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Klonopin Tapering (Clonazepam)

This entry was posted in Benzodiazepine and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

We find it heartbreaking and exasperating that the medical profession, particularly medical detox facilities, well-meaning as they are, still continue to largely miss the mark with Klonopin tapering.

Benzodiazepines like Klonopin cannot be treated in the same manner as other drugs. Klonopin tapering, Klonopin weaning, and Klonopin titration need to be performed with exceptional care and precise, compassionate monitoring.

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successful klonopin titration
Alternative to Meds has delivered expert benzo tapering and withdrawal for a decade and a half. We have published evidence demonstrating our success. Observably, some people seem to be able to taper off of benzodiazepines more easily than others. However, where one has accumulated a high level of neurotoxicity, this can impinge on the neurochemistry to the point of extreme agitation and discomfort. In this state, one feels agitation, stress, and other symptoms that are extreme. The level of suffering that comes with this condition is hard to describe. We know that these people are in need of clearing that toxic load before they can regulate. Orthomolecular medicine helps with correcting deficiencies through diet and targeted supplements, as well as many other gentle, non-invasive steps and therapies that are helpful. The unique needs of each individual require customized treatment.
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Why Proper Klonopin Tapering Has Become So Sought After

benzo tapering that worksOver the last decade, prescriptions for highly addictive benzodiazepines have doubled, resulting in Klonopin tapering, and weaning off Klonopin becoming one of the most sought-after drug addiction treatments of today. Getting off Klonopin is notoriously difficult, especially when attempted without proper help and guidance, and exponentially more difficult when the drug has been taken long-term.

Since the drug’s approval in 1982, Klonopin, generic clonazepam, has been prescribed for a variety of conditions, only three of which are FDA approved; panic attacks, panic disorder, and certain seizure disorders.1 Other “off-label” uses for Klonopin cover a broad range of conditions and may include acute anxiety, agoraphobia, insomnia, bipolar-related mania, and also to dampen restlessness and involuntary spasms, ticks, rocking, and tremors caused by antipsychotic medications.

As stated above, Klonopin is a highly addictive drug4 and after a very short while, weaning from Klonopin may be so debilitatingly harsh as to be nearly impossible to endure without specific and effective help. A large number of persons may find themselves in this medication trap, unable to endure the side effects of the drug, and yet unable to withstand the side effects of getting off Klonopin. Alternative to Meds Center has designed a Klonopin tapering treatment program that allows a person to slowly and gradually reduce, which can greatly soften the otherwise intolerable symptoms associated with stopping Klonopin.

Common Symptoms from Quitting Klonopin Abruptly

symptoms of quitting klonopin abruptlyAccording to the FDA label for Klonopin, it is essential to gradually wean down from Klonopin. The consequences of abruptly stopping can be severe, even life-threatening:

  • Grand mal seizures (abnormal electrical activity in the brain)
  • Status epilepticus, seizures lasting more than 5 minutes (life-threatening event)
  • Depression
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Loss of muscle control or coordination, ataxia
  • Agitation, nervousness
  • Dizziness

Background on the FDA Approval of Klonopin

Have you ever wondered how rigorously Klonopin was tested before the FDA approved the drug for sale?

The FDA label information on Klonopin1 refers to a meager two clinical trials that preceded FDA approval for this powerful drug. One trial was 6 weeks long and the other lasted 9 weeks. The outcomes of these trials are difficult to decipher as many of the statistical parameters are omitted, except that the label does mention that at the end of the trial there was no difference in outcomes compared to placebo, save in one subclass, which is noted below.* The trial parameters included a period of time in which Klonopin tapering was done after the trial ended, but surprisingly, beyond the brief mention of grand mal seizures to watch out for, little else is mentioned about difficulties the participants may have encountered during weaning from Klonopin. This seems a glaring omission if only by its obfuscation.

Notes on Klonopin Tapering 1mg

*The one exception was reported in one subgroup whose dosage was limited to Klonopin 1mg daily. Comparing this small group to the placebo group, 56% of the placebo patients had no panic attacks at the end of the trial, and 76% of the Klonopin 1 mg patients also had no panic attacks in the last week of the trial.

There were no differences in outcome for all other dosage levels, that is, for those participants given dosages higher than 1 mg per day.1 Even more astounding is that even though the drug had not been put through any clinical trials at all for seizure disorders, the drug was also FDA approved for prescribing Klonopin to seizure patients. The descriptions for these two clinical trials are perhaps too fragmentary to readily explain or comprehend the popularity of this drug. Nonetheless, once a person has developed dependency or addiction, the most important next step is to find a safe and gentle way to begin Klonopin tapering.

Increasing Awareness About Clonazepam Titration and Weaning

It seems as though medical practitioners are slowly becoming more aware of the addictive qualities and the side effects of benzodiazepines.2 More doctors are becoming familiar with what is sometimes referred to as America’s “other” prescription drug crisis, that of benzodiazepine addiction along with other negative consequences, such as deaths, birth defects in babies born to mothers taking benzo drugs, the severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, and others.

