Klonopin withdrawal (FYI)

I’m about to begin my Klonopin taper—or more precisely my clonazepam taper since I’m on a generic. Amazing, huh? Once I start this taper it’s really the beginning of the end of my withdrawal. I’ve tapered off 5 meds have Lamictal to finish off and Klonopin is the only one I’ve not even begun yet, although I stopped taking additional PRN’s (up to 3 mg a day in addition to my daily dose) two years ago.

For the longest time I was the most scared of my Klonopin taper because I was in several benzo withdrawal groups and I saw the agony people dealt with routinely there. Early on I was convinced the Klonopin would be the hardest drug to come off of. I suppose I don’t know for certain otherwise at this point, but since I’ve been in these groups for over 2 years it’s become clear that most of the people suffering miserably have a cold-turkey or two in their histories that really screwed them up. With lots of research it’s become pretty clear that if you know what you’re doing and are very careful AND support your body and mind with supplements, diet, nutrition, meditation and gentle exercise the process simply does not have to be hell. Having said that, I really don’t know what it will be like. I did the Risperdal and Lamictal by the rules and had some hairy experiences and difficult times, but for whatever reason I’m optimistic about the Klonopin. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve finally achieved victory over Risperdal.

Anyway…I talked to my doc and made some calls about how to taper the Klonopin, once I figured out K wasn’t soluble in anything I could make a solution with on my own I was going to weigh it on a microgram scale but I bought one and it’s just not sensitive enough so I called a compounding pharmacy and found that they can make a suspension using various ingredients including glycerin.

The particles of Klonopin stay nicely and evenly suspended so that you can use a syringe and take out tiny amounts of the drug with great precision. I will be giving the pharmacy ninety 1 mg tablets (as I take 3 mg a day) and they will make the solution so that it’s .1 mg for each 1 ml of suspension. The cost is only $35!!

I always thought compounding pharmacies were really expensive…I suppose it you have them make pills or caplets that is what makes it pricey?? Anyway I was delighted that I found such a simple solution. Too bad I’ve already bought at mortar and pestle, a beaker, and a scale—all paraphernelia I though I might need to do it myself.

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know this is yet another option for Klonopin or clonazapem. It’s much, much easier and more accurate than doing it yourself and doing it yourself is usually what’s encouraged on the withdrawal email lists. It’s fine to do it yourself if a drug is totally soluble in water or alcohol or something…then you know it’s very evenly dispersed in a solution rather than a suspension, but for K which is only soluble in acetone (no! don’t think I want to ingest that!) this is a really good remedy. Some people do make their own suspensions with water but it’s very hard to get it to be evenly dispersed—you have to do lots of continuous stirring— and lots of bits get stuck on the sides of the container, etc.

Some benzos are soluble in water or alcohol. If you use alcohol, you just use a tiny bit and then once the drug is dissolved you add water to the rest of it. It’s harmless. So basically the most important thing to do if withdrawing from benzos and wanting to use liquid titration is to find out what your specific benzo is soluble in. Then you can decide whether you want to do it yourself or have a compounding pharmacy do it. If cost is prohibitive one can always make the supsension and do the best you can.

I posted on how to do water titration on your own for any drug, not just benzos, here.

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31 Responses

  1. This sounds like an ignorant question (because I do not have the crushing info down pat) but when I was a kid and didn’t want to swallow a pill, my mom would crush it and add it to jam. I never missed a granule of med (back then I think it was cold/allergy meds at the most).

    My daughter doesn’t like swallowing pills anymore (after 9 years I don’t blame her!) so they crush it and add it to applesauce and she’s fine with that.

    Is this a viable option rather than liquid suspensions people use?

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  2. Thanks Gianna, yes I remember tapering Prozac and (from the capsule)w/out a scale, and I got down to what I thought was about 2 mg (from 9 months down from 40mg) and the last weeks were the hardest. I guess all tapers appear that way, the last is the hardest. I had the worse time last May w the Xanax taper because I had to go off the timed release to generic first, (due to not being able to crush or split time-released). It’s been 3 months now and I finally don’t have any morning withdrawal symptoms (and that was just going down .5mg!).

    Anyway, good luck, I’m glad the Klonopin is next, I’ve always wondered about that adding to your fatigue (or at least not helping matters!)

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  3. Sara

    Hi, Gianna — Wow, I’m interested to hear you’re starting the Klonopin taper. Like you, I have read so much about benzos and benzo tapers and of course the benzo addiction horror stories too so I have always been aware of that med lurking in the background for you and I wish you the very best as you begin to tackle it. It’s reassuring to know you have a tuned in doctor as well as a source for really good liquid Klonopin and you really have had so much experience now with withdrawal and are so motivated so I’m hoping you will rise to every challenge that might come along. When you were describing nausea recently I couldn’t help but think back on some of the benzo stories so hope that will get better with this new drive too! Good Luck and I just can’t get over how far you’ve come in recent months. It is truly amazing and such an inspiration. Lots of positive vibes coming your way!

