Long story short: my elderly mother has been on 0.5 mg daily doses of Klonopin for about a year (since after my Dad died 22 months ago; he was also on Klonopin before succumbing to side-effects from Parkinsonism. Horrible!). My mom was on the Klonopin because of sleep issues (couldn't sleep more than a couple hours per night...was making her woozy and semi-psychotic because of the lack of sleep).
Unfortunately, she also suffers from acid reflux. The doctor had her on Nexium, then another acid reflux treatment.
She eventually had to go off the prescription treatments for acid reflux and tried more natural approach. She was stuck in a bad choice: reduce her dependence on Klonopin, and she couldn't sleep. Stay on it, and she'd be woozy with drastically reduced mental acuity and ability to cope, along with increased acid reflux. After changing doctors, she's got her Klonopin down to about .25 mg per day, but at a price with her sleep.
She went into a sleep clinic this past Monday, and she is now waiting out the two weeks or so for results. Newest doctor thinks it may be sleep apnea.
The ripsaw effect of the competing symptoms has gotten worse. She now feels sick nearly all the time from the acid reflux. Doctor has no further suggestions until they complete the review of her sleep clinic visit.
I didn't know anything about benzodiazepine dependency until my mom went through this. I wish I'd been in the room when her first doctor suggested using it...I'd have tried to talk them both out of it. Reports say benzodiazepine withdrawal is worse than opiates like heroin. Especially hard on an 80-year-old woman.
Anyone have similar experience? Anyone know of a way to reduce this ripsaw effect?
My reflux started to cause swallowing problems, and those problems got to be so bad that I developed a fear of choking. I think the reflux caused this problem, but some of my doctors suggested anxiety was the cause, or at the very least, was making it worse. They gave me Ativan (lorazepam) to deal with my anxiety Ė no one told me that those meds actually make reflux worse. I was only on them for 1 Ĺ weeks, but I think they did some damage to my LES (weakened it). After reading about how hard it was to withdrawal from the lorazepam, I decided to wean myself off and try to deal with the anxiety through relaxation methods and therapy. So far that approach has not been too effective, but Iím just getting started. I still have the lorazepam in the house, and when my throat really tenses up from the swallowing issues, Iím still tempted to reach for it. I wish your mother luck. Itís got to be tough at her age to deal with that.
just ended 3 years of benzo use 3 days ago today...i wish i had NEVER listened to dr. I was on ativan, klonopin and xanax for anxiety and was told to take it EVERY day, i have been trying to wean for over a year and had to research on how to wean safely after the drs had no advice on my rebound symptoms. I truly believe this has brought on my severe gerd and esophagitis. To make matters worse, 2 GI drs now have said that they do not know of a benzo and gerd connection...yet when you do research it is everywhere that benzos relax the les muscle.
I wish you the best, shes not alone, thats for sure, its unfortuanate we have to figure all of this out for ourselves.
Your mom is at least weaning off the medication gradually which is the right thing to do.
The other problem with taking these medications long term is that they can lead to falls and fractures as well as dependency. They are indeed addictive and cause dependency. Coming off them too soon can even induce seizures in some people, so it is best to wean off them slowly.
Melatonin is a natural supplement that can be used to regulate sleep and your mother may try it after discussing its use with her doctor. It is not addictive and I know of no adverse side effects from it. I have read some literature that says it can even help with reflux.
Losing a spouse is very hard, particularly for the elderly. My father passed away almost two years ago and my mother has aged tremendously during that time. She has taken antidepressants for anxiety rather than benzo drugs which are addictive.
I hope she is able to continue to come off the benzo drugs successfully and finds relief for her reflux.
Marigold Ė I donít want to pry, but were you originally prescribed the benzos to deal with your GERD symptomsí? Did you doctors tell you your GERD was the result of anxiety, or were you told you had anxiety because of how horrible it is to deal with GERD?
Beware, GERD sufferers, especially if you have LPR and its more non-classic symptoms. My doctor was quite quick to throw a benzo prescription my way and seemed way too quick to attribute my symptoms to anxiety (which I had no reason to really be suffering from). Thank goodness I was NOT quick to start that prescription but instead insisted on seeing an ENT. My primary doc seemed surprised that the ENT found such inflammation from my throat on down. I think most primaries are not well educated about LPR. If you don't have heartburn, they're going to assume you're not refluxing. I also think primaries are way too quick to throw anti-anxiety meds at women as a cure-all for whatever ails us. What the heck - I don't know what's wrong with her, but sedating her can't hurt. The more I think about it and read the testimonials on this board, the more ticked off I get about it. The next time my primary whips out his prescription pad and mentions a "diaza.." anything I might just punch him in the nose.
