Prescribed clonazepam for neck spasms. Took and felt too tired. Had withdrawal symptoms. How to taper it slowly?

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Posted on Thu, 8 Aug 2013 in General Health
Question: I was prescribed .5 mg (.25 morning and night) clonazepam for muscle spasms in my neck. I took this dosage for 3 weeks and felt too tired all the time. I decided to stop taking them with very little tapering. For the next 2 weeks I felt horrible. Had many of the withdrawal symptoms listed on the websites I looked at. 2 days ago I phoned my brother-in-law who is a physician and advised me to start taking the clonazepam - .25 at bedtime for 7 days, then .25 at bedtime on Mon., Wed., and Friday, and then the 3rd week take as I feel needed. Does this sound like a workable taper? I am so afraid of feeling so awful again. Please advise.
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Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 1 hour later
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX

CLONAZEPAM is a benzodiazepine used to treat panic or seizure disorders. The common side effects are sedation, dizziness, weakness, headache,sleep disturbance etc.

If the drug is discontinued abruptly after long term usage, it may lead to muscle cramping, tremors and seizures. Also, it has Habit forming nature and so has to be used with caution.

So, I feel it is rationale to taper the drug dosages as given in your description inorder to lessen the chances of having withdrawal symptoms or any other untoward effects.

Consult your treating physician to discuss more about these issues.

Hope I have addressed your issues. Happy to help for any more clarifications.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 44 hours later
I contacted my physician about the about message I sent you regarding the tapering of Clonazepam. He suggested to take the .25 mg dose at bedtime and follow with .125 mg for 7 days instead of the .25 mg on Mon., Wed., and Fri. Do you feel that this approach is better? Do you have any experience with anyone withdrawing from Clonazepam. I am just shocked that the symptoms I experienced could be felt after being on it for such a short time and such a small dose. What can I expect?
doctor
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 3 hours later
Hi, thanks for getting back.

This is just to let you know that there is no clear cut consensus on the dose tapering pattern of Clonazepam.

But I think 7 days between each dose reduction sounds logical. Also taking a lower dose regularly than going with higher doses on alternate days makes sense inorder to minimize the chances of withdrawal.

I have never used Clonazepam in my clinical practice and so clueless.

You never know how an individual is going to react to a particular medication as every persons genetic makeup is different.

Good day.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement

Practicing since :1996

Answered : 2148 Questions

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