin can work for such a long time without tolerance building up. It sounds almost like a wonder drug.  I wonder why my doctor didnt' want me to have it.  Could he be so ignorant of the real qualities of the drug?  Anyway, Im worried about the paxil now because i dont't want it to make my attacks worse.   Isnt it supposed to be prescribed for anxiey and panic disorders?  Unbelieveable that it could make it worse!  Does it help anybody with anxiety and panic?  Since Im already on it should i try it for a few weeks at least?  Thank you everyone for the great posts.  This is an awesome forum!
193245 tn?1189993322
I believe Ryan has said this and I've also read it elsewhere, but sometimes doctors do not like to prescribe Benzodiazepines at all because Xanax has a bad reputation of producing addicts among undisciplined patients.  When I was in college I used Xanax recreationally and remember very clearly why it lends itself to abuse.  If you combine it with other stuff, it's simply really fun (but dangerous...I saw kids taken to the hospital because of combining Xanax and various other substances).  That's not the thing to do, but some people do it anyway.

But that's one of the reasons doctors are squeamish.  Another reason is perhaps they haven't taken the time to distinguish between the benzodiazepines and maybe have had a few patients who freaked out when they stopped taking them (because the doctor didn't know how to tell them to taper).  I'd guess that most of these docs are general practitioners.

I know a lot of people whose doctors have prescribed them benzos were required to sign some sort of contract (probably a waiver).  Really silly.

About Paxil:

I know a friend who (years ago) took Paxil for anxiety and it served him quite well.  However, I've read that most (if not all) SSRI's tend to increase anxiety as a temporary side effect during the first couple weeks of treatment.  I'm not a big believer in SSRIs for panic or depression, but I've read in a lot of forums about them helping a lot of people.  Often, the doctor prescribes a benzodiazepine for the first few weeks of SSRI treatment specifically to counteract the initial increased anxiety caused by the SSRI.  Once the SSRI has started to take effect, the patient hasn't been on the benzo that long so tapering is pretty quick and easy.

You're right that this is a great forum.  I don't visit as often as I should.  Ryan, in particular, is a very informative poster who helped me back when I was afraid to take my clonazepam and had been staring at the full bottle for weeks.

Avatar universal
Hi, I have had anxiety attacks for 11 years and I have them 24/7.  I have been taking Klonopin for almost the entire time.  I recently found out that I am pregant
with my second child and I had to get to my doctors to change the prescription, due to the fact that klonopin can cause major problems in the fetus.  My anxiety has sky rocketed.  I was given 16 days to completely get off of klonopin, and am now taking prozak, because it is said to be a safe medication.  I feel like I am in a zone 24/7 now with more anxiety than I can handle.  My opinion would be not to take this or any benzo for that matter if you plan to have children in the future.  Getting off the meds is not a fun experience.
Avatar universal
Klonopin helped (and continues to help) me tremendously.

I was diagnosed with GAD and bipolar mixed state in 2003.  I suffered undiagnosed with the GAD for years before that with severe anxiety wich often manifested itself in hypochondriasis.  Towards the 'end' (before seeking treatment) I was starting to get panic attacks.  Finally after a prolonged incident where I was panic ridden and couldn't sleep at all for 3 nights straight I broke down and was able to get in to see someone immediately -a psychiatrist who would understand and help where my family doctor was unable to.

I was prescribed klonopin .5 mg two times per day, and that was increased to 1mg two times per day probably within that same month.

I've been on the 1 mg two times per day since March/April 2003, and the relief is still almost palpable.  I look back and think about the absolute horror I went through when my anxiety and panic reached it's zenith and thank God that I was given this medicine.

My mother, who was always there for me to seek constant reassurance from during the worst times of my anxiety, says I'm a completely different person.

I do have some problems with some short term memory loss, but that was present before I started the klonopin .  I've been on many different meds starting at 19 for depression, and even more now due to the bipolar, so it's hard to say what (if it at all) may have caused the memory loss.