I'm coming back in to edit with another thought. I have considered the possibility that my LPR was made worse by anxiety after the initial two months of undiagnosed misery and heart tests. Who knows? It's the ole' chicken and the egg debate. I had no reason to be anxious until I started refluxing (unknowingly) and started having all sorts of alarming chest symptoms. I do think anxiety plays a role, perhaps a big role, in worsening reflux. In any case, I think anti-anxiety medication was absolutely NOT in my best interest given the side effects of these medications and their addictive nature. Not to mention that they almost assuredly relax the UES and LES in addition to everything else!
Last edited by abbydabbydew; 03-01-2010 at 06:52 PM.
I agree too. I go back to my GI next week and will bring with some of the articles Iíve found on-line linking benzos and reflux. My primary prescribed them to me but thought that she gave me such a low does that it shouldnít affect the LES Ė I disagree. I did take Ativan for 1 Ĺ weeks only, but I feel like in that short time, my symptoms got worse.
No, first came the panic attacks i've had off and on for years, i went through a very bad bout with anxiety (made worse by my tolerance to ativan, hence why the dr was like now you need klonopin, now klonopin + xanax...it never stopped until i said, this is not good, i feel awful and have to get off these). The GERD came on suddenly in the middle of my benzodiazepine taper.
I had had bouts of heartburn before benzos (very mild and controllable) but this is a beast from beyond. I am truly wondering if the PPI's are making me worse than better, thats another thread. But, i am soooo ticked how my own GI dr kept telling me since i have anxiety i should stay on xanax, of course i have anxiety, i'm coming off these strong anti-anxiety meds (years prior i was able to always naturally deal with my panic attacks...it wasn't until i agreed to benzos that my anxiety went through the roof while ON medicine) *sigh*.
ps. I agree that stress and anxiety play a role in gerd but i also can't believe GI drs don't know about the documented effect of benzos relaxing the LES muscles??....3 years, every day i was on 1 + benzos...geez, and they wonder why i have such a treatment resisitant reflux.
I told my Primary doc today that I have stopped taking the Ativan. She gave me a prescription for Xanax for those 3:00 am panic attacks. I also seem to need them for when my throat gets so stiff I can barely drink through a straw. Iím going to try really hard not to take them. I did find it interesting that in the list of Warnings that came with the Xanax, it said that ďAdditional monitoring of your dose or condition may be needed if you are taking certain stomach medicinesÖ.Ē and then it went on to list a few of the PPIs. First, Iím not sure why that there would need to be monitoring of my Xanax dose if Iím on PPIs. Second, Iím surprised (disappointed/disgusted) that there wasnít a similar warning in the Prevacid literature.
be weary of xanax, i was also on ativan for anxiety and my dr switched me to xanax...it has a shorter half life too....so, just be careful and i hope you don't have to take any.
I was on ativan for 5 months and xanax for 2 ish years and i was NEVER told about mixing my stomach meds with these, in the pamphlet from the pharmacy either...that makes me sick. It seriously does. I've since had people tell me that ppi's make you absorb benzodiazepines differently but never by a dr or pharmacisist.
I am going on my 6th day without xanax ( i wenaed it beginning a year ago) and i honestly think this is insanely hard having panic disorder and not taking benzos but the truth of it was your body develops such a tolerance after dr directed daily usage that i couldn't believe how the dr just kept upping it, upping it, etc....and on top of it the anxiety was getting worse at the higher doses...*sigh* tough road ahead of me as anxiety has really hit me coming off this the past month but i just have to move forward and adjust to this new life without benzos.
I also still find it curious two GI drs said they do not know of a connection with benzos to GI problems?? Yeah, this is what i'm working with. Best of luck to you guys.
Ok..I am new to this board. I am usually on the Fibromyalgia board. I was diagnosed with Barrett's 2 years ago. I have been taking Xanax .5mg 2-3 times a day since 1987for anxiety. Am I to think that my reflux/Barrett's is caused by this med? Not sure what a Benzo is sorry. Anyone?
Xanax is a benzodiazepine (class of drugs). If you ask most dr's (at least mine) they will say the benzos have little to do with acid reflux. For me, i began researching it after a severe case of acid reflux that is still plaguing me (or remanants of it-the erosions). It started not long after taking xanax and klonopin together (dr prescribed one for anxiety and one for insomnia). I found in many GERD books that benzodiazepines are a known class of drugs to relax the LES sphincter and can wreak GI havoc. After being on either xanax, ativan or klonopin daily for three years, i believe my GI system has been severely disrupted due to these meds. I am sure some people aren't as unlucky but it is a documented drug to cause GI problems.
catkaru do yourself a favor, a big favor go to Google and type in benzo withdrawal and do some research. 99 out of 100 doctors are oblivious to the horrific effects of benzo's (xanax) and wind up treating you for all the side effects from the benzo's without ever realizing that the benzo is the trouble.
Also you will need to taper Xanax when you want to come off it. Benzo withdrawal makes heroin withdrawal look like a walk in the park.