Aa
A
A
A
Close
Anxiety Community
23.2k Members
Avatar universal

abruptly switching from xanax to clonazepam

Hi, ive had a long term neurological problem since i was 19, im now 34, anxiety and panic set in around 6 years ago - ive been on xanax for the last 5 of them . 1 mg - 1.25 mg a day, A doctor is telling me to stop taking the xanax and literally replace it with klonapin (clonazepam), ive read of the seizures etc that can be caused by abruptly stopping xanax and if anyone is going to have one im guessing its me, even though i am using another benzo - and its only day 1 of me starting - i feel as though there will be a backlash from simply cutting out the xanax all together after such long term abuse..

any input appreciated.
8 Responses
675718 tn?1530033033
i take clonazepam, i would switch-drifter0213 (worked for me)
585414 tn?1288941302
The problem is from abruptly stopping Xanax without starting another benzodiazepene (anti-anxiety agent in the same class). The effects of the Klonopin will replace it. I take Klonopin as well and have taken it 10 years. Its safer long term because there is far less of a potential for a person to build up a tolerance to it than Xanax which is generally indicated for short term use.
2 Comments
I have been on Xanax for many years. 6mg per day. Then about 3 years ago I took myself to 3mg daily. I cracked a couple of molars vertically and had tonic/colonic seizures. I am suck at 2.5 a day and sometimes 3mg per day. I can’t handle the withdrawal. A Doctor gave me clonazepam  about three years ago and I never took it I was afraid to it freaked  me out to not go with my Xanax but now I’m ready to and it’s three years old so I was wondering if it was still OK to take I want to start in the morning and take my Xanax for breakthrough and I hear of the Ashton Manual is supposed to take you from Xanax to clonazepam then two Valium and then completely off. I’m 58 years old. Starting having my anxiety and panic attacks at around 37 years old what a struggle it’s been as you all know. I don’t have a doctor that’s open to anything I’m lucky to get the Xanax but I don’t want to live in fear of running out of Xanax and then getting cut off when my body can’t handle withdraws yes I have a fear of dying just like anyone else that has this whatever we have I was told I had that my brain does not produce the GABA that it needs so I’ve tried passion flower and record anything natural GABA none of it works but I’m sick of the Xanax Control over me and my memory loss. This is my first time to reach out like this so anyone that has any ideas please just let me know thank you.
Actually, passionflower doesn't only act on GABA.  It is very complex, and also seems to act on serotonin.  Switching to clonazepam will not do anything most likely about your withdrawal problems with the Xanax, though it might.  But you can't count on that.  Although all benzos are in the same category of drug, if they all worked exactly the same the FDA wouldn't have approved any but the first one as they would have worked identically.  The safest way to stop a drug is to taper off as slowly as you need to, on a schedule suited to you alone, not a general one your doc uses for everyone.  But you've tried that and you're still going into withdrawal, so the only way you're probably going to stop it is to go through the withdrawal and hope you can come out the other side.  As all benzos are addictive drugs, you can go somewhere where they get people off addictive drugs, but do your homework if you try this as most of them do cold turkey.  A second problem is that just because you take another benzo doesn't mean it will actually work for your anxiety.  Also, side effects can be different.  Clonazepam is longer lasting than Xanax, but it is still a benzo and by reputation harder to quit than Xanax for most people.  I only take 1mg twice a day of clonazepam, and I wish I had never been put on it that way.  I was never told it was both addictive and just plain hard to stop taking.  It has never really worked all that well, antidepressants worked better and they work all the time.  But they are also very hard to stop taking for many people.  There is no free ride once we start taking these drugs. and we're often not told this when we're put on them.  I certainly wasn't.  If the Xanax still works for you, I see no reason to switch to another benzo if you're decision in life is to continue taking benzos in large doses every day.  If you only take them as needed, they can be much better managed.  But you're past that choice.  Every benzo will be just as addictive as Xanax and might be just as hard for you to stop taking, though you only know that when you try to stop.  And you have no idea if any other one will work as well as the one you're on.  I could see this if you wanted to switch to an antidepressant, but not just to switch to another benzo taken every day.  I don't see the gain if this one is working for you.  Any problems you have with them you can have with other benzos.  It is unlikely you produce inadequate GABA.  If that were true, you would have been having seizures all along.  I also don't recommend taking clonazepam and Xanax at the same time.  A quack tried that with me once, and that won't happen again.  Two benzos at once can be bad.  More likely your GABA system has been messed up perhaps for good by taking benzos every day for so long, but it just isn't something we can seem to find out.  But if you did need more GABA, benzos don't give you any more of it, they just make it work differently.  The body makes GABA by taking taurine, B6 and other co-factors.  You would only have a GABA deficiency if you weren't getting enough of these nutrients or you couldn't properly metabolize them.  GABA supplements don't work because they don't usually pass the blood/brain barrier.  And if you're taking benzos, also taking herbs that affect GABA can be dangerous.  You get to decide, though; just do your homework first.  Peace.
Avatar universal
Thought this might be of some use. One of Ryan's old posts. clonazepam = klonopin

