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weaning off of xanax

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  • weaning off of xanax

    I was put on xanax in Jan. 2010. I am trying to wean myself off of it. I am currently taking 2 mgs usually at night to sleep...sometimes a little more. I know this isn't dr. and I know and I am trying to take less. I really don't need any responses that tell me how horrible this is and how messed I am. I have had those messages before about how detrimental xanax is. I know..hence the fact I am trying to go off of it. What I would like though is some hints from people who are in my situation and have successfully weaned themselves off of it or to a smaller dose. My main problem is sleeping. My bladder does well at a smaller dose I just can't sleep as well without it as with it. I've tried Tylenol PM with a little success I'm trying just a sleep aid tonight if I need it. So just pray for me and give me pointers if you have any.


  • #2
    A lot of ICers take Atarax at bedtime. I take 50 mgs. every night. It is used in patients prior to being taken into surgery because it helps you relax and causes drowsiness. Also, a lot of us take Elavil or Tofranil, both tricyclic antidepressants which are used frequently by a lot of us dealing with IC. I take 50mgs. of Tofranil at bedtime and 25 mgs. each morning. Most of us find that these meds help us sleep.


    • #3
      First of all, good for you for deciding you would like to try to take down or get rid of your Ativan doses! It's hard, but it can be done. I have weaned off Ativan before. In order to wean me off, my doctor gave me a dose of a different benzodiazepine that was longer lasting, so the dose would enter and leave my system with more of a tapering effect, not a startling one. I hope that makes sense. Then, I just weaned down very slowly. I was taking a dose several times a day, so what I did was I kept reducing the size of the dose while still taking the medicine at the same times every day, then after several days of this started eliminating doses until I got to one time a day, and then shortly after stopped taking it all together. I was on way too much of that medicine and I'm glad I'm off of it now! Of course, I do not want anyone to think that because I shared my plan I think it is one another patient can follow to wean themselves off. You MUST talk with your doctor before going off benzos - withdrawal can sometimes cause dangerous side effects, especially if not done under the care of a physician!

      With that being said, it is hard. But with commitment (and a support system helps), it can be done. I was uncomfortable while I was weaning off, and shortly after stopping the medicine as well. I had symptoms of anxiety (heart palpitations, tight chest, shortness of breath, temp. changes, fast pulse, etc), even if I was not in a situation that would typically induce this. I also went into intensive therapy (all day, for a good portion of the day) during this time. While taking the benzos, I never actually learned to control my anxiety and depression, I just let the medicine do the work. Therefore, it was crucial for me to learn how to control it on my own when I discontinued the Ativan. Not everyone will need intensive therapy, but it would be good to have a therapist, counselor, and/or psychiatrist to monitor your progress. I still go to therapy now, and it helps so much.

      I will say it took me about a month before I was where I wanted to be 100%, but I noticed improvements right away too as I came off the drug and got more involved with the therapy and changed my attitude and outlook on life and IC. It was hard, and at times really really sucked, but looking back it was so worthwhile and amazing! And now I feel so much self confidence and pride. My experience with sleeping during this time was that I did have to deal with several sleepless nights. This improved within the first week. I do take other medications that make me sleepy though too. You can ask your doctor about melatonin, that is something I used and had success with. Also, like previously mentioned, you can try elavil or atarax. There are plenty of medicines out there that help with sleep, so I would definitely call your doctor and let him/her know what's going on.

      Sorry if this was too long. I hope my suggestions will help a little, and if nothing else give you encouragement that it can be done, and that while it may be uncomfortable it can be done in a way that is not overpoweringly painful or anything. Good luck! Let us know as you gain progress. The first few days are the worst, and were pretty bad for me, but it gets much better and easier after that!
      Have had IC symptoms since childhood, but did not seek serious treatment or become diagnosed until I was in college.

      24 yo F

      I've had a cystectomy with an Indiana Pouch. It was a success and has helped my symptoms and pain immensely.


      • #4
        I have been weaning off of Xanax since January 1st. I was taking .5 mg. three times per day. Beginning tomorrow (May 1st) I will be down to one .25 mg. dose per day. As of June 1st I will be off of it completely.

        It's my understanding that Xanax is the worst of the Benzoids to come off of. I have been on it for 3 years now.


        • #5
          I'm in a similar situation, but different benzo.
          I've been taking benzodiazepines since 2007, first clonazepam, then lorazepam, now oxazepam. Took me a couple months of furious research gathering and solid arguments to get my psychiatrist to take me seriously about benzo withdrawal and weaning me off them slowly.

          You definitely aren't messed! Perhaps to make it easier to withdrawal, your doctor could switch you over to something like valium with a long half-life [20-200 hrs] which can also go to low doses such as 2mg. Are you taking anything else that works on the GABA system, like a z-drug or gabapentin?

          You might want to check out the Ashton taper method, and for info and tips on how to withdrawal smoothly.

          You said that your doctor knows you are taking more than prescribed and trying to take less, so get him/her involved! They can give you the support you need, and make sure you're safe during the process. Good luck!
          21 years old
          dx: severe OAB, mild/moderate IC, depression, PTSD, agoraphobia, chronic fatigue, IBS, peripheral neuropathy

          ♥ looking for a way or medication to help stop spasms ♥


          • #6
            I went off of Xanax a few years ago. I think the most I took was 1 mg per day. Anyway, for me coming off of it wasn't all that difficult. I also took it to sleep, so the hardest part was dealing with my sleep issues in other ways. But the actual coming off of Xanax was not difficult for me. I didn't have any side effects. I tried to come off of it slowly, but actually sped up the process a little once I realized it wasn't that hard. So I think first is to deal with your fears of the withdrawal. Don't assume it will be hellish to come off of it. It may not be as difficult as you think. Definitely take it slowly, since that's how they recommend you do it. But don't assume it will be terrible! Some of the withdrawal symptoms you have may be mostly caused by fear and not by the meds.
            Update! Feeling much better these days and no longer on any meds!

            Pelvic pain began July 2008. Urinary frequency began in November of 2008. IC Doctor says I'm one of the worst frequency patients he has had.

            Things that helped me the most: IC Diet, Elavil (30mg), Elmiron since June '09 (500mg/day).

            Previously tried and quit: one series of six instillations, Neurontin, Ditropan, Oxytrol, electric stimulation to the pelvic floor, Desert Harvest Aloe, Cystoprotek and Flomax, Hydroxyzine (50mg), Alesse Birth control (this helped my period flares when my symptoms used to be bad), PTNS (I think this helped).