How To Taper Off Temazepam Completely

crickett Says:

Please help; doctor doesn't want me as a patient anymore, reasons are ridiculous and too long to get into, but now she has put me in a jam. I was taking Clonazepam 2mg. 2 tablets 2x per week(for anxiety & sleep), & Temazepam 30mg. 2 tablets 2x per week(for sleep). I have been on both these drugs for 2 1/2 years & want to get the heck off them. I noticed the last couple months; neither appeared to be helping the anxiety/sleep issues I have had; so basically I just want off both. I have been Clonazepam free for 11 days now. I CANNOT believe how I feel--like I could crawl right out of my skin; anxiety ridden, non stop talking,completely wired,nerves jumping in arms & legs, more and more and on and on. Bad idea to go cold turkey, but did & now out of them. So I have to deal with the withdrawal with that one I guess.... But like I mentioned, I also want to get off the Temazepam. Am not going to go more crazy & quit cold turkey on that one too. My tablets are 30mg. & I normally took 2-30mg. tablets on Mondays & Fridays. Since I don't have a doctor anymore--can anyone suggest how to taper till completed weaned off? I want to get off this crud asap. (as you probably notice, I have a high tolerance). Thanks everyone!!!

136 Replies (7 Pages)

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Verwon Says:

Wow, very sorry to hear what you are going through.

30mgs is a high dosage and it is going to be hard to wean off of them, without medical assistance.
Regardless of how you try, if you try to cut the pills and take less or take them less frequently, you will probably still experience some withdrawal symptoms.

Have you tried finding a new doctor that might be able to help you?


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Susan Says:

I am trying to quit temazepam also. its awful. Have you been able to quit? If so how did you do it? The docto put me on trazadone but it is awful, I'm like a zombie all the time. Would like to know how you are doing.

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Kent Says:

I have found that doctors don't want to help people stop "psych meds" (drugs used to treat psychological symptoms); and suspect they're afraid doing so could expose them to a lawsuit, because the only thing worse than the suicide risk as a side effect appears to be the suicide risk as a withdrawal effect. Also remember that doctors get their info on drugs from manufacturers, who formulate the info (including misleading statements on the drug’s information sheet and using the ignorance of the average doctor and patient about statistics to mislead them) to keep you on drugs, not to cure you and/or to get you off them. Also, many drugs are not available in dose sizes suitable for a truly gradual weaning; and drugs with a short half-life (typical for sleeping pills) lend themselves poorly to "weaning", because you are already effectively withdrawing every day (mathematical fact).

If you have the mental discipline/fortitude to deal with the withdrawal effects, doing it yourself will probably be your best bet, but try to have someone you trust around to keep you from doing something stupid. If you don't have the necessary mental strength, a friend could help you, but only a friend with enough mental fortitude/detachment to keep you on track while watching you suffer, without calling 911. It's not easy, and if you're taken to a hospital, the drugs they may put you on could be a lot harder to get off of than sleeping pills.

Like "recreational drugs" (including alcohol), "psych meds" impair brain and nervous function, including judgment, how you think, and reactions, and that can lead to trying stupid things to "make these feelings go away", or to just doing stupid things, without truly appreciating or comprehending the risk(s); possibly leading to unintended death (or injury) that will be labeled a suicide (or attempt).

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Kent Says:

P.S. When trying to wean off of ANY drug, there is the temptation to cut/break tablets to decrease the dose. With some drugs, this is OK; however, with some it can be extremely dangerous. Before using this technique, find out if it can be done with the medication you're using in the form you're using (what may be OK for tablets may NOT be OK for capsules).

Also, eat a healthy diet while you're coming off, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and as little processed "food" as possible. Your body can repair itself better and more quickly with quality materials than with junk.

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Sabrina Says:

My problem...I have been on ambien for 2 years and now temazepam for a year. I want to wean myself off and have been warned not to go cold turkey. I have been using temazepam 30mg every night due to severe sleep problems. I have stopped taking them, substituting herbal teas and meds, but find that I get no sleep at all. Luckily other withdrawal type symptoms have been mild, except for typical post menopausal symptoms. Any ideas on how I can sleep without taking these very harsh drugs?????

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Kent Says:

Normally, you need to first find out if there's a physical cause for your insomnia (thorough medical checkup). Some physical problems (e.g., hypothyroid condition; but the trouble is, once you're on psychopharmaceuticals, it's difficult to get the right dose of thyroxin because the symptoms of the wrong dose are the same as many psychopharmaceutical side effects, and the wrong dose can permanently damage your thyroid).

Sleeping and anti-anxiety pills don't work for long. Search on line and read everything you can find about Temazepam (Restoril) and Ativan. Both create dependence, so you have your task cut out for you; and how you do will depend a lot on your mental fortitude. Please heed my warning about not doing it without someone to look out for your best interests during the process.

As far as the insomnia is concerned, I have some good info, but can't put it all here. Also, there's work involved; you'll have to be willing to change yourself and the way you think about sleep. Here's a paragraph that should point you in the right direction for some on-line searching:

Most promising on this score was cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I, a form of brief psychotherapy that helps people correct mistaken beliefs about sleep and change ineffective sleep habits. Jack Edinger, PhD., a psychologist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, has conducted a number of studies comparing CBT-I with other treatments, including sleep hygiene and progressive relaxation (that is, the tensing and releasing of various muscles, starting at the toes and moving up the body). While those approaches often helped people get to sleep, they didn’t help them stay asleep, he said. By contrast; just two to four sessions of CBT-I resulted in marked improvement in his subjects’ sleep maintenance, with even better results at a six-month follow-up. Other studies have found CBT-I to be as effective as drugs in the short term and more effective in the long run.