In order for Klonopin to replace Xanax, it must accumulate. Klonopin accumulates to steady-state within two weeks, at which point it will fully replace the Xanax from a potency standpoint. Xanax doesn't accumulate, therefore, simultaneously replacing it with Klonopin would lead to withdrawal phenomena. The Xanax plasma level would trough sharply, and there would be nothing to replace it.

Therefore, it would be advisable to "step" the Klonopin in, while simultaneously stepping out the Xanax. This is best done in 0.25 mg increments.

*Example* - You were formerly taking 0.5 mg of Xanax three times daily, and the goal is to transition to Klonopin, 0.5 mg, t.i.d....

Days 1-3: Take 0.5 mg of Xanax in the morning and afternoon. Take 0.25 mg of Xanax and 0.25 mg of Klonopin nightly.

Days 3-6: Take 0.5 mg of Xanax in the morning, and 0.25 mg of Xanax and 0.25 mg of Klonopin in the afternoon and nightly.

Days 6-9: Take 0.25 mg of Xanax and 0.25 mg of Klonopin in the morning, afternoon, and nightly.

Days 9-12: Take 0.25 mg of Xanax and 0.25 mg of Klonopin in the morning and afternoon. Take 0.5 mg of Klonopin nightly.

Days 12-15: Take 0.25 mg of Xanax and 0.25 mg of Klonopin in the morning. Take 0.5 mg of Klonopin in the afternoon and nightly.

Day 18: Take 0.5 mg of Klonopin, t.i.d. The Xanax is discontinued.
1 Comments
Hello there thank you for your post, this is exactly what my doctor did for me when I was taking Xanax, and switched over exactly what you did but over a period of a month now I am finding that the Klonopin is making me lazy all day I've been on it for about 7 years hands I really am having a hard time sleeping at night I've tried sleeping pills and they give me terrible night terrors so I tried taking a Xanax the other night and I slept pretty good then went back on the Klonopin during the day so I'm wondering if it's ok for me to do the Klonopin during the day morning and afternoon and then take the Xanax at night to sleep however your information above is completely correct that's the best way to transition from Xanax to klonopin I had no problems whatsoever I don't know about how to transition in reverse
Avatar universal
Hi.  I have been taking xanax for many years.  Whenever I have had to go to the ER or see another doctor, they are astonished that I take 1 mg 4 times a day and tell me it's dangerous.  I am also prescribed 1 mg clonezapan to take before I go to bed at night.  Do not stop taking xanax immediately.  It has been known to cause seizures and even death.  You have been taking it for a long time, so you have to slowly take yourself off, by decreasing your dosage over a period of several months.  When I forget to take mine on time, I start shaking and having withdrawal symptoms as my body is addicted to it.  Please see below.

From a doctor:
So, here are my rules of thumb about xanax:
Avoid it.
Keep the doses small.
Do not use in older folks or forgetful folks (more likely to forget it, thus more likely to have problems).
Do not use in anyone with a history of alcoholism or addiction (yes, that means you have to ask).
Tell folks to avoid from daily use.
If they are on it, warn them that stopping it suddenly, even for a day or two, can result in confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

