Clonazepam Withdrawal

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Caitrin
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:49 am
Location: New Jersey

Clonazepam Withdrawal

Post by Caitrin »

Hello, I have been taking 2 mil./day of clonazepam for several, maybe 20 years and my doc recently reduced my daily dosage to 1.5 mil. I have been under stress lately and require 2 mil. on those days. When I saw my doc yesterday he told me he didn't treat stress disorders and told me he would not prescribe my med beyond 2 more months and gave me the names of a psychiatric nurse and psychiatrist in my area. He also said he thought he was prescribing the clonazepam for RLS. Also, my blood pressure was 140/70 while it is normally 120/60. A few years ago he sent me to a neurologist for my RLS symptoms while still prescribing the 2 mil. of clonazepam. My neurologist prescribes 600-1200 mil. of Gabapentin at night and sinemet, 25/200 per day and my RLS is under control. I DO NOT need psychiatric help and do not wish to be prescribed an antidepressant to replace the clonazepam, only to find a way to withdraw more gradually and get a good night's sleep. Thank you for your comments/suggestions :(

ViewsAskew
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Post by ViewsAskew »

Hi Caitrin,

Sorry you're having difficulties.

About 50% of those taking clonazepam can stop it without any problems. You may be one of those. Let's hope you are.

What has happened in the past when you've reduced it?

If you have difficulty when reducing it, there are a few options. One is the Ashton method. Dr Ashton is a British doctor who specializes in withdrawal from benzodiazepines.

The other is just to reduce it by tiny amounts, each week, over time. I used this method. It took me 7 months, as I was one of the people who found it difficult.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Neco
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Post by Neco »

The bigger concern here is the lack of communication between you and your doctor, apparently about what you are taking the meds for..

When you say you require 2mg on the more stressful days, how did you say it to your doctor?

When you say stressful, do you mean your RLS is aggravated and it requires a higher dose to treat the symptoms? Or are we talking about purely psychological stress...or?

Shame on your doctor for not prodding more and just deducing you were looking for drugs, or whatever.. But you need to go back if possible and clarify what you meant to him, if it is simply the case of needing more because your symptoms are worse that day; and if that IS the case, he should be scolded at the least.

Caitrin
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Location: New Jersey

Post by Caitrin »

Ann and Zach,

Thanks for your comments. This is first time I have tried reducing my dosage. When I saw my doc 3 mos. ago he suggested that I might be able to get by on 1 mil/day after a few months and when I told him I wasn't yet able to reduce the dosage because of some recent stress, he asked if he was prescribing the med for RLS or stress. Had my appointment been today instead of last Friday the outcome may have been different. Unfortunately, he was adamant about discontinuing my med after another 2 mos. and he insisted that I see a mental health physician for my "problems." He is a pulmonary specialist (he treats me for mild asthma) who once treated sleep disorders as well but he has dropped that portion of his practice. That is why he sent me to the neurologist who prescribes my RLS meds. I think it's time to change doctors. In the meantime, I will look at the Ashton method and am already trying to reduce the med very slowly. Thank you both, Kathy

Chipmunk
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Post by Chipmunk »

I'm not surprised your doctor referred you. It does sound (from the way you put it) that you are using the clonazepam to relax/de-stress rather than to treat the RLS/WED.

I think you might find an appt with a psychiatrist helpful and I would encourage you to go.
Tracy

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Polar Bear
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Post by Polar Bear »

On the other hand, it is possible that on a particularly stressful day the RLS/WED symptoms are increased and so require the medication.
Betty
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Caitrin
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:49 am
Location: New Jersey

Post by Caitrin »

The truth is that I am indeed hooked on the clonazepam which is the medication given me many yrs ago for my RLS together with hydrocodone and sinemet. I discontinued the hydrocodone a yr ago because my neurologist prescribed the gabapentin together with the sinemet and these meds work well for my RLS. Yes, I become stressed and anxious when I don't take the 1.5 to 2 mil of the clonazepam and will therefore see the psychiatric nurse to whom I was referred next week. My doctor was correct that I wasn't taking this for the RLS but I wonder why he didn't bring this up much sooner.

Polar Bear
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Post by Polar Bear »

Caitrin, you say you take gabapentin and sinemet for your RLS/WED and that it works well. How long have you been taking these two drugs for your WED symptoms, and do you take them every day? In particular do you take the sinemet on a daily basis?

Generally, sinemet should only be taken 2 or 3 times each week at most as it has a high risk of causing augmentation.
Betty
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doety
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:25 pm

withdrawal

Post by doety »

Hi Caitrin: I think I've posted about this subject all over, and don't mean to be confusing. But I do think this is a big topic of concern.

I've been slowly withdrawing from clonazepam for almost a year (off and on). Finally I read a thread on webmd about the dangers of combining Methadone and clonazepam. It made me angry -- no doc has ever talked about that.
I was down to what I thought was a tiny piece of clonazepam, so a just quit the night I read that thread. I also stopped Lunesta, which I'd only been taking for a few weeks, and decided I'd quit pot, too.

