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Hammond23

Hammond23: diazapam and gabapentin taper advice needed

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Hammond23

How it all started.

 

November 2017 I was prescribed .5 mg of Klonopin to be taken once daily

 I do not have any pre existing anxiety or health issues. The "medicine" was given to me to help with some stress induced insomnia. 

 

Since then the stress that caused the insomnia has long been resolved.

 

I was told this medication was a low dose, and it was perfectly safe, and could be taken nightly for up to 3 months without having any problems with dependency or addiction.  Even though i told the doctor 11 years prior i had a bad withdrawel from Ativan that was prescribed to me after my mothers death. He said klonopin is much safer and easier to come off of.  Also i took increasing doses of Ativan for close to a year... so of course it was hard to withdraw from...

 

I took the Klonopin .5mg exactly as prescribed for about 10 to 12 days, and then for a week after I took half the dose .25 mg.  Then i quit...

 

Apparently I'm very sensitive to these types of medications and not biochemically compatible with them, because what happened over the next 8 days, I describe as increasing anxiety, insomnia, and irrational fear, that got to the point (8 days out) of  having absolutely zero sleep the night before and feeling completely detaches from reality.

 

Now i wish i would have realized what was happening and stuck it out, because I'd probably be 100% recovered by now. However,  I ( like so many of us ) went running back to the doctor for help.

 

I made an emergency appointment with my doc. He prescribed me a very high dose of Gabapentin and told me that its a great new medication used for benzo and alchohol withdrawels.  He promised me  that this drug was completely safe and not addictive at all as he did with the Klonopin.  but he convinced me of it by telling me it wasn't a controlled substance.

 

It worked great for about a week, but then all of those strange withdrawal symptoms from the Klonopin started coming back, and I required more of the Gabapentin to control those symptoms... My doctor actually said I could pick up the 3600 mg of it a day if need it without any worry of withdrawal.  I had a massive bottle of 300mg pills and another massive bottle of 100mg pills to "fill in"

 

I got to the point where I was taking 300 mg in the morning, 300 mg in the afternoon, and 1200 mg at night.  But something just didn't feel right, I wasn't myself, I felt like I had suddenly lost 10 or 15 IQ points, the world seemed dull and so did my emotions.

 

So the doctor pulled me off the gabapentin and put me back on the klonopin and once stable I would do a very slow taper, i was desperate to feel normal again so i agreed... 

 

I was pulled from the gabapentin after being on it for only 9 days... but with no taper and put back on the klonopin.  Only this time it was not really working...

 

I am well aware of Heather Ashton, slow tappering, micro tappering, and the effects benzos have on our gaba receptors... i personaly think Ashton is to highly regarded... I think the cross over to valium is a bad idea and does not work out for a lot of people... i respect the work she did, and her research, but that information is out dated and had needed to be continued and expanded upon.  I do not agree all benzos effect the brain the same way the only difference is half life...

 

My doctor thought going on valium would be my best option because of the long half life.... but there was no transition, it was just simply stop the Klonopin 1 day and start on 8mg diazapam the next...

 

valiums main chemical of action breaks down in just 4 hours, while the rest of it just builds up in our systems... so the relief factor is short, while the rest of the chemicals just build up.

 

Where I am at now

 

I am currently taking 3 mg of Valium in the morning and 3 mg of Valium at night as well as 300 mg of Gabapentin in the morning and 300 mg at night ( yes im back on the gaba... mainly because the lack of sleep that started after my 2nd valium cut was just killing me) .

 

This process is drawn out for the better part of a year now, and I'm still not medication free, and I'm still suffering insomnia, anxiety, and a sense of detachment.

 

What I'm really wondering is if anyone has been on this combination of medications, and how they approached the taper. It doesn't matter which one I cut, I feel the effects of both in very much the same way with the same type of symptoms.  

 

Should I be tapering say half a milligram of Valium every two weeks, and 100 mg of Gabapentin every 2 weeks? Or tackle one at a time???

 

I apologize as this intro has turn into a book, I'm just very desperate for answers from people who have been through this I'm not seeking medical advice just personal experiences. My doctor and my pharmacist both say that what I'm experiencing is impossible given my dosage.  But i know better.  Just last year I was a highly functioning, healthy , strong, muscular,  independent hard-working man, that ate a very healthy diet. After taking the Klonopin for just 17 days, the aftermath has been the loss of my job, i've had to move in with my sister for the time being.  And all any doctor wants to do is give me more drugs or up my doses.

