I asked my doctor to taper me with valium as per the ashton manual but he didn't go for it. Didn't know anything about it. Told me to take 1 klonopin tonight with 1/2 my dose of xanax and then 1 three times a day and a half a xanax if i need it. I have been on 0.5 mg xanax 3 x a day and 2 mg at night for 10 years.
Donna, I am so sorry that your doctor wouldn't support the Valium bridge. I don't know why doctors are so unwilling to learn, but they are. If it is not something that they aleady know then for many of them it doesn't exist because they are either too busy to learn or just don't care. Either way, the consequences are the same to patient But, for the benefit of those reading these posts---THIS is one of the main concerns you need to evaluate staying on a medication where it eventually imprisons you at the mercy of potentially uninformed medical professionals that won't learn and won't be supportive once you are in trouble with the drug---as they see it, it is YOUR problem. For me, I just refuse to acquiesce the control of my life to the mercy of the medical profession. I realize others may have debilitating conditions for which they must take this stuff, but goodness sake at least make sure your doctor has you on the longest half life version of the medication---when it comes time for you to taper you will be sooooooooooooo glad that you did. Once doctors have kept you on a certain drug, for some reason they are just unwilling to switch you...makes no sense at all because they are ALL benzodiazepine drugs, just with different half lifes. People should NEVER be prescribed a short half life benzodiazepine on a long term basis; just ridiculous.......grrrrrrrrrrr.
Donna, the good news is that Klonopin has a longer half life than Xanax. It also has an anticonvulsant property to prevent seizures which may be the reason your doctor selected it---most fear liability regarding seizures. So, your doctor has selected what best protects him.
Xanax is 6-20 hours
Klonopin is 18-50 hours
Valium is up to 200 hours
You can see why Valium better supports a taper without a rapid drop off.
Ok, exactly how many pills of each do you have left and what level are they?
I think it was a good move on your doc.method. valium is more addictive than xanax,so he was probably thinking if he gave you valium,you would be off the xanax,and addicted to the valium.I.M.O your doc . did the right thing.
None of the research I have found shows Valium is more addictive. It is equally addictive since both are benzodiazepines but with different half life values. Professor Heather Ashton in the United Kingdom has conducted and published (available free online), the most extensive research on benzodiazepines. She recommends that anyone tapering from any benzodiazepine, and there are several, switch to Valium for a bridge taper. Valium is the taper drug of choice because it has the longest half life among all the benzodiazepines.
The concern among physicians regarding Valium is not that it is more addictive. Instead, the concern is that a person who abuses drugs can get into greater trouble with Valium than with Xanax because Valium stays in the system so much longer; i.e. Xanax,6-20 hours; Valium, up to 200 hours. If a drug abuser is repeat dosing at levels greater than prescribed, an overdose can be more readily achieved with Valium than with Xanax as the Xanax leaves the system much more rapidly.
Several years ago, and for many years, Valium was more popularly prescribed and consequently abused with greater risks because of the long half life. Therefore, it became branded as high risk regarding both its addictive and overdose potential. Guidelines evolved recommending physicians prescribing a benzodiazepine should prescribe a short half life benzodiazepine because it theoretically lessens risk regarding overdose potential among the addict community who are known to take drugs at levels higher than prescribed. Clearly if a person tells a physician he/she has an abuse or addiction problem, Valium will not be prescribed because of the long half life risks. Be careful to label yourself correctly to your physician. There is a medically distinct difference between a person who has developed a drug tolerance dependency and a person who describes themself as a person with an addiction problem. The distinction for the medical community is simple and associated with one's ability to properly manage your drugs as prescribed. A person with an addiction problem can not manage drugs as prescribed and therefore will be restrictively prescribed with lower risk options. In the medical community any drug with a shorter half life is, perhaps erroneously, perceived to have less risks simply because it flushes out of the system more quickly.