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  4. Gianna,
    Good luck with this. I’ve done it with Ativan (and Klonopin). It was always the most difficult part of the process. Since I took both medications as sleeping pills, I did have some problems sleeping, but it was still doable.

    I’d taken Ativan for so many years that it was always difficult, but I would get off it every year when my hypomanias ended and I stopped taking Adderall. About a month ago, I got off it for what I hope is the very last time.

    What happens to me is that I don’t sleep as well because it’s more difficult to fall asleep. And once I do fall asleep, my dreams are way more intense.

    It’s been a month now that I’ve been off Ativan, and things are somewhat back to normal. This is the easiest withdrawal I’ve ever experienced.

    Susan

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  5. missisyphus

    gianna,

    you’ll do fine. you’ve really done your homework…and i think helping others, as much as you have, is always the best teacher! this is a tough and scary w/d (was for me, but you know how i did it…), but i think if anyone can do it well, you can. you’ve put so much of your life in order and have just done so much research…you can nail this one. you’re on your way! you’ll stick it!

    my love to you and all my prayers,
    suzanne

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  6. Dixie Thomas

    Good luck to you and you’ll be in my prayers. I have just begun to realize how “addictive” Klonopin is. I have been taking it for the past 5 years as had atrial fibrillation and it was prescribed to help the “anxiety”.

    Now I want to get off and I’m concerned. I’ve never smoked, not a drinker, etc. so the thoughts of having a “problem” with any substance is a new thing for me.

    I started to go “cold turkey” but read that caution should be used as the withdrawals could be bad!

    Being addicted to Klonopin is “bad”, so keep me in your prayers, too.

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  7. iwantunbeso

    Hello, I just found this website. I have had an EXTREME mood disorder since I was a small child. Not until the last 5 years was I diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. I have attempted suicide, twice, gone into insane fits of rage, etc. My doctor put me on Seroquel and Lexapro with Klonopin. I am now 2 1/2 month pregnant and the “baby” doc says I MUST get off of Seroquel and Klonopin. I am very scared. I have not had any “major bouts” of depression or attempted suicide or manic rages since I have been taking the medication. They are very “small” doses, but they seem to be helping me tremendously. I do not have the fatigue that a lot of you are talking about nor do I have some of the other “symptoms” that have been discussed. I go to talk to my doctor on Tuesday, but can I just STOP taking the Klonopin and Seroquel? What happens if I go back to the way I was? I’m just so frightened. Thanks for any words of wisdom you can share.

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  8. EdnaMo

    I was prescribed Klonopin (K) by my psychiatrist about 3 or 4 years ago for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He said that taking the K would be “good for me” and I could take it “for years” without any side effects. So, for the last 3 or 4 years, I’ve been taking the K in 0.5 mg pills. Usually I would take them for sleep. I started out just taking half of the pill or 0.25 mg. In recent months, sometimes I would have to take three pills 1.5 mg just to get some sleep. About one month ago, I started experiencing extreme fatigue with a feeling of heaviness in my legs. I have been unable to walk daily or do a weight workout without horrible fatigue the next day. I have become severely depressed as well. However, I have noticed that if I take a 0.5 mg of K, I feel better. That’s when I made the connection and started doing some searching on the net. Apparently, I have developed a tolerance to this horrible drug and when I don’t take it for a day or so, the depression and extreme fatigue take hold of me. I guess I’m addicted. Someone please give me some advice. I am not sleeping and this is hell. I am thinking that if I can get off the K then the fatigue and depression will disappear. Please…is someone out there who I can write back and forth with to help me through this? I want my life back.

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  9. cat1t

    Help with Klonopin withdrawl Hello friends and Merry Christmas. I am fascinated by your help and could sure use a friend here. I am trying to get off the Klonopin as well. I was placed on it when I began experiencing grief and anxiety attacks while taking care of my father who later died of cancer. That was about 7 months ago. I was taking .5 twice a day and have tapered to .25 twice a day and then .25 in the evening. I only did the evening taper for a few days and decided to take the plunge. Well unfortunately, plunge I did. The first few days were great but then this morning my head was so fuzzy and I was feeling so anxious, I started to get all of those feelings back that I had so hoped had left me. I hated to do it, but attempted to split a .5 into fourths and took 1/4 of it this morning to get through the day. Things calmed down and I thought I would go back to theh .25 in the evening and give that a few weeks before tapering again.
    Tell me there is an end to this madness. I so want my life back and don’t want to be dependent on anything.
    Blessings to all!
    Love
    Cathy

