Clonazepam, Klonopin, Rivotril – Dangerous Benzodiazepine!

Clonazepam Klonopin TabletsThis page provides information about my own experience with Clonazepam. My experience was not recreational!!! Known as a “Minor Tranquilizer” Clonazepam fits into a family of drugs called Benzodiazepines. I give special attention to this drug because of the insidious side effects I experienced. This is a very serious drug not to be taken lightly. Most physicians prescribing this drug are NOT aware of just how dangerous it can be.

Clonazepam is the DEVILS CANDY!

Clonazepam is a Class IV (4 or Four) drug in the United States. That means that you can not legally get it without a prescription from your doctor. As a member of the Benzodiazepine Family (Xanax. Ativan, Valium, etc.) it serves to sedate and tranquilize by acting on YOUR Brains GABA receptors.

If you want more technical details you can certainly find them online. I am not here to discuss the chemical make up or EXACT way in which the drug interacts with the GABA Receptors (Which is actually not entirely known). I am here to tell you a little story about the HELL the drug can be to get off once you are using it past a couple of weeks.

First there is no real schedule as to how long a Doctor should prescribe Clonazepam. It’s prescribed millions of times worldwide for Anxiety/Panic Disorder (I won’t get into that other than to say FIND SOMETHING ELSE! NOT DRUGS!), convulsions, and for me and many others INSOMNIA!

Don’t get suckered into taking this drug for more than a week. This is definitely a STOP GAP measure. Suffer the pain or the anxiety you will be glad in the long run. Look into ANY non drug alternatives (and not that doesn’t mean SSI blockers like Paxil, Zoloft, etc.). They can be hell to get off of as well). Anyways lets talk about WHY this is DEVILS CANDY.

Clonazepam – Scarey Wicked Withdrawals!

As I write this I am going through withdrawals from this insidious drug. Clonazepam is no joke. I researched it extensively (or so I thought) before I started taking it for my Insomnia (Due to my neck problems – herniated discs). All the initial research you find online says something like “Not very addictive” or “Habitual”.

The recommend taper schedules of .125mg every three days or even suggesting that you can easily get off this stuff in a couple days is a joke! It takes weeks to months to years. Don’t pay any attention to the big Pharmaceutical Studies (Look at the damage that Celebrex, Viagra, etc. have caused and you will understand that something is very fishy in the world of Big Money Drug Companies). Can you trust a study funded by the company that stands to gain substantially by it’s FDA Approval and resultant sales? Think of this for just one moment of a really big dollar amount – In 2004 -26 BILLON Dollars was a pretty big dollar amount wouldn’t you agree?

Let me help you understand how much money 26 Billon Dollars in profit really means. $26,000,000,000 – that’s a lot of zeros! It’s a million million! Crazy! A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive! Well he’s still alive, but he was walking around here on Earth! Multiply that by 26! It’s more money than these countries generate in a year (GNP): Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Guatemala, Croatia, Slovenia, Dominican Republic, Syria, Ecuador, Oman, Tunisia, Iraq (no kidding!), Lebanon, Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Uruguay, Belarus, El Salvador, Qatar, Lithuania, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Kenya, Cuba… and on and on. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t!

Now lets put the $26 billion into perspective. That’s how much money was spent in 2004 on the Statin Drugs (You know the ones that supposedly reduce your dangerously high cholesterol levels). Drugs like Pfizer’s “Lipitor” (atorvastatin). You think they want to pull it off the market? Hardly. You think they care if it is NOT preventing Heart Attacks? Hardly. It about the money folks WAKE UP. Statins are just one small group of drugs in a Vast and Unbelievably PROFITABLE Drug industry. And Statins are NOT preventing heart attacks!

Why do we see advertisements on TV to “Ask your Doctor about _______”. It’s the money! If our Doctor truly has our best interests in mind he won’t prescribe a “Brand” he will prescribe a treatment that is best suited to our condition. But in the Grand Ole USA it’s about the MONEY! Doctors are puppets to the Pharmaceutical companies and the almighty dollar.

What Six Months of “Low Dose” Clonazepam Has Done to Me

It’s made me into a Zombie. My short term memory disappeared. Try talking to a friend and midstream realize that not only are you stuttering, but you can not even remember what you were going to say next. You have to ask them what you were talking about. It’s scary! I could not concentrate on anything (I’m still having problems with concentration). It makes tying to follow along with a Movie story line a lot of fun. You forget what has happened and you just can’t follow it. So I quit watching movies.

I have become depersonalized! I am still having very weird dreams that make no sense at all, and have people in them from my past that I have not seen in years. They are not terrifying just very weird. It’s like being forced to watch a very bad movie. But not for long because I can not stay asleep for much more than 2 hours, so they are short lived dreams.

