Posted by Melissa on March 23, 2000, at 4:18:29
In reply to Re: generic version of klonopin CAM W help, posted by Cam W. on March 22, 2000, at 22:35:04
> Amanda - Low dose Klonopin, used as needed to take the edge off of anxiety is safe and effective. Some of the alarmist descriptions above are tempered with success stories. Long term use can lead to tolerance to the motor effects (drowsiness, dizziness, etc.) but not to the anti-anxiety effects. When people don't feel these side effects they sometimes believe that the drug is no longer controlling the anxiety and they then increase the dose. This is where the trouble starts. It is harder to wean oneself from larger doses taken long term. If someone has taken Klonopin daily for a long period of time, tapering is a must. I have found that those who are taking Klonopin to get high or as a way to forget their problems (instead of just using it to take the edge off of anxiety) are the people who have the hardest time withdrawing from the drug.
> This said, there are methods to ease one's withdrawl from high dose, long term Klonopin. Tapering of the drug should be done slowly over a couple of months at least if one has been taking the drug on a daily basis for more than a year. One tapers to a point to where they can't taper anymore without getting withdrawl effects. Then, a low dose long-acting benzodiazepine (usually Valium) can ease the symptoms. The long half-life of Valium prevents the low blood levels of Klonopin from causing the withdrawl symptoms. After one can get off the Klonopin, then the Valium can be slowly withdrawn. Valiums long half life prevents the withdrawl symptoms from being much of a problem. The problem with Valium in the 1960's was the high doses given 3 or 4 times daily. The drug built up in the body (because of the long half life) until there were liver changes and a person became physically addicted. In the scenario above, one would be using 4 or 5 mg of Valium a day (dived doses) for about a month (not much chance to build up to the levels seen in the sixties).
> Ultimately, the choice of taking Klonopin is yours. Have a talk with your doctor. Write down your concerns and take them with you next time you see him. Have him address your concerns point by point. Many times a drug will not work as well if the person taking it has fears about it. Many of the above posts against Klonopin were people lashing out (maybe out of frustration; maybe they felt betrayed by their doctor - I don't know). When discussing medication, it must be done in a rational way; emotions should be curbed. I'd actually like Paul to post again, after 2 years, to see if he is still as angry as when he first posted. I don't know if I have helped alleviate your fears and I won't tell you to take Klonopin or not. You have to ultimately make that decision, others can't. Sincerely Cam W.
I just can not agree with you. 1 mg that I am taking is not exactly a large dosage. I have tried tapering off slowly. I have done this under the supervision of literally one of the world's leading pharmacological psychiatrists. His name is Dr. Charles Olsen and he is involved with many of the studies at NIH (National Institutes of Health.) You can look him up. I live in Baltimore near Johns Hopkins and near DC which fortumately for me gives me access to some of the leading medical people in the world.
We tried reducing my dosage by 6 1/4% at a time. After two weeks the effect of even the first 6 1/4 % were intolerable for me. It led to extreme irritability, inability to sleep, hyper-activity and a complete incapacity to concentrate and barely function. It actually became unsafe for me to drive because I lost impulse control. It became impossible for me to function professionally and it became imperative that I return to my "normal" dosage of 1 mg. We have tried to find a substitute for me to be on while I was withdrawing with the intentions that I would be on some kind of blocker (I think the term was Beta Blocker) while I withdrew. But we could not find a drug that did not have intolerable side effects, the most serious being deep in my bone tiredness. In particular, we tried Celexa which is know for minimal side effects and Neurontin which is also an anti-convulsant as is klonopin and used for anxiety but known through serious medical research not to be physically addictive. Klonopin is known through serious medical reseach to be extremely physically addictive, becoming more so as one takes over time and very dangerous to get off if not done carefully. Some people never succeed getting off if they have been on it a long time.
