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after benzo dependence, is it ok to take klonopin as needed?


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Last march I had a bad reaction to a med change, so my pdoc had me start taking klonopin every day until things settled down. I have taken klonopin as needed for years and years, but this was the first time I took it every day for more than a week or so.

I was still taking it every day a year later, even though I was back on meds that used to work with no added benzo. Also, I felt like the klonopin wasnt working anymore; I felt anxious all the time, especially right before my scheduled doses.

I told my pdoc I wanted to try quitting the klonopin, and she said fine, whatever. So I tapered off REALLY slowly, because I had withdrawal effects whenever I cut the dose; anxiety, muscle pain, stomach upset, etc. I had become dependent from taking it every day, but not addicted; I never had any urge to increase my dose, or take more than prescribed.

I am finally off, and feeling better, I am less anxious and I no longer get the pre-dose anxiety. But I am wondering, can I go back to taking klonopin as needed, or should I avoid benzos from now on? I am going to try to do without klonopin for a while, but it would be nice if I could still use it in case of emergency.

Has anyone had any experience with this?

I hope this topic does not scare anyone, everyone is different and not everyone gets dependent on their benzo. Plus, it was not the worst med I have withdrawn from, as long as you take it slow, it isnt too bad.

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Since it was just a dependency and not an addiction, there's no reason why you couldn't start taking it again. The question is whether or not it will be effective anymore. You may want to change to another one if that's the case. Your post is fine.. it's legit med use not drug seeking.

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I had clonazepam prescribed 0.5 mg x 4/day + PRN about 6+ years ago-- I was going through a lot, and was using so many PRN that I ended up taking about 4 mg/PRN for a panic attack and finding the med ineffective. I wasn't getting enough pills from my doctor and realized that I was starting to seek them illegally, so stopped using them altogether. It sucked, but I did stop. Because of that experience, I was reluctant to use that med again, but after a few years, began using them PRN again. I was very cautious, and only use them when I really need them, and it's been fine so far. I'm still using the 0.5 mg pills, and after I got out of the hospital in January, my pdoc asked me to take them two times a day + PRN, because he knew that my need for the anxiety relief was greater than any possible concern with my increasing use. At this point, I am no longer taking them daily, and don't have that "gotta have it with me" feeling anymore.

Good luck!

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Moody, I have been through a similar experience and I now use Xanax PRN.

I had a Pdoc and she had me on .25 Xanax four times a day for years, probably four or more years. I did become dependent. But she was quite clear that I was not addicted because I did not seek to increase the dose.

I left her care and on my own I slowly tapered down off Xanax. I took two months doing so and it was a challenge.

I shopped a few psychiatrists and found my current doctor. He gives me a PRN prescription for Xanax. I take it when needed. Everyday during a rough patch of my life and now less often. I try to keep track on how much I take. But of course the prescription is limited. It is written for .50 once per day. My bottle of 30 .50 Xanax always has extras pills at the end of the month.

This works for me. However some people have more of a problem with dependence to such a drug and it might not apply to another person. Talk with your doctor is my advice.

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I am also tapering down on my benzo. I go down to .125mg 2X a day tomorrow. After a few days (4 or 5) on that, I'll just drop it completely. If I'm feeling okay (no physical symptoms indicating a seizure might occur) for a week or so, I'm flushing all of those pills down the toilet and never taking another one. I know what that class of drugs does to me.

If you think you can handle it PRN, more power to you. I know it would be way too tempting for me.

Tempting in what way? Addiction?

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Thanks everyone for your comments/experience, that is very helpful. Seems like I might be ok taking a benzo as needed, since I have never had addiction issues. I never craved a dose, even when I was going through the withdrawal.

I will talk to my pdoc about it, but I can already guess what she will say. :) She is very pro-benzo, when I told her that I wanted to stop taking the klonopin, she suggested that I take a higher dose instead. I dont think she believed that the klonopin was causing me more anxiety, hopefully she will now.

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Thanks everyone for your comments/experience, that is very helpful. Seems like I might be ok taking a benzo as needed, since I have never had addiction issues. I never craved a dose, even when I was going through the withdrawal.

I will talk to my pdoc about it, but I can already guess what she will say. :) She is very pro-benzo, when I told her that I wanted to stop taking the klonopin, she suggested that I take a higher dose instead. I dont think she believed that the klonopin was causing me more anxiety, hopefully she will now.

Now I'm really confused. You want to take klonopin PRN, but it causes you anxiety? Did it cause anxiety at a lower dose, or just at the higher dose?

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Sorry, I am kind of confused too. :)

I used to take klonopin as needed which wasnt very often, and it worked great. Then last year I started taking it twice a day, every day. For the first couple of months it seemed to work ok, but then I started having bad anxiety twice a day, about an hour or two before I was supposed to take the klonopin. It would get better about an hour after I took my pill. I was never like that before, so I thought it was weird.

So I asked my pdoc if I could stop taking it, and she said ok. Now that I am off it, I feel less anxious in general, and I am not having bad anxiety twice a day like I was before.

So yes, I would like to take klonopin again as needed, if it would work like it did before. But as some folks suggested, I might need to try a new benzo. I dont know, I am going to ask my pdoc about it.

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I think I know what you're asking. Generally speaking, if you've had a physical dependence on a drug before, you may build up tolerance to that same drug quicker in the future. So, if you were to take your old dose of Klonopin every day for a week, you might get a significant amount of withdrawal when you stopped, even though a "Klonopin-naive" person wouldn't experience withdrawal in only a week. So, if you were somebody who craved lots of Klonopin, you would definitely want to stay away, because you could undo lots of "sober time" with a relatively short Klonopin-binge. But, assuming that you stick to small amounts as needed, tolerance and withdrawal should not present that much of a problem.

I'm not an expert on benzo dependence specifically, but I'm assuming it would be like most drugs.

It might not work exactly like it did at first, but it should still work. Switching to a different benzo is probably not necessary. There would be some degree of cross-tolerance, but it's impossible to say exactly.

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