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  10. cat1t

    Bless your heart and thank you for such a prompt and thorough response. You are extremely knowledgeable about this topic and I appreciate your insight. I read over the water taper and it’s kind of overwhelming, but at the same time, makes sense. Is it possible to obtain this via a compounding pharmacy as well? I am thinking that I need to go back to the .25 at night for awhile and then when I meet with my Dr. discuss further tapering. He had mentioned before that I was on such a low dose that I could simply cease. I think today is great proof that it is not possible. I’ve also read about tapering using Valium and then stopping the Valium. Is this something you are familiar with?
    Again, thank you so much for your time. You have helped me enormously and have soothed my mind.
    Cathy

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  11. cat1t

    Well thanks again for all of your support. I am a little fuzzy this morning – I would like to stay at just the .25 in the evening for awhile; following your advice and taking it slowly. I cannot understand how a doctor could tell me I could simply stop taking it and not mention that side effects. My goodness, I know that I am not losing my mind. It was not pretty yesterday.
    Take care and have a wonderful day.
    Cathy

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  12. cat1t

    Hello – it’s me again. I don’t know if you’ll be checking this site again in the near future. I just wanted to say thank you for your help. I have had a bad few days with going back to the .25 at night. My whole body is out of whack. I wish I knew then what I know now. Things would be a lot easier. I am amazed at your wisdom and ability to share.
    Thank you. I met with a friend today to try and explain this whole scenario to. She was there when I went down hard. She saw how the Klonopin helped, but she is also weary of medications as well. When going through something like this – you need to have someone to talk to. Is there a regular board that people visit?
    Once again, your help and patience is so greatly appreciated.
    Blessings and happy new year to you.
    Cathy

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  13. Leah

    Hi all,
    My name is Leah. I was prescribed Clonazepam on September 8th 2008 for anxiety after my brother died suddenly. The suggested dosage was 3 pills a day .5mg each pill for a total of 1.5 mg daily. I was also prescribed Nexium 40 mg to help with nausea due to acid reflux. Well i came home from my appointment to take one pill of clonazepam. I woke the next morning dysfunctional. I was so tired and clumsy. So i cut the one pill in half and have been taking that one half pill (.25mg) each night since. Because of my acid reflux, I was eating dinner early in the evenings. I would take the pill before bed on an empty stomach. On December 5th, I saw my doctor again and mentioned still getting nausea but the acid reflux was gone. I decided to make an appointment with a gastroentestinal specialist to investigate. Everything was tested. Gallbladder, endoscopy revealed no ulcer/gastritis, blood work, and gastric emptying test. My doctor was ademate about me getting off of both the clonazepam and the Nexium. This is when the nightmare began. It’s only been about a week and 2 days. Even tapering off of a small dose of .25 mg of clonazepam is making me so sick. The doctor suggested i take the amount i was normally taking but take it every other day. bad idea!!! So now i’m tapering off on my own. 1/4 less each week for 4 weeks. symptoms: major nausea, brain pains on my right side when i turn my head abruptly, dizziness, muscle tension, inability to concentrate, shortness of breath and feelings of suffocation. I also wonder if there are withdrawal symptoms of Nexium. I will never take these medicines again. The nexium was too strong and i’m freaking dependent on clonazepam like a drug addict. Let me also mention that i have never done drugs nor drink alcohol nor smoke. This is a very uncomfortable situation to be in and i am truly disgusted with my doctor for failing to tell me that this medicine would cause dependency. If i had known i would be in this situation, i would have refused the prescription. Now i’m nauseated and i feel like a crazy person. My gastroenterologist can’t figure out what’s causing the nausea and i’m convinced it’s been the clonazepam all along. Anyone else with gastro problems as a result of clonazepam, please respond. I just hope i’m not alone.

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  14. Cathy

    Just checking in on you. The last I spoke to you was in December and I think of you daily. The journey to coming off of the Klonopin has been slow, but I feel so blessed to have stumbled upon your site and your wisdom. I am currently down to 1/8 every other night……….well I tried that for the past 6 days and it’s been rather rough. I might take one step back and keep it at the 1/8 every night for a bit. I tapered rather fast, going from .5 2 times a day, to once a day, then 1/2 once a day, then 1/4, and now 1/8. Today was rough and I ended up taking 1/4 but I won’t beat myself up. I think of all of your positive comments and how this is possible. I hang on to the thought that someday I will think clearly and can truly function on a true normal basis. I spoke to my friend today who is going through a tough spell. She jokingly said she would love some of my medication. I told her I would never give her any because I care about her too much! The doctors should be jailed for administering this. I will continue to carry your message.
    May God continue to bless you. I wish you well!
    Cathy

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  15. Cathy

    Thanks for the advice. Now I am bummed. I don’t know what I will do after a few weeks on the 1/8th of a pill. I thought I was doing the right thing by going every other day. Perhaps I could cut it again, and then simply stop.
    The anxiety has been bearable, (but evident). The muscle aches are killing me.
    I am going to visit your page now.
    Cathy

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