Klonopin's anti-anxiety effects do wear off over time. It is a little insulting to the numerous reported observations by patients and doctors as to this result (not just those reported here on this list) to suggest that the patients are imagining its reduction in effectiveness due to missing the side-effects some people experience. I personally never had any side effects from klonopin while I was taking it and I know many high functioning high level professionals who report the same. It is also a little insulting to suggest that those who have been upset by what they have experienced as long term negative effects of trying to get off this drug as merely expressing frustration and taking it out on their doctors. I personally bear no ill-will towards the doctor who first put me on klonopin. He was very careful in his research (which is why I chose him) and he reported what was known at the time. He too acknowledges now, not only from the research but the large number of his clients who he put on klonopin that the research available at the time was wrong and he is dealing with a number of addicted clients. (He is no longer my doctor because I no longer live in that city but we stay in touch, having a somewhat more personal relationship than most clients and doctors do.) What you report about valium is what was reported about the advantages of klonopin over valium over 12 years ago. What you report is rather dated information. There is much more significant and more recent research on the effects of klonopin since then. I was put on klonopin the first time for exactly the reasons you cite. That it was not as addicitive as valium, which if you are familiar with valium's history was also believed to be non-addictive when it was first introduced. Klonopin was orignally believed to be non-addictive as well. It is now known otherwise.
Obviously I am not taking klonopin now for anti-anxiety reasons after ten years. It has no anti-anxiety effect on me any more. I am just physically hooked to it. At this point, unless I can go into a medical treatment center for at least one month to go through the early stages of withdrawal, my doctor and I have given up hope of my withdrawing from the drug. I do not have that time and at this point and it is not assured that one month for the early stages will be adequate. I have a fairly close friend who is 20 years younger than me, who became addicted to the klonopin quite severly after two years. She has been tapering off slowly. She was also on 1 mg. After over one year she is down to the last .25 mg and is finding it extremely difficult to tolerate the last stages of withdrawal from the drug. Apparantly, the last part is the hardest to physically tolerate. She also is under strict doctor supervision. And the risk of epileptic seizures from withdrawing are quite real and are reported side effects of the drug. Another woman I know and her sister both were put on klonopin after the sudden deth of their parents and after a number of years both went through withdrawal. They both suffered permanent damage to their hearing, a not uncommon effect of withdrawing from klonopin. When I was switched by my prescription plan to the generic of klonopin, not only did I suffer severe withdrawal symptoms but I too suffered damage to my hearing. I happened to have been tested for my hearing a couple of month before as a routine ENT check-up just before the switch to generics happened and my hearing was evaluated as above average for the population. Now I am struggling not to get a hearing aid. As my prescription plan does not cover the name brand any more, I must pay for the difference between the genric and the name brand out of my pocket, which is not inexpensive.
The conclusion by the medical profession that klonopin should only be used for short-term use is quite well known among more sophisticated medical circles. Even the manufacurer in its reports acknowledges that. Of course, I am sure one can come up with cases where there were no serious negative side effects from usage of the drug. But then so did the tobacco companies with regard to smoking cigarettes. The question is the risk one undertakes when choosing to take this drug. Whether, when the incidence of physical addiction over long term use is fairly certain, the reduction in the drug's effectiveness over time a known possible result, and the fairly high incidence of quite troublesome withdrawal from it, is worth the risk of even starting it. Particularly when there are more effective and less troublesome drugs out there, Neurontin being the most notable in functioning bio-medically the same as klonopin but without the addictive effects. I know that the reports here at this site tend to be a skewed sample, but I am reporting the results of well known research. These results are also known among the medical profession in Europe as well. (I happen to have colleagues in the medical profession in Europe as I go there to lecture in my field.) I would be careful reassuring someone that there are many success stories when there are so many that are not successful.
As I do not wish to get into a debate with you, Cam, I will not respond any further. Amanda has enough information from our exchange to be able to make an informed decision through her own efforts. There are quite a few other sites, some of which can be linked to through this site that also discuss the difficulties of taking klonopin.
Amanda, I wish you best of luck in your endeavors.