Over the last decade, prescriptions for highly addictive benzodiazepines have doubled and have resulted in Klonopin tapering ranking as one of the most sought-after drug addiction treatments today. Withdrawal from Klonopin is notoriously difficult, especially when attempted without proper help and guidance, and exponentially more difficult when the drug has been taken longer than a few weeks.
Since the drug’s approval in 1982, Klonopin 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.
Unfortunately, Klonopin is a highly addictive drug and after a very short while, withdrawal from Klonopin may be so debilitatingly harsh as to be nearly impossible to accomplish. 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. The Alternative to Meds Center has designed a Klonopin withdrawal treatment program that allows a person to slowly and gradually taper, which can greatly reduce and soften the otherwise intolerable symptoms associated with stopping Klonopin.
Have you ever wondered how rigorously Klonopin was tested before the FDA approved the drug for sale?
The FDA label information on Klonopin (1) 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 is 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, no mention is made in regard to any difficulties the participants may have encountered during withdrawal from Klonopin. This is a glaring omission if only by its absence.
*The one exception was reported in one subgroup whose dosage was limited to 1 mg 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 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 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 these 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.
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 fuelling 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).
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. (3)
Stopping Klonopin before pregnancy may be an option to consider and the methods we use at the Alternative to Meds Center provide the correct answers to how to get off Klonopin 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 learning How to Get Off Klonopin – Finding and Correcting Root Causes for Unwanted Symptoms
The Alternative to Meds Center has helped thousands of clients with getting off Klonopin and 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 withdrawals normally associated with stopping 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.
Please contact us at the center for much more information about how we can help you or your loved one with a Klonopin tapering program that can help someone trying to get off Klonopin safely, but also allows one to discover and correct the actual reasons for their original symptoms through a comprehensive holistic program in a comfortable and supportive inpatient setting.
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.