 

 I know the reality is this is a side effect kind of withdrawal from the medication so I refuse to do that.

 

I have had a ton of blood work, and other neurological tests that are all perfectly normal

 

 

I currently take both ionic and threonate magnesium in the middle of the day. I dont know if it helps ot not... i still eat healthy and walk at least 3 miles a day.

 

SYMPTOMS

I have lost 10 pounds of muscle,

i have diahrea everyday

I have benign faciculation dissorter

My hands are shakey

I have a massive panic attack in the middle of the night that wakes me up

After the panic attqck at night I spend the rest of my hours in stage 2 of sleep ( where i feel like im not sleeping but i actually am) during this time i have a constant stream of thoughts, songs stuck in my head, and thins that make literaly no sense at all... 

I sleep between 2 and 6 hours per night.

I have daytime anxiety mainly in the afternoon.

 

Thank you, and best wishes to all of you.

 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Hammond.

 

I am very sorry you are on the drug merry-go-round. Your doctor is wrong on all counts. As you know, you are now dependent on both the benzo and the gabapentin. In addition, going on and off drugs, experiencing adverse reactions and withdrawal symptoms, makes your nervous system hypersensitive.

 

It's very possible all those symptoms are from one drug or the other or a drug-drug interaction. Please put ALL your drugs in the Drug Interactions Checker https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.php
and copy and paste the results or a link to them in this topic. You might research the side effects of each drug on drugs.com as well.

 

You added the gabapentin to help you sleep? Was the Valium not enough? When was the last time you changed the gabapentin dosage?

 

How much magnesium are you taking, and at what dosage? Magnesium is best taken in small amounts throughout the day, or it can cause loose stools.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature

 

(Since this doctor is so forthcoming with drug prescriptions, I would restrict my relationship with him to requesting refills. Don't bother discussing adverse reactions, tapering, or withdrawal with him -- he is clueless.)

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Hammond23

No the Valium does not help with sleep, in fact I think benzos are very bad for me and my sleeping.  They might knock me out for a few hours, ( they dont even do that anymore )  however,  the quality of sleep is horrible.  I know that Benzos mess with your natural sleep cycle by reducing deep sleep.  While it has been shown that gabapentin can increase deep sleep.   

 

I have also read that while gabapentin can help benzo WD,  that the opposite is not true.  I am just at a total loss right now.  I am doing this on my own, and with support of other people who have been in this situation.  My doctors gives me my RX's and that is all I discuss with him now.

 

I had 3 pretty good days in a row,  but last night was horrible.  I did not experience anxiety , but I simply could not sleep.  maybe got 2 hours total,  I also can not sleep at all during the day, and of course my anxiety is high right now because of lack of sleep.   I dont know if this is from a diazapam cut I made 3 days ago, or what...  I just want this misery to end, but I know I can not just quit these awful meds.  I know there are people who have been on both Benzos and Gabapentin,  I just wonder which one is the one to get off first.

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Hammond23

I wish it was as simple as quitting 1 drug and upping the other, holding for a while and then tappering out that 1 drug.  The problem I seem to have is building rapid tolerance to meds.  And im pretty sure they both need to be tappered as they work on different receptors.

 

I take these suppliments in the afternoon between Gaba doses.  

 

20180817_140914.jpg

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Altostrata

We have many people here on multiple drugs.

 

2 hours ago, Hammond23 said:

I dont know if this is from a diazapam cut I made 3 days ago, or what.

 

Yes, you could have problems from having cut diazepam.

 

Some of the symptoms you attribute to tolerance may in fact be paradoxical reactions or breakthrough symptoms from the benzo or gabapentin-benzo combination. Exactly what times of day do you take your drugs? Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

We also need to see the Drug Interactions report from https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.php before we can figure out any course of action.

 

Most likely, your individual dosages of magnesium are too large. We recommend maybe 100mg-200mg at a time, taken throughout the day. If you take too much for your daily tolerance, you will get diarrhea.

 

In general, more of anything, including magnesium, is not better.

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Hammond23

Interactions between your drugs

No results found in our database - however, this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

9am and 9pm is when i take both.

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Altostrata

Why do you take gabapentin with Valium at the same time? Why do you take uneven dosages of both drugs?

