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Thread: Advice on Clonazepam taper

  1. #1
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    Jan 2018
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    Advice on Clonazepam taper

    Hi,

    I've taken Clonazepam 0.5mg 2x a day for just over 7 years. I've also been on Lexapro 10mg for the last 3 months due to increased anxiety. After talking to my doctor recently, I've decided to taper off the Clonazepam & after speaking to a few doctors & a pharmacist, I had figured out a tapering plan to go down 0.25mg every week until I'm done. In doing some research online, I've seen that people on it this long don't generally taper this fast & I might run into some issues. So far I'm 3 days into my taper & all seems to be well so far.

    Is there anyone here who was on Clonazepam for this long or longer & tapered at this speed or faster & had no real issues?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice on Clonazepam taper

    Quote Originally Posted by ta333 View Post
    I've taken Clonazepam 0.5mg 2x a day for just over 7 years.

    ...I had figured out a tapering plan to go down 0.25mg every week until I'm done. In doing some research online, I've seen that people on it this long don't generally taper this fast & I might run into some issues. So far I'm 3 days into my taper & all seems to be well so far.
    I think this is too big a cut and too fast a taper. Imo, cutting back by 0.125mg every 3 weeks would make life easier. The rule of thumb on decreasing doses (also increasing) is to to cut back no sooner than 5 times the half-life of the med which for clonazepam can be up to 80 hours, so at no sooner than 17 day intervals and I'd take the additional 4 days to build extra confidence in the process. Doing it earlier may significantly increase any withdrawal symptoms.

    The other thing to be aware of is withdrawal can be as much about psychology as chemistry and this can be even more so when an anxiety disorder is a factor. An anxious mind can deliver our worst nightmares if given half a chance so be prepared to modify, or extend the taper if things start to become more than mildly unpleasant. You've been on clonazepam for 7 years so an extra few weeks or months is neither here nor there. No one is going to award you a gold star for getting off it in record time.
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    The opinions expressed above are based on my observations and, where applicable, interpretation of cited data and are general in nature. Consult your physician before acting on anything stated.

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice on Clonazepam taper

    Quote Originally Posted by panic_down_under View Post
    I think this is too big a cut and too fast a taper. Imo, cutting back by 0.125mg every 3 weeks would make life easier. The rule of thumb on decreasing doses (also increasing) is to to cut back no sooner than 5 times the half-life of the med which for clonazepam can be up to 80 hours, so at no sooner than 17 day intervals and I'd take the additional 4 days to build extra confidence in the process. Doing it earlier may significantly increase any withdrawal symptoms.

    The other thing to be aware of is withdrawal can be as much about psychology as chemistry and this can be even more so when an anxiety disorder is a factor. An anxious mind can deliver our worst nightmares if given half a chance so be prepared to modify, or extend the taper if things start to become more than mildly unpleasant. You've been on clonazepam for 7 years so an extra few weeks or months is neither here nor there. No one is going to award you a gold star for getting off it in record time.
    Thanks for replying!

    I wasn't aware of the rule of thumb for decreasing so thanks for informing me of that. After reading your post, I decided that I'm going to go much slower than I planned & go more along the lines of what you said (still working it out right now). I definitely will slow down even more depending on how things go psychologically.

    Originally I had planned to go much slower, but was told by my psychiatrist, GP & pharmacist that I could go even faster, so that's why I changed up my plan. I also am hoping to change psychiatrists after the taper due to them being a little less cautious than I'd like, so I guess that was also a big part of the motivation for moving quick. But you're right, It's been a long time & a few more weeks/months isn't going to make a big difference.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    Re: Advice on Clonazepam taper

    Quote Originally Posted by ta333 View Post
    I wasn't aware of the rule of thumb for decreasing
    The reason is because it takes about 5 half-lives for a med's plasma levels to stabilise to a new steady-state after a dose change, up or down.

    Originally I had planned to go much slower, but was told by my psychiatrist, GP & pharmacist that I could go even faster,
    They could be right, there's no way of predicting this, but the risk of failing increases the faster the wean off and, imo, doing it with minimum trauma is more important than speed.
    __________________
    The opinions expressed above are based on my observations and, where applicable, interpretation of cited data and are general in nature. Consult your physician before acting on anything stated.

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