1 Comments
Some of these answers are not true. If you are still going to be taking a benzodiazepine"" xanax over to clazapam"".. There will be no effects of seizure . I also swithched from one to the other and even felt the effects of the clazapam. Clazapam though must be prescribed at a higher mg than your xanax was though. Due to the xanax being much more powerful and xanax has such a fast onset. I'm extremely prone for seizures And had no problems. Good lunch my friend.
Avatar universal
  I don't believe anyone has had quite the experience I have with xanax.  I was taking as much as 4mg a day, every day. I have self decreased over  2 to 3 days. I went to taking just .5 a day for a short while. No doubt that if you get involved with this med as a anxiety reliever, you will feel panicky. But then again I was taking 4 mg a day.
   Don't sweat the small stuff such as .25, .50, or even 1 mg a day.  You will come down if you talk yourself out of it.  Do yourself a favor and do not exceed 1 mg. a day.  They do have extended release so that you will get a steady dose.  I will soon be in a position where a Dr. will cut me cold turkey.  Some Drs. refuse to give this out.  Take ONLY as you absolutely need it or you will find you will want to take more and more. Like any of these meds, take control of them. Do not let them take control of you.  By the way...... I still take it, but not as much.  And I know I can stop.  I will just go through certain consequences.  God help you all.
3 Comments
Heck, I'm on 8mg of Xanax a day (in one dose) AND clonazepam (4mg)  as well now because they want to get me off Xanax (so do I) but nothing makes me sleep... absolutely nothing. If anything now they wake me up!  which is utterly ridiculous... I am so tired of these medications, but nothing, absolutely nothing makes me sleepy and I live on an hour or two of dozing a night.  Stay away from them ALL.  
Hi milamba, can I ask how your sleep has progressed and if you have had any success?

I'm on 3mg xanor for sleep used to be 5mg SR or xr and 3mg. Sleeping tablets don't work, xanor is the only thing for me.
I find high doses now keep me awake.
If I drink I'm stuffed coz then I am very awake, xanor and alcohol don't go together.
This is why taking benzos for sleep isn't a good idea.  They actually interfere with proper sleep patterns, such as REM sleep.  Eventually, your body gets used to them, and then you need to take more, or stop the benzo, and that's not easy to do.  Sleep problems are a bear, but treating them with benzos can make the bear bite more over time.  
Avatar universal
I just switched to clonazepam today after being on xanax xr 2mg.  I am having a horrible day.  I have had panic attacks, have gotten dizzy, jittery, a whole bunch of side effects from not being on it.  I never knew how much xanax could cause to your body.
2 Comments
Hi, I'm taking xanax now, 2mg twice a day. I have switched from taking xanax to taking clonazepam instead. I didn't have any problems at all. They are both benzo's. And also work for panic attacks as well. I've sure had my share of those. I'm going  back to clonazepm. It lasts a lot longer than xanax in your system, so you don't need  to take them as often as you do with xanax.
Good luck to you, let me know how your doing
Janet
Hi, jancat.  If you're new here, this post is 8 years old -- hopefully this person is better now.  As for you not having any problem switching, I'm glad that's true but it doesn't mean it will be true for another person or even for you if you try that again.  Proper tapering is much safer, but individuals do vary a lot in how stopping medication affects them.  Very hard to generalize.
Avatar universal
I was switched from xanax to klonopin and worried that my GAD and panic attacks would return with a vengeance.  I worried for nothing...switching from one benzo to another was very easy for me and believe me i have horrible panic attacks, so bad i think i am dying.   If i can do it you'll do it with flying colors.   Best of Luck  
Avatar universal
For years I have taken 3.5 mg Xanax and 4 mg Klonopin together in a single dose at bedtime. Despite alarm about all the dangers and evils of benzos, two experienced and well-qualified psychiatrists treating me for many years had the opinion that prescribing me these two medications is appropriate under the circumstances. Taking the drugs alleviates severe symptoms and allows me to live a normal life, which was imposible before. My most recent psychiatrist retired, and I have had to find a new one. I had a visit with a psychiatrist who predictably was appalled that I was taking two different benzos at the same time. Instead of demanding that I stop taking them altogether, as many might have done, he wants me to stop taking all Xanax and immediately substitute additional Klonopin. He offers no plan for gradually making the switch, such as MrGreen describes above. I'm worried about how this change will affect me and believe that it should be accomplished gradually in steps. In the absence of guidance from the psychiatrist, I will devise my own plan and proceed by trial and error. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  (I do know about and understand opinions about why I should not take any benzo at all, so further comments about that aren't necessary.)
Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1595629445
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?