I have been taking Klonopin for 20 years for panic attacks and anxiety. The dosage has steadily increased to 2mg three to four times daily. I am going to be admitted into a hospital in the next day or so to be weaned off this drug as my doctor feels this is dangerous, and my anxiety has returned meaning that I have developed a very high tolerance to the point that it is no longer effective, but physically I need the drug. However I have heard that it completely re-wires your brain. I am worried about having seizures, and not feeling 'normal' again. I would appreciate any help with my concerns.
What are the affects of very long term use of Klonopin?
Question posted by drr0406 on 25 April 2013
Last updated on 1 January 2020
I take 2 Klonopin pills in the morning and sometimes a half a pill if I’m going somewhere specific. I take this medicine for Cervical Dystonia
I have been on Clonazepam for about ten years, my highest dose was 1 mg 3 times a day. Now I take.5 mg twice a day. I have quit several times with no withdrawal. In fact, I've been on 17 psych meds and never had any withdrawals. Many (SSRI's) I quit in two weeks. Other times I cross tapered to another med in two weeks. Not everyone experiences withdrawals.
This is absolutely false. Please do not believe what this person has posted.
I know this is surprising to many as it seems to contradict the accepted facts about benzodiazepines, but I can confirm, not everyone experiences withdrawal the same way. I find it unlikely that there would be zero symptoms but I have used xanax for years at a time for severe anxiety and been able to taper off in a matter of 2 to 3 days with a little sleeplessness as the only real withdrawal, and as I never slept well before, this was hardly a surprise. It's all a matter of how one is put together, I certainly don't think everyone should take this approach, withdrawal can be very nasty for some. But, it's unfair to tell someone their experience is impossible just because it's not the textbook experience.
This has been my experience also. No side effects in the first place and no withdrawals or discontinuation syndrome with any of the psych meds I've taken... and there have been quite a few.
I took between 4 to 6 mgs daily for about 8 years. Although I didn't have any seizures, I did feel at times my mind was racing so much that it felt as though I was going to. I felt disassociated and kind of outside myself. My eyes felt like they were going to pop out of my head and vision was so off like I was in a tunnel. Sooo hard to explain. The physical symptoms were almost unbareable as I was so extremely weak and my legs always hurt. I could barely walk up steps. Almost as if I had restless leg syndrome in both legs. The numbing was horrible in my right foot and I was always always sweaty. Especially in my hands snd feet. Always cold and clammy. I thought I would never be normal again. Well, I got thru!!! Clean for almost 6 months. Yaaayyy. No physical symptoms at all. Mental will take a while I feel. Still have some clinching of teeth and every so often my OCD is wacky. Good news is I have ZERO anxiety or panic. The Klonopin was actually causing them.
Just 20 mgs of lexapro and trazadone for sleep. All good. I feel all benzos should be outlawed. They are evil. Good luck and you CAN do this.
All's I can say is never never never go off any benzodiazepine abruptly, especially after long-term use. This was done to me in a hospital 25 yrs ago, but now that I'm older, don't think I could go thru it yet again. I'm concerned the dr thinks this can be safely done in a hospital (which is usually for a 1-2 wk period). That is just not true. It might take you 2 yrs to very slowly cut down, but that's how to protect your body and brain. Most of are anxious to get off this stuff asap (as I was), but it's not good for you. Don't want to scare you, but look at 'protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal' articles. Hopefully this won't happen to you - less chance if you taper slowly. Has the dr considered adding an SSRI to help you take less of the Klonopin? If not, he should have tried this.
I agree, I tried to quit rather abruptly, but had major withdrawal symptoms. I then tapered very slowly, about 9 months. And didn't have a single withdrawal symptom. Sure it took a long time, but it was worth it. I remember the last pill I took it was cut into 1/16th. I would actually weigh out my dosage and decrease by a very small amount every two weeks.
I also went off klonopin abruptly after 10-15 years so I just quit taking them. BIG MISTAKE! I blacked out 10 days. I was walking and talking but have no idea what was going on. After a few days of that I became paralyzed. I couldn't stand up, my legs wouldn't hold me, I would just collapse and my arms couln't push me up. They took me to the hospital and I tried to leave twice so they strapped me into bed finally I guess they got tired of fighting and let me go AMA, this is what I,m told cuz I dont remember going to the hospital. By the time I came around my poor boyfriend was exhausted mentally & physically, he had to pick me up off the floor. I out weigh him by 20 pounds and I was as limp as a rag doll & he was awake most of the 10 days I was out of it.Please dont go off it abruptly and only under your dr superision
I was on a high dose of Klonopin for 20 years and am now off. I was originally on 6 mg, 5 in the morning and 1 at night. I managed to quit the 1 mg at night. Only recently by tapering off of it in .25 mg increments every two weeks (less as the dose got lower). I did it on my own. I had actually taken Xanax then Klonopin for just over 20 years but realized that I would hit the 20 year mark with the Klonopin in 2015. No thanks. You don't need the hospital, just do it slowly as mentioned above. You can taper at a very small does for a long while if that makes it easier. You can do this. More later as I'm exhausted.