Some physicians, however, still have a sort of blindness when it comes to recognizing side effects. A doctor can diagnose a patient quite carelessly, lumping drug side effects together with original symptoms in a patient’s profile. Often, it is neither efficient nor accurate to label a patient who is experiencing Klonopin side effects as “a relapse case,” or to describe that patient as experiencing “latent emerging mental disorders or syndromes.” Those diagnostic practices can result in multiple prescriptions, potentially fueling the problem of unnecessary suffering for the patient.

Yet this still happens too often and it is most unfortunate that it does. Because a patient taking Klonopin who is diagnosed as a “relapse” case, in other words, with increasing anxiety, panic attacks, or other symptoms, will often have their medication increased instead of decreased. Again, sometimes this means being put on additional and even multiple additional medications, which also have their own significant sets of adverse reactions associated with them. Finding oneself in this position would be one very good reason to consider Klonopin tapering (in tandem with reducing other medications in the correct sequence where required). Done properly, Klonopin titration can be surprisingly easy to tolerate when it is supported by careful monitoring and support, using orthomolecular and other alternative therapies.5

How Safe is Klonopin According to Studies?

klonopin gaba deficiencyAlthough benzodiazepines are rarely mentioned in relation to TD (tardive dyskinesia), any agent that depletes GABA or injures receptors in the CNS can cause this condition. The longer a benzodiazepine is taken, the more GABA becomes “spent,” resulting in a deficiency. It is thought this is one reason that TD is linked to benzodiazepines such as Klonopin.

Drug manufacturers downplay, of course, such reactions and injuries. However, one can easily access information on even cursory research of how safe is Klonopin.3 Factors such as this mean that repairing neurochemistry is vital in any Klonopin tapering program.

Of note, the Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industry has added Klonopin to their hazardous drug list, citing the high incidence of birth defects after a series of tests on pregnant rabbits. These tests showed Klonopin, administered at very low equivalent-to-human doses, caused consistent congenital birth defects such as deformed body parts, incomplete bone structure, open eyelids, breathing and feeding difficulties, and many others.

According to research in Italy,6 weaning off Klonopin before pregnancy may be an option to consider. There are few to no studies on pregnancy and prescription drugs, because of safety and ethical reasons. Humanity in general is very much in the dark about the potential risks of birth defects or prenatal injury if the mother were to take Klonopin during her pregnancy.

The methods we use at Alternative to Meds Center provide the correct answers to how to accomplish Klonopin titration safely, gradually, and as comfortably as possible. This can be a relief to a woman who is planning a pregnancy, without the fear of birth defects for her child.

Beyond Tapering Klonopin … Finding and Correcting Root Causes for Unwanted Symptoms

klonopin tapering holistic treatmentAlternative to Meds Center has helped thousands of clients with benzodiazepine tapering and tapering from other medications and has developed a multi-faceted series of program steps that make it possible to reduce and even entirely eliminate medication without the torturous reactions normally associated with weaning off Klonopin and other drugs. But as importantly, we also seek to help our clients discover the root causes for their original symptoms, whether that was social anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia. This is particularly important when these conditions had a mysterious beginning to them and the causative and contributive factors for them have neither been discovered nor resolved.

The best way forward is a program that allows one to discover and correct the actual reasons for their original symptoms, like panic attacks or insomnia, etc., through a comprehensive holistic program in a comfortable and supportive inpatient setting. At Alternative to Meds Center, we use science-based, holistic protocols (i.e., orthomolecular medicine, metabolic testing, removal of neurotoxins, neurotransmitter rehabilitation, organic nutrition, spiritual psychiatry, and much more) to treat and support your recovery.

Please contact us at the center for much more information about how we can help you or your loved one with a holistic Klonopin tapering program that can truly help.

1. FDA label information Klonopin (clonazepam) [cited 2020 Sep 14]

2. Frances AJ “Yes, Benzos Are Bad for You,” Psychology Today, [Internet] 2016 Jul 1 [cited 2020 Jul 8]

3. Cornett EM, Novitch M, Kaye AD, Kata V, Kaye AM, “Medication-Induced Tardive Dyskinesia – A Review and Update.” Oxhsner Journal [Internet] 2017 Summer [cited 2020 Jul 8]

4. “Clonazepam (Klonopin)” NAMI publication, [Internet] 2019 Jan [cited 2020 Aug 10]

5. “Benzodiazepines and the Alternatives.” Harvard Health Publication [Internet] 2019 Mar 15 [cited 2020 Aug 10]

6. “Drug prescribing during pregnancy in a central region of Italy, 2008-2012.” BMC Public Health [Internet] 2018 May 15 [cited 2020 Sep 14]

Originally Published Nov 4, 2019 by Lyle Murphy

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Klonopin Tapering (Clonazepam)
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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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