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Withdrawal From Clonazepam

Withdrawal from clonazepam has to be carried out gradually to minimise potentially serious withdrawal side effects. Many people decide they want to come off clonazepam because of concerns of the adverse long term effects of the drug, such as cognitive problems, depression, increasing anxiety and changes in personality, etc. On this page you will be able to learn how to withdraw from clonazepam after long term use. We have provided a helpful suggested withdrawal schedule to help you to taper off of clonazepam.

To withdraw from the drug clonazepam we recommend crossing over to diazepam. Both diazepam and clonazepam are benzodiazepines, prescribed as medication for the same disorders. For more information on the benefits tapering off benzodiazepines using diazepam read this article by Prof Ashton on the reasons for using diazepam.

Clonazepam Brand Names

Clonazepam is the generic name, however it is sold around the world under various brand names. You may know clonazepam under the following brand names:

Acepran, Alerion, Antelepsin, Ciclox, Clonagin, Clonapam, Clonax, Cloner, Clonex, Clonogal, Clonotril, Clozanil, Crismol, Diocam, Edictum, Epitril, Epizam, Felanor, Iktorivil, Induzepam, Kenoket, Klonopin, Kriadex, Leptic, Neuryl, Olimer, Ozepam, Paxam, Povanil, Ravotril, Riuclonaz, Rivatril, Rivotril, Ropsil, Sedovanon, Sensaton, Solfidin, Valpax.

Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Clonazepam as with other benzodiazepines has various prescribing indications. Often clonazepam is prescribed for its muscle relaxant effects, as well as for treating anxiety, insomnia and epilepsy. However, benzodiazepines are high tolerance producing drugs, and these benefitial effects disappear after a few weeks or months of regular usage, after which time people typically develop an addiction to clonazepam. Once a person is addicted to clonazepam, they will often find that they need to increase the dose to get the same effect and they will also typically find that they experience unpleasant and sometimes severe withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to discontinue their medication. Withdrawal symptoms occur when a substance the body is dependent on is removed from the body. How soon withdrawal symptoms appear and when they reach their peak intensity depends on how long the drug stays in the system. How long a drug stays in a persons system for depends on a person's individual metabolism. In the case of clonazepam, which has an elimination half life of 18 - 50 hours, withdrawal symptoms can be expected to develop within 24 - 72 hours and to reach their maximum intensity after about 5 - 7 days.

The importance of a gradual reduction taper regime cannot be emphasised stronger. Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines and especially high potency benzodiazepines such as clonazepam can range from headaches, anxiety, sleep problems, weight loss to more severe and life threatening symptoms including suicidal ideation, epileptic seizures and psychosis. We often hear from people who have attended so called detox centers, only to be plunged into severe withdrawal and to attempt suicide as soon as they are released often taking an overdose. Suicide attempts are almost unheard of with a gradual withdrawal regime and regular attendance of a withdrawal support group. Furthermore, rapid detoxification from benzodiazepines often sets the stage for a protracted withdrawal syndrome where severe symptoms can drag on for months and months or sometimes a year or more before starting to abate.

Abuse of Clonazepam

There is also growing concern of clonazepam being abused for its sedative euphoria effects. Drug abusers often use clonazepam to bring them down from a high or to cushion the crash from highs or withdrawals from other drugs including alcohol. Benzodiazepines are often used to enhance or add to the effects of other depressant drugs eg opiates including heroin and alcohol and benzodiazepines are often used by teenagers as a cheap way of getting high. Abuse of sedative hypnotics, especially in combination with other depressant drugs such as alcohol and opiates, greatly increases the toxicity of benzodiazepines and there is a substantial risk of overdose and death with recreational abuse of benzodiazepines, including clonazepam.

How Does one Withdraw From Clonazepam?

To withdraw from clonazepam after long term use, it is recommended to use diazepam. If you haven't already, we recommend that you read this article on TAPERING WITH DIAZEPAM. The below withdrawal schedule should be seen as a general guide. We are all individuals and the rate at which an individual can taper at will vary from person to person. It is important to listen to one's body. If withdrawal symptoms get to be too much, it is important to slow the rate of dosage reduction down. As the B.N.F (British National Formulary) states; It is better to reduce benzodiazepines too slowly than it is to reduce them too quickly! We agree with this BNF statement. If you have any further questions and you haven't already then join our withdrawal support forum.