Either way, I'd rather forget where I put my keys or not be able to find the word that's on the tip of my tongue than exist in a living nightmare, like I did 4 years ago.  
212161 tn?1537898045
klonopin was a great med for me after i took it for a week, i just hated taking pills everyday for anxiety but found out i had to , its a great med and if i ever get where i need it again i will take it and not think nothing about it. its a muchbetter med than ssri for me , no side affects and easy to come off if you need to .
165308 tn?1323190145
My mother in law took Klonopin and Lexapro for a year.  She has also come off both medications because her anxiety and depression has subsided. (WOW, wish it were me!)  She is doing just fine now, not on any medication.  She has the Klonopin just in case she needs it, but hasn't had to use it.  KUDOS TO HER!  You need to weigh the pros and cons for any medication.  There are always side effects, but you really need to see and evaluate your situation.  If you are planning on having children, I agree to not start any meds, but if that is a long time in the future or not in your plan at all, I suggest you give them a try!
Avatar universal
I have been on Klonopin for more than 10 years for GAD (although I've had anxiety since childhood). It was & still is my miracle drug. What a difference it has made in my life! It works so well for me. I do feel bad about being on it for so long and wonder about the harm it might be doing to my body. I would love to not be on it...but there will always be funerals, stressful situations, bad days, sleepless nights etc. so I don't see myself going off it -. I have tried several times over the years to wean myself off but have decided the benefits outweigh the risks. I have tried different drugs for sleeping but then I am still anxious during the day so the last 3 years I have taken only 1/2 of a .5mg at bedtime to help me relax & fall asleep. If I need some extra during the day, I take a very tiny little piece - under my tongue - never exceeding more than a .5 mg tablet total on any given day. I used to take a higher dose but realized a little goes a long way. My advice to anyone out there who is taking klonopin is to find the smallest dose and times of the day that best works for YOU. Everyone is different and your needs change over the years also. I think by taking klonopin as long as I have, it has helped me need less & less. Sign me - a believer & huge fan of Klonopin.
212161 tn?1537898045
i belive in it to i was on it for really bad anxiety it got me through it i took .025 am and .025 pm i only took two weeks but it really helped me out and if i ever get like that again i will take it again. i have ativan for the just in case attack ,but i might take it once every 3 months but when i got anxiety from my moms health, for 3 months i tried to fight it , i just got worse i gave in took the klonopin and wow it was great. so i belive init to .
Avatar universal
I had some major caqstrophies happen in the last 2 years;  husband of 17 yrs divorced and remarried, long-term friend and patient with Lou Gehrig's, I cared for the month after husband left me, he is now deceased from disease, house burned down with my Pekingese PoohPooh inside, no insurace, broke my ankle the next week.  Started taking Kalonopin and Prozac, upping my Kalonopin doses as tragedies befell, after husband left.  I have been able to cut down, as I move to Seattle to stay after broken ankle (no house).  Change of scenery has done wonders, but every now and then I get anxious, and have to take a pill immediately.  I dont know what I would have done if I hadn't had my meds.  Lost 80 lbs from husband leaving, so that just shows you how powerful your mind is.  I don't feel any bad affects, as i have ut back fro 5 to 2-3 daily.  Absolutely take the heartache and anxiety away.  the Kalonopin does.
Avatar universal
I was just prescribed .5 Klonopin once daily as needed. I have panic attacks and mostly I awake in  the middle of the night terrified. I have found if I take a 1/4 at lunch and 1/4 at bedtime I don't wake up in fear. I tried taking 1/2 and it aggitated me and a whole one made me feel drunk for 2 days. I know over time I will build tolerance, but am grateful to not need a huge dose to begin with.
Avatar universal
I've been on Klonopin 2mg every day at bedtime for 8 years.  It has really helped stabilize my cyclical bipolar disorder.  I also take lithium and Celexa.  My psychiatrist said I needed to take these for the REST OF MY LIFE.  Last month I had the misfortune of not getting my Rx refilled in time and had to go 5 days without Klonopin over long holiday weekend.  Withdrawals were HELL.  I even had a seizure.  And there was nothing I could do about it--just wait until next business day and get my psychiatrist to call in new Rx.  After the withdrawals, I decided that I no longer want to be on Klonopin.  I am clearly physically dependent on this drug.  I do not like the idea of being on a medication that causes such horrific withdrawal symptoms after missing just a couple of doses.  Since I got my new Rx, I decided to cut down to 1mg for the next month, then cut down again in another month until I can be Klonopin-free.  I don't know if my bipolar symptoms will kick in and interfere with my withdrawal plan.  If I get manic while withdrawing slowly, maybe I DO need to take Klonopin the rest of my life.
Avatar universal
I have been on -.75 milligrams for about 9 months. Rarely did I take the entire dose until the holidays.. So I took all 3 pills (.25) as directed. Late January I started missing my exits and forgetting everything. What I was going to say and peoples names that I have known for a long time. Over a period of about 3 weeks I have weened myself off the clonipine and my memory has returned. But so have my anxiety attacks. So now I am doing a self-measurement of a 6-7 anxiety level before I break down and take a clonapine. Last night I woke up at 3 am with anxiety and took the .25 and went right back to sleep.
I hate anxiety and wish I did not have it. I keep hoping it will go away, but it always rears its ugly head at the worst of times. I feel bad for you that you have such a high level.
Avatar universal
I have been on klonopin now for 3 days 0.5 twice a day, in went cold turkey on a 0.5 once a day long term use of alprazolam.  After 14 days went through crazy panic attacks and insomnia. So went to my Dr this Monday he put me on klonopin 0.5 in the morning and 0.5 for sleep. my question is can i quit this after a week? or do i need to taper at such a short time and low dose that i am on? I only took 1/2 of 0.5 this morning. He wants to introduce effexor or the equivalent next week. Please help.
Avatar universal
After the loss of my father and the diagnosis of a small heart problem, I spiralled into my 3rd episode of Chronic anxiety in my life.  I'm 42 and a health professional.  Previously, I seemed to rebound from my 2 earlier bouts of anxiety.  This one has lasted with diminishing effect for just over a year.  I am a strong believer in Klonopin.  It is a miracle drug for me, without impairing my judgement at work with patients, driving or raising my children.  I average .5 miligrams a day but have no problem bumping it to 2 milligrams a day, if needed.  I'm actually more confortable quitting Celexa and remaining on Klonopin because the side effects are fewer and Klonopin literally makes me feel like my old self. In fact, I'm not sure I've experienced ANY side effects from Klonopin.  I've had 4 different Dr.s tell me different things related to dependance/addiction.  I will take Klonopin for as long as I need it because I'm a better Dr., husband, father and friend with it.  
6763356 tn?1391794497
You take it for life.  It is very addicting.  I've been taking it for 18 yrs for insomnia.  I started out with 1/2 mg.  After 10 yrs I went up to 2mg and am still on that dose. It has a long half life so it works for my GAD during the day as long as I don't drink too much coffee.  I need caffeine to get going when I get up.  Klonopin has saved my life.
Avatar universal
Hello Casey 124.  How is your usage of Klonopin going?  After trialing every SSRI, which was grueling, agonizing and pure torture.  I have found Klonopin to be my only relief.  