For a few days, I was fine and thought this was easy. Then I started into real withdrawal....with all the symptoms heroin addicts get. Hot flashes, weird pains, spasms, loss of memory and good sense, trembling, on and on. I just decided I would be miserable and get through it -- fueled by lots of anger. I'm just about on the other side now. Back to my old self, with energy and optimism. I expect a few bumps, but I believe the worst is over. It took at least three weeks since I stopped those drugs.

As the drugs peeled off: I've lost weight, have no appetite. Weird...clonazepam made me hungry, but now with only Methadone, I don't want to eat. I'm sleeping more of course, finally, and RLS is not bothering me. The horrible leg spasms I was having every morning have stopped cold. I seem to be trying to catch up on sleep and am taking naps morning and afternoon. I'm trying to just let that be and not feel guilty.

I talked to an "addictionologist" last week. I would like to reduce the Methadone I'm taking down to nothing and try something else. I'm not going to do this alone -- that's too painful! I'm having all kinds of thoughts about this. I've always wondered what problems were caused by RLS and which were caused by these strong drugs I take.

I'll post my progress (if that's what it is) as I go along. My best to you as you start this difficult journey.

badnights
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Post by badnights »

not to hijack this thread but a word to doety - that's fantastic! I imagined I would do it that way if I ever had to - buckle down and regard it as a bad sickness that I have to live through. I imagine having the anger there would be a grand way to keep the determination glowing red-hot! But wow. How hard for you. Now you seem out the other side, the worst of it, after an incredible amount of time spent on this. Well done, keep doing, and I hope everything else works even better, and yields such immediately obvious positive results! (the clonazepam was causing leg spams?)

Go ahead and nap when your body wants you too. Time enough for trying to be normal later, when you've healed a bit more.
Beth - Wishing you a restful sleep tonight
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rthom
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Re: Clonazepam Withdrawal

Post by rthom »

I also have come off my meds (get sick of them), anyway the thing I usually do is get frustrated with my meds and just drop them like within a few weeks, this usually does not go over well with the MD's so this time I told them ahead of time and followed protocol and did it slowly as instructed. Here's the kick in the pants, When I went off quickly it was still in my blood when I finished dumping them all--only a matter of weeks. However when i did it their way it took over 2 months and by then the Rls had gone nuts before I was starting off the final drug. I'm at home nearly loosing it and trying to convince myself to follow my plan (the MD's didn't think i should be off any of it anyway) but knowing it's going to get a whole lot worse if I do. The point to the story, be careful that in coming off your meds it doesn't take so long that the rls is now so bad you can't continue to move forward.
I hate taking my meds (thus the reason I keep dumping them) but accepting my current condition (or worse) is not ok either.
I went off clopazipam as well, had no problem though--sorry i couldn't be of much help with that.

doety
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Re: Clonazepam Withdrawal

Post by doety »

Hi rthom: I wonder if there's any way to tell when it's drug withdrawal and when it's RLS?? I've run into the same thing and I don't have a clue what to do. If you have bad RLS, and most of us do, there should be a point, when you reduce the medications you're taking, that your body wants something to treat it. Wish I knew an answer. Actually, I will be going into a Methadone withdrawal program -- and maybe I'll get some answers from there. I assume I'll need another drug and I'm watching what other people take. I want to stop Methadone because 1-it makes me fall asleep when I'm driving and 2-it's given me "central apnea." There's a warning about that (you shouldn't give anyone Methadone who has sleep issues and I do). This involves breathing equipment that I must use at night and really restricts travel. I'll post anything I find out.

rthom
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Re: Clonazepam Withdrawal

Post by rthom »

Doety, Thanks for that. Would like to know about the sleep stuff as I also have a sleep disorder that severly complicates things with the rls. In essence I fall asleep on the back side of the REM cycle. So this means that as soon as I fall asleep I'm in the process of awakening. The rls makes me rouse and I wake unable to return to sleep, whether it's 2 min or 30, my brain says I'm done sleeping. (there is one benefit, at least I'm not frantic every time I don't get enough sleep because my brain thinks I have--sucks to be the rest of the world on that one--Ha... :lol: ). Gotta take the laughs where u can I find. Anyway if I only get 10 min before I wake I'm not able to fall asleep again until i'm both physically and mentally exhausted or really heavily drugged.
I would love an update now and then.

rthom
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Re: Clonazepam Withdrawal

Post by rthom »

I forgot to tell you, I can tell personally which is withdrawl and which is RLS. It's been my experience that with all the second-guessing I've done or others, Dr's included, that my body and brain knew I just refused to listen or believe. So about the withdrawl thing for me I can tell the drug stuff from the other. Maybe it's just as simple as for the first half of my life I just had to bear it and now my brain knows what "it" is. My 2 cents worth, hope it helps.

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