The whole issue of benzodiazepines is very controversial among the medical community. Informed physicians know the problems with short half life benzos is that they drop you off the ledge of the cliff when the drug is abruptly stopped---yet, longer half life benzos have higher overdose risks among abusers. Clearly all aspects of the controversy is bad and creates confusion among medical professionals, but hasn't stopped them from prescribing. That is why people taking benzos need to try and get off of them. Once you are in trouble with the drug, finding INFORMED medical support to help get you off the drug without intense WDs is difficult. All of the news is bad when it comes to benzodiazepines. A person medically needing to be on an anti-anxiety drug needs to research and consult with doctor about alternative drugs with less risks.
I read elsewhere that you can help extend a taper by taking Tagamet. It may be that any anti-acid reducer would work, but Tagamet was identified by more than one source so it could be a particular ingredient in it; don't know. It will not likely help regarding how rapidly the drug leaves your system, but will impact it somewhat by slowing down the rate at which it is absorbed.
That is just not right! Doctors are so ill informed on benzos. Valium is no more addictive that xanax - in fact xanax is arguably the worst of the benzos as it seems to bind so tightly to the receptors. Its short half life means that blood levels peak and trough in a matter of hours. Its a dreadful drug to try to wean off for this reason.
If I were you - I would re-read Ashton - she is the world authority on these drugs - then find a doctor who knows what he/she is doing. Your present doctor doesnt.
The best way to get off benzos is to change over to valium and taper off slowly. The long half life allows for smooth blood serum levels when down dosing - as opposed to xanax with a short half life which throws you into withdrawals between doses.
Good luck - you have a difficult task ahead of you.
What amuses me about the Ashton report is that I've read on one of the UK's most respectable pain clinics website (Coventry Pain Clinic) that Valium is about to be withdrawn from the UK market! Go figure. Still I think that the half life of Klonpin is enougn and especially in comparision to Xanax. The other advantage is the effect is drawn out over about 12 hours compared to Xanax's 2 hours and so it eases the jitters. I thinks Klonpin is an Ok drug to taper on. I came down from 3.5mg to 1mg in 3 weeks (I've only been on it for 4 months through.) But the taper wasn't too hard. Although the last 0.50 was the hardest and so I guess it would get harder from here!!!
Good look with your taper Donnie, respect your Doctor and work with him, I don't think you should doubt him because a report says something else. He's got his way and I think it makes sense.
Thank you all for your advice. I am waiting to start the klonopin until the weekend is over. I have lots of plans and don't want to be too drugged. I don't work so during the week i can do this taper. I thought my docto was so vague and i have to admit i am warey. I almost don't want to even start the klonopin because i don't really know how much xanax to take, its just based on how i feel. I dunno. I sure would have more faith in the ashton method. I see him in a month so if its not working out, i will take a copy of the manual or mail it to him before my appointment. I really don't want to lose this man as my doctor. He has written a book about an illness that I have and it is his specialty.
Just my story, but I was switched to Klonopin from xanax & have been off it 5 months & still having awful w/d effects. It's not any easier to get off of than any other benzo, in my case, I think it's the worst.
Have talked to many people who think K is the worst! Do some research & talk to others who have tried to w/d from Klonopin.
thank you lori. I have been posting here and to other email groups and surfing the web and so far only one person thought i should take the klonopin. I am going to call my doc tomorrow and see again if he will refer me to an addiction doctor. First i am going to find a few that will take me as a patient. Then ask him to pick one.
What type of w/d effects do you have after 5 months? Is it easier to remember things?
Just want to stop in and say that getting off xanax is easy with Klonopin. I've done it myself. Easy taper... and then no K... I didn't have a single problem, and this was the way my dr told me was the best way to go.
The thing is... the original poster is not trying to taper of K. When tapering off X, you are not on K long enough to get addicted to K. I imagine if someone is addicted to K, the taper would be different than the taper w/ X.
IMO... due to first hand personal experience, if the goal is to stop xanax (and all benzos) then a taper with K works great.