I am tapering now from a dose of 1mg per night for insomnia. And now my insomnia is worse! I was only on this dose for 3 to 4 months and prior to that .5mg for a month or two. Within 2 months I was stuttering, quite badly actually. Each monthly visit to my doctor he assured me I was taking a “low dose” and not to worry. The stuttering (slurred speech) was a result of the drug but not to worry. I was very relieved at first to get the drug – I slept all night for the first time in months. This was after taking Zanaflex, Ambien, Trazadone, Gabapentin (Neurontin), Allegra, among others. I only took them for 7 to 10 days (excepting the Gabapentin which I took for about 30 days concurrent with .5mg of Clonazepam). I mention the Gabapentin because I stopped it cold turkey after the 30 days and didn’t notice anything because of the Clonazepam. I can’t believe the cocktail of drugs the doctors kept prescribing. It was basically a “Try this and see if it works” approach. Cut and Drug! That’s what they know how to do. And the Drugs are not the answer. NEVER use drugs longer than very short periods of time unless you are experiencing a life threatening condition and the drug is the only thing that prevents you from dieing.

At about the 5 month mark I basically “hit the wall” that’s when the ears started ringing, the ataxia (motor control and balance) reared it’s ugly face, I began to experience difficulty focusing my eyes on the TV or the Computer Screen (let alone reading). I started filling EXTREMELY dizzy! So bad I could not bend over to the bottom shelf at the grocery store without catching myself for 10 seconds or so to hold myself up. My trips outside my home became (and still are) few and far between based on how bad I feel. This stuff just basically takes you and rips your brain apart. Once the benefits have left You will be constantly sedated, tired, have difficulty sleeping, and the list goes on. I would say to anyone even considering Clonazepam to:

  1. Look at the list of side effects, pick the 3 worst from the list and ask yourself if you can go through 6 weeks (perhaps longer) with these during withdrawal.
  2. Look past the bullshit stories and lies of the Pharmaceutical studies saying how it is NOT ADDICTIVE and how they tapered everyone off so easily. Look at the real numbers. Even in their own studies (one well quoted report suggested 27% had difficulty with withdrawal after only 6 months). Most of the studies are SHORT TERM – 6 weeks or so. There are no long term studies just long term stories by individuals who are in HELL from this Drug after being on it for years.
  3. Talk to people who have “survived” this drug about the HELL they went through getting off of it. Don’t talk to the people who are on it and have not yet experienced withdrawal. There day is coming. They can not help you!

Wake up! Don’t just take a drug blindly because your doctor told you to! Find another doctor. Find non-drug alternatives. This is NOT a pain killer, there is no reason to take this drug. There are better solutions to insomnia. I know I have it. Insomnia won’t kill you (At least not quickly), it just is miserable. Eventually it will pass. if you take the time to find the cause and address it.

Always Look for the CAUSE of your problems, not short term treatment of SYMPTOMS. Keep in mind if you do spin the wheel and take you’re chances with any Benzos drug – keep it to 2 weeks or less.
If you have insomnia now, you won’t believe how much worse it is during withdrawal. It is one thing to not be able to sleep, it is quite another to not be able to sleep and be nauseas! It’s your choice if after reading everything you have seen on this page you still want to “try” it then good luck to you. I hope it doesn’t destroy you. I hope you can get off it. I hope you are one of the 20% or less who don’t have much difficulty getting off of it once you wake up to the downside. I do not wish you any harm or bad effects. Many have said this is harder to get off of than Heroin. I now believe them.

MD’s are not God’s they are just body mechanics. Consider Acupuncture, DO’s, Naturopathic Medicine, or other alternatives. Alternative Medicine works with Natural substances which may help you with out side effects. Life can be hard. Sometimes what we really need is just to change our lifestyle, surround ourselves with supportive people, find faith in some “Higher Power”, and learn to meditate and relax. Drugs are not the answer. Drugs do not cure disease. Our bodies cure disease when we treat them with the ingredients necessary – nutrition, stress reduction, rest, relaxation, etc.

Clonazepam was designed for people with seizures, but is now the “minor tranquilizer” of choice along with Xanax. The primary difference being XANAX has a short Half life (several hours) and Clonazepam a relatively long half life (18 to 50) hours. Don’t let anyone (including doctors) tell you this stuff is not potent!

Clonazepam – Devil’s Candy Indeed!

Update July 2008 – 3 Years off of Clonazepam. I still have residual effects from the drug. I have occasional difficulty spitting out and pronouncing words. I have some problems with my short term memory. And I stutter off and on when stressed. None of these symptoms existed before I took this drug. I no longer have any withdrawal symptoms. I’d say I’m 80% better. It took me 3 months after my taper to get 60% better, then a year to get to 75%, and I hope that eventually I’ll get to 99%! I will probably always have some problems with my speech.

Posted by on Jul 11th, 2008 and filed under Drugs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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