The Effects of Klonopin Withdrawal

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine medication also known by its generic name, clonazepam. It is a particularly effective medication used to treat anxiety as well as seizures in some people. While Klonopin can be a great option for certain conditions, it can also produce sedating and sometimes euphoric side effects. Because of these effects, Klonopin also carries a risk for abuse and dependence as a Schedule IV drug.1

Klonopin is not typically recommended for use long-term. However, this is not typically the case as many people tend to develop both physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Dependence can easily lead to tolerance of the drug which can result in higher doses needed to achieve the same effect.2

Long-term use or abuse of the drug for recreational purposes can prove to be very dangerous especially if the drug is abruptly discontinued. This increased dependence on the drug can lead to a combination of unpleasant effects. These resulting effects usually make up what is known as withdrawal.

What Is Klonopin Withdrawal?

Klonopin and other benzodiazepines can cause withdrawal symptoms if they are not taken regularly or if they are stopped after long-term use. The severity of symptoms usually depends on the previous dose being taken as well as how long it has been used for. As you can probably guess, the higher the dose being taken or abused, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms are.

Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal behaviors
  • Tremors
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Psychological disturbances
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Insomnia

Because the severity of these symptoms varies widely, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact timing of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as one day after stopping the drug up to several days.

The elimination half-life of Klonopin, or the amount of time it takes for half of the original drug amount to leave the body, is about 20 to 80 hours. Therefore, it could take a few days for Klonopin to fully leave the body.3

Withdrawal symptoms initially start as “rebound” anxiety and insomnia up to four days after discontinuation. The severity of these symptoms can peak after five days and last up to two weeks. However, withdrawal symptoms can last much longer where symptoms of anxiety may persist until other treatment is started. Because Klonopin is a longer acting benzodiazepine, it may have less of a risk of severe withdrawal symptoms when compared to shorter acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax (alprazolam).4

It may be important to note that Klonopin taken in combination with other illicit drugs or alcohol may also increase the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. This is because the body would need to detox from a combination of drugs, especially if tolerance has developed for multiple drugs. In these cases, withdrawal symptoms may be especially dangerous when Klonopin is mixed with drugs such as opioids, stimulants, or other psychologically altering drugs.5

How Is Klonopin Withdrawal Treated and Prevented?

Depending on the severity of Klonopin withdrawal symptoms, the best course of action is to let the body metabolize the drug and detox on its own. If symptoms are mild, withdrawal may only last up to a couple weeks.

If withdrawal symptoms are severe, other medications may be prescribed to help cope with pain or depression. These medications may include acetaminophen or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Anticonvulsant medications may also be prescribed if rebound seizures are a concern.6

Klonopin withdrawal can be prevented by gradually tapering off the drug. Studies have shown that lowering the dose over time can help prevent or lower the intensity of potential withdrawal symptoms. Lowering the dose over 6 to 12 months has been found to decrease the occurrence of severe symptoms although mild insomnia and anxiety is still a slight possibility.7

Other alternative treatments may also be the answer to Klonopin withdrawal symptoms. Ibogaine is a psychoactive plant-based alkaloid that has become a potential option for treating substance withdrawal. It has been used in Africa for rituals and medical purposes. While clinical research is still being done, progress has been made to showcase the safety and effectiveness of ibogaine. It may especially be helpful in reducing dependence and addictive symptoms of withdrawal.8

Conclusion

Klonopin withdrawal can be a very unpleasant experience and may require immediate medical attention depending on the severity. If you have not been taking Klonopin for long or you have been taking lower doses, withdrawal symptoms may not be as severe. However, it is still recommended to monitor for these symptoms if you plan on detoxing from Klonopin.

If you are feeling suicidal or experiencing severe depression after stopping Klonopin, contact your healthcare provider as you may need additional treatment. You may be prescribed antidepressants or minor pain medications to help treat some of the symptoms you may experience.

Again, it is never advised to discontinue taking Klonopin without consulting your doctor first. It is recommended to taper the drug slowly so that it can gradually leave your body without causing severe withdrawal symptoms.9

At Experience Ibogaine we offer treatment for Klonopin and other drug addictions through the use of Ibogaine.

Ibogaine treatment uses a natural plant-based medicine that has shown promising psychoactive effects for therapy. It has also shown positive effects for those suffering from opioid addiction. Overall, ibogaine may be a potential option to help ease Klonopin withdrawal symptoms.

References

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  2. Kacirova I, Grundmann M, Silhan P, Brozmanova H. A Case Report of Clonazepam Dependence: Utilization of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring During Withdrawal Period. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(9):e2881.
  3. DeVane CL, Ware MR, Lydiard RB. Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and treatment issues of benzodiazepines: alprazolam, adinazolam, and clonazepam. Psychopharmacology Bulletin. 1991;27(4):463-473. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1687613.
  4. Petursson H. The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Addiction. 1994;89(11):1455-1459. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1994.tb03743.x.
  5. Jones JD, Mogali S, Comer SD. Polydrug abuse: a review of opioid and benzodiazepine combination use. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012;125(1-2):8-18.
  6. Lader M, Tylee A, Donoghue J. Withdrawing Benzodiazepines in Primary Care. CNS Drugs. 2009;23(1):19-34. doi:10.2165/0023210-200923010-00002.
  7. Vicens C, Fiol F, Llobera J, et al. Withdrawal from long-term benzodiazepine use: randomised trial in family practice. Br J Gen Pract. 2006;56(533):958-63.
  8. Brown T. Ibogaine in the Treatment of Substance Dependence. Current Drug Abuse Reviews. 2013;6(1):3-16. doi:10.2174/15672050113109990001.
  9. Nardi AE, Freire RC, Valença AM, et al. Tapering Clonazepam in Patients With Panic Disorder After at Least 3 Years of Treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2010;30(3):290-293. doi:10.1097/jcp.0b013e3181dcb2f3.