With a small bit of abstract thinking readers should be able to adapt the below withdrawal table to their current dosage of clonazepam and proceed with their gradual withdrawal schedule.

Withdrawing from Clonazepam

Withdrawing from 3 mg of Clonazepam using 10 mg Diazepam tablets.
Follow or Adapt Table From Your Starting or Current dose
Morning Lunch Time Evening Before Bed Total Daily Dose
Clonazepam 1.5 mg     Clonazepam 1.5 mg Clonazepam 3 mg
Stabalise for 1 - 3 weeks
Cross over can be done in 4 stages instead of 2 stages or even more slowly if any difficulties are encountered during this suggested cross over to diazepam section.

Clonazepam 1 mg + Diazepam 10 mg

    Clonazepam 0.5 mg + Diazepam 20 mg Clonazepam 1.5 mg + Diazepam 30 mg
Stabalise for 1 - 3 weeks

Diazepam 30 mg

    Diazepam 30 mg Diazepam 60 mg
Stabalise for 1 - 3 weeks
At this stage you should be stabalising on the diazepam and ready to start making some small reductions in dosage.
Diazepam 25 mg     Diazepam 30 mg Diazepam 55 mg
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Diazepam 25 mg  

 

Diazepam 25 mg Diazepam 50 mg
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Diazepam 20 mg     Diazepam 25 mg Diazepam 45 mg
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Diazepam 20 mg     Diazepam 20 mg Diazepam 40 mg
Withdrawing from 40 mg of diazepam to 20 mg can be carried out using 5 mg sized tablets
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Diazepam 16.25 mg     Diazepam 20 mg Diazepam 36.25 mg
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Diazepam 16.25 mg     Diazepam 16.25 mg Diazepam 32.5 mg
Hold reduction for 10 - 14 days
Now that the dose is going below 30 mg of diazepam most people find that they need to slow their taper rate down, so we recommend cuts are done every 3 - 4 weeks.
Diazepam 12.5 mg     Diazepam 16.25 mg Diazepam 28.75 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 12.5 mg     Diazepam 12.5 mg Diazepam 25 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 10 mg     Diazepam 12.5 mg Diazepam 22.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 10 mg     Diazepam 10 mg Diazepam 20 mg
Withdrawing from 20 mg of diazepam should be carried out using 2 mg sized tablets
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
9 mg     9 mg Diazepam 18 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 8 mg  

 

Diazepam 8 mg Diazepam 16 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 7 mg     Diazepam 7.5 mg Diazepam 14.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 6.5 mg     Diazepam 6.5 mg Diazepam 13 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 5.5 mg     Diazepam 6 mg Diazepam 11.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 5 mg     Diazepam 5 mg Diazepam 10 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 4.5 mg     Diazepam 4.5 mg Diazepam 9 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 4 mg     Diazepam 4 mg Diazepam 8 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 3.5 mg     Diazepam 3.5 mg Diazepam 7 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 3 mg     Diazepam 3 mg Diazepam 6 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
See also NOTE below for additional information on withdrawing from 5 mg of diazepam
Diazepam 2.5 mg     Diazepam 2.5 mg Diazepam 5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 2 mg     Diazepam 2.5 mg Diazepam 4.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 2 mg     Diazepam 2 mg Diazepam 4 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 1.5 mg     Diazepam 2 mg Diazepam 3.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 1.5 mg     Diazepam 1.5 mg Diazepam 3 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 1 mg     Diazepam 1.5 mg Diazepam 2.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 1 mg     Diazepam 1 mg Diazepam 2 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 0.5 mg     Diazepam 1 mg Diazepam 1.5 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
Diazepam 0.5 mg     Diazepam 0.5 mg Diazepam 1 mg
Hold reduction for 3 - 4 weeks
      Diazepam 0.5 mg Diazepam 0.5 mg
Drop Last 0.5 mg dose of diazepam and Never Take Another Benzodiazepine Again
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gradual Diazepam Detox Complete

NOTE: Some people find it difficult in the final stages of withdrawal from 5 mg of diazepam to zero. If you are one of these people it may be of value asking your doctor to provide you with the 2 mg per 5 ml diazepam liquid suspension, and obtaining a 1 ml syringe from your local pharmacy/drug store/chemist. Users can then obtain smaller dose reductions than the 0.5 mg sized cuts using tablets. See this page on SLOW WITHDRAWAL FROM DIAZEPAM using liquid suspension diazepam.

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