I was on klonopin for 9 years - and went through a horrific withdrawal, as it was done abruptly. I didn't know any better at the time, and that was done at a 2-week detox facility. There have been long-lasting effects in my thinking - mostly in my short-term memory. I've been off it for more than a dozen years, and still feel my thinking has changed - but it could very well also be age. The keys to getting off this drug are using an anti-seizure medication while doing it - and - tapering down very, very slowly. I don't quite understand the idea of admitting you to a hospital, as the tapering should be done over several months, not during a short-term hospital stay. If I had it to do over again, I'd definately do the slow process of gradually tapering. The abrupt way I went through put me through 3 solid weeks of continual panic attacks... and I'd never had one before!
Thank you so much for your input. What you experienced, and may be still experiencing, are pretty much what I've been worried about. I did have panic attacks - nasty ones, which is why I was put on the Klonopin and have been taking it for 20 years. I am on a very high dose - 2mg three times daily. I have heard many times that this drug does 're-wire' the brain, but my doctor has a concern about my physical health, as well. Like you, I would prefer a very long tapering down while taking another - non addicting - seizure medication. The hospitalization coming up on Monday is also for other reasons. My son passed away very suddenly four years ago, and about a year after he had died I started developing PTSD symptoms, and they are getting consistently worse. So an initial psych eval needs to be done. My doctor did say that a slow tapering off the Klonopin may be what is decided because simply lowering the dose will not work as my tolerance is so high.
I know I need to get off this drug, but I am very worried about the same things you have experienced. I'm afraid my brain will be a mess and I will never function right again. Thank You again, Artist, for taking the time to answer my question. Your experience mirrors mine very closely.
I know it has been several months since you posted this, but I was wondering how have you been doing?
Dear drr0406, I am wishing you my best. You will get thru this and be under
constant medical supervision. Hang tough, and you will be O.K.~~dd~~
Thank You Very Much, Dumpster Driver. Your positive words are very helpful and I will hang tough,
I feel your concern. You will be in a hospital and someone will be close by. I do not always believe what I hear. Yes your brain is going to through some tough stuff coming off of it. But no one knows for sure what it does long term. Try to have faith you are going to be OK. There are many more drugs out there and just as many if not more alternatives. Your doc can help you with that. I will send a little prayer for you. If you can let us know how you are doing.
Thank You janiebme. I do need to have some faith -faith is the opposite of fear. Thank you for the prayer, and yes, I will let you know how I'm doing.
I understand your anxiety as I have been on a regular low dose of alprazolam for about 3-4 years. I had decided when I felt it was not working I would not let them increase the dose so was already lowering it on my own when I went to the Dr.
At this time I have went from 1.25 mil to .50-.75 divided through the day. I am also starting busprione and it is working. I had also heard about the rewiring of the brain and was a little disturbed as I had already been on it as needed for 2 years before taking it daily.
You will be under a medical supervision and I am sure they will know how to help you through this. I hope you much success.
Thank You lalaB. I am pretty scared that I won't be able to think and function very well. This is a dangerous drug and I really want to be off of it, and my doctor has demanded it because my tolerance is so high - even on this high dose. But it's not working for me anymore. I also know the serious risks when being detoxed off this, especially after taking it for 20 years Again, thank your well wishes.
Even though you'll be under 'medical supervision' in a hospital, that doesn't mean the doctor or the staff understand the terror of a short-term withdrawal. Your dr probably thinks you need hospitalization to monitor for possible seizures. While that's good, are you sure you're dr truly understands about the seriousness of abrupt withdrawal? Has he read the research on it? You might want to look it up and give it to him if he doesn't. an 'evaluation' gone be done just as easily on an outpatient basis. I'm just very very concerned for you.
I became homeless and went into a Shelter where they took me off completely. I’ve been on for 19 yrs. I couldn’t talk right, walked like I was drunk, suicidal. When driving I felt high and driving in slow motion. Terrible side effects
It wasn’t a short withdrawal I was off it close to 2 month and still had the side affects
Personally I struggle with memory loss. Cat Scans of my brain are normal, I'm just told by the neurologist that it's a result of long term benzo use. I wish you luck!
klonopin, anxiety, panic disorder, seizure prevention, generalized anxiety disorder, dosage
- Klonopin uses and safety info
- Klonopin information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side effects of Klonopin (detailed)
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