 

Still need your daily drug schedule with symptom notes.

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Shep

Hi, Hammond.

 

Welcome to SA from me, too. 

 

On 8/16/2018 at 3:09 PM, Hammond23 said:

Even though i told the doctor 11 years prior i had a bad withdrawel from Ativan that was prescribed to me after my mothers death. He said klonopin is much safer and easier to come off of.  Also i took increasing doses of Ativan for close to a year... so of course it was hard to withdraw from...

 

You may be struggling more now due to the kindling effect. Here is a good explanation off Wikipedia about this:

 

Kindling Effect

 

And a thread on SA about kindling:

 

Limbic Kindling -- Hardwiring the brain for hypersensitivity

 

Since you have this history, I would consider benzos to be a drug you are particularly sensitive to and after you come off them this time, best to avoid in the future. 

 

On 8/16/2018 at 3:09 PM, Hammond23 said:

I am well aware of Heather Ashton, slow tappering, micro tappering, and the effects benzos have on our gaba receptors... i personaly think Ashton is to highly regarded... I think the cross over to valium is a bad idea and does not work out for a lot of people... i respect the work she did, and her research, but that information is out dated and had needed to be continued and expanded upon.  I do not agree all benzos effect the brain the same way the only difference is half life...

 

Yes, this is very true. You may want to have a read of a thread we have that speaks for and against Ashton's work. While she was a pioneer at the time and we owe a great debt to her, you are very correct that the Ashton Manual is outdated.

 

Ashton and beyond in benzo tapering

 

15 hours ago, Hammond23 said:

I had 3 pretty good days in a row,  but last night was horrible.

 

15 hours ago, Hammond23 said:

I dont know if this is from a diazapam cut I made 3 days ago, or what...

 

Due to diazepam's long half-life, it can take several days for a cut to register with the nervous system. So it's likely that the "horrible" night was from the reduced diazepam.

 

And it also may be the result of previous reductions and changes. Psychiatric drugs are notorious for delayed withdrawal. 

 

Your last reduction of diazepam was from 6 mg to 5 mg, which is a 16.67% reduction. Your last reduction of gabapentin was from 600 mg to 500 mg which is also a 16.67% reduction. This is way too fast. Please see:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

What is happening in your brain?

 

Some thoughts / requests: 

  1. Your reductions of both drugs were in this month. You may want to consider going back up to 6 mg of diazepam and 600 mg of gabapentin and holding for several weeks or months until you stabilize. I know this is not what you want to hear, but your nervous system has been traumatized by the chemical assault, and you are within a very safe window for updosing (this is always best done as close to your last reduction as possible). 
     
  2. Please let us know the details about your Klonopin to Valium crossover (dates and doses). 
     
  3. Please start a drug and symptoms journal in this format:

                   Drug and symptoms journal format

                   

Please include supplements and the number of hours you are sleeping at night in your journal.

 

After a few days of posting this journal, we'll be able to advise you on what to do next. 

 

Please continue to use this thread to document your withdrawal and to ask plenty of questions. 

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Hammond23

While i totaly understand the 10% reduction method may be best to deal with the valium.. does that make sense with the gabapentib? I mean ive been on it for just over a month. Using the 10% method would make my taper last way longer than the time i took the med...

 

 

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Shep
5 hours ago, Hammond23 said:

While i totaly understand the 10% reduction method may be best to deal with the valium.. does that make sense with the gabapentib? I mean ive been on it for just over a month. Using the 10% method would make my taper last way longer than the time i took the med...

 

 

You can become dependent on gabapentin (and any other psych drug) in a month, so yes, we do have people who taper longer than they've been on the drug.

 

On 8/16/2018 at 3:09 PM, Hammond23 said:

I am currently taking 3 mg of Valium in the morning and 3 mg of Valium at night as well as 300 mg of Gabapentin in the morning and 300 mg at night ( yes im back on the gaba... mainly because the lack of sleep that started after my 2nd valium cut was just killing me) .

 

 

Since you're taking gabapentin again due to lack of sleep, you'll have to weigh staying on it and sleeping versus coming off it and not sleeping. 

 

Please throw away the calendar and taper according to your symptoms. These drugs are going to take awhile to come off of, but the important thing is stabilizing and staying as functional as possible throughout the taper and recovery process. 

 

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