How are you feeling and what is your dosage?  
6763356 tn?1391794497
I tried paxil for 2 days.  I had such severe diarrhea I had to stop it.  This was back in 1995. I started wit .5 mg klonopin. This is 2014 I'm on just 2 mg.  I will take it for the rest of my life for GAD and thank God my doctor let me try it. She said I could only use it for a couple of months.  She left town and I had to switch doctors.  He said for life and I told him that I was worried about the addiction thing.  He said "think of it as heart medication. "  Again it was a godsend.  
I have nothing but sympathy for fellow anxiety suffers'. If you stay on it for a long enough time at a high enough dose, like me, IT WILL STOP WORKING. That typically leads to people taking extra, which leaves you with no meds at the end of the month.  This can ruin your life, you cannot begin to imagine.  If you feel the need to take more than 2mg a day, your in for trouble.  But if it works for you, for this long I wish you the best
Avatar universal
I've had two major anxiety episodes in my life. First one was only several months long, took ativan and zooloft, never really liked them, ten years later the grandaddy of anxiety/panic/meltdown episodes occured. Ativan and zooloft from g.p. just did not work. really believed I was coming unglued. I saw a psych who also worked at the V.A. diagnosed me, correctly I believe and who convinced me to try Kpin. It saved my life. Over four years I've weaned down from 2mg's a day to .25 which I've been steady at for almost two years. I only rarely (not even once a month take more than .25 a day. But I know it's there. Yes I'm physically dependent, I don't care, I function well. However I stay very cognizant of the respect one needs when taking benzos.
That is the best way to use this medicine.  Good luck my friend
Avatar universal
Hi Casey!  I am probably really writing this comment to many of you.  I had been taking Klonapin (actually Clonazepan, a generic) for a about 4 years.  I believe that it was helping control my anxiety well.  I had been taking 1mg in the morning and 2mg at night.  My big problem was this.  I have had many (3 this year) operations on my knee.  These were about 3 1/2 hours long and resulted in 1/2 day - 1 day delirium.  My last operation was 4 1/2 hours apparently and I was in ICU and then a ward four about four days, my wife told me.  Apparently I almost died - at least my family thought.  During my delirium I had terrifying nightmares.  While I was unconscious the doctors took me off Klonapin an increased my Respirodone to 1mg twice a day and when I woke up after four days my anxiety (once I got over my memories of the nightmares) was fine and gone.  Since then I have not really had much anxiety at all.  I am terrified of going through these operations since my next one will be this summer.  
If my anxiety increases I'm not sure what I will do but that's another day.

I don't know if anyone out there has any similar experience.  It would be great to know.

This is my first time here and it is a wonderful thread of comments.  I'll keep reading this.
Avatar universal
I've been taking .25 - .05 Klonopin as needed for 10 years.  Never exceded .05.  Took .05 daily for 9 months when it was an extra tough time in my life.  I'm considering going back on it daily for severe insomnia, and panic attacks and anxiety that is increasing lately.
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