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Kent Says:

Sorry: "Some physical problems (e.g., hypothyroid condition...) cause insomnia."

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swebb Says:

I have managed to make almost an entire week from Temazepam. It has been utter hell!!! I called my doc and asked her what I could use to help with withdraw and she said use Gabapentin and Flexiril for the sleep and the physical pain.

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swebb Says:

I am going through hell too. Try GAbapentin for the sleep and Flexiril for the body aches. It did help with sleep bu tI think I am going to have to just suffer with the body pain.

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Kent Says:

There is no Santa Claus. Before you try Gabapentin or Flexiril, read up on them. I just glanced at the stuff the Gabapentin link brought me to and you'd have to be crazy to even try the stuff. How does the saying go? "Remember when your parents told you not to experiment with drugs? Well with psychopharmaceuticals, your doctor is experimenting with drugs on you at your financial and physical expense (and the manufacturer is laughing all the way to the bank). It isn't even possible to develop a valid clinical trial for these things because the drug, the control and the placebo always have different (or absent) side effects. Einstein's definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". How many drugs do you need to be messed up by to figure out that no matter how good they MIGHT make you feel in the short run, in the long run they created dependence, make you miserable, sometimes leave you with permanent damage, and don't fix the cause of the problem? If someone tells you to touch a hot gas stove to make the pain in your foot go away, and you burn your hand, do you listen to him when he tells you "it must have been the gas, touch an electric stove"?

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joyce Says:

you may need to go to an n.a.meeting and disscuss what you are going thru, I'm sure they can help you, good luck

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graham Says:

Been takeing diazipan 4 mgs tammazipan 30 mgs cocodamol30 500 for a bout 3 years my car got broken into in London on the 17 Feb went to the doctor told him what happend he said u have been 8 days u should have done the cold turkey keep it up no more tablets and if u do I want a crime refrence and statement.I got a crime ref the police won't fax any paper work as its confadentual what can I do it feels like I'm going mad sweats jumping can't eat sleep I need some one who nos e that can help me thank u

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LJ Says:

I am also trying to wean myself off temazapam. Was on 15 mg, have cut back to 7.5 that I combine with valerian tincture. That seems to be working so far. Will try to continue the gradual approach. Some say melatonin works for them - never did for me. Tried cold turkey once, and I didn't sleep at all for a week and couldn't function. Graham, sounds like you need to somehow get your doc to give you a lower dose, help you get off these.

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Kent Says:

Crickett: You might want to read my previous posts below for general info. I have no experience with tapering Temazepam, only antidepressants. I also don’t understand why you would be taking something with such a short half life (8-10 hrs) twice a week; theoretically putting yourself through some withdrawal twice a week. Whoever recommended that doesn’t understand how the level of the drug in your blood varies with time.

I recommend getting completely over Clonazepam withdrawal first; otherwise, you won't know what to stop doing or adjust of you have a problem coming off the Temazepam. If the Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms stop changing, I wouldn’t be surprised if what’s left is from Temazepam withdrawal. You and your doctor got yourself into this situation because neither of you did your homework, so read and understand everything you can find about Temazepam, including finding out if it's safe to cut or break the tablets (the product info sheet or instructions will say if you shouldn't), and/or ask a pharmacist if you have questions.

I’m not a doctor, so I can only tell you what would be a mathematically rational approach, based on what I've heard and seen with antidepressants. You’re going to have to decide what you want to try; but I strongly recommend you not try to withdraw from anything without having someone around to watch over you and intervene if something goes wrong. You must remember when dealing with psychoactive drugs that they all can affect your thinking, including during withdrawal, and the effects increase when you’re changing doses. That can lead to dumb thoughts followed by dumb actions that can look like (or be) suicide attempts.

Based on its half life, if you take 60 mg twice a week on Monday and Thursday; then on the following Monday before you take your dose, less than 1% of it is left in your blood, making you almost drug-free. Unfortunately, withdrawal symptoms aren’t necessarily related to how much is in your blood, so just stopping after a Thursday dose could still be rough. I can think of a few mathematically sound ways to “taperâ€; but because of the bumpy ride you’re on already, and because I don’t know anything about you, I don’t know which would be better, so I’ll describe the one that essentially gives you complete control over and all the responsibility for your progress. Remember that you’re essentially experimenting with drugs on yourself (but your doctor was doing the same on you).

If it’s safe to cut the tablets, *decrease your dose by a half tablet and see how long you can tolerate that dose. If it get's too rough, go back to the previous dose until it’s tolerable again, and then continue with the reduced dose again. With luck, the time between going back to the previous dose will increase and the time on it will decrease until you're sort of comfortable without the previous dose at all.* Then repeat everything between the asterisks, until you're off. If you find reducing by half a tablet is too much, reduce by a quarter tablet instead, etc.

If it's not safe to cut the tablets, you wouldn’t have much choice. In that case, or if you feel strong enough to quit faster, reduce by one tablet at a time the same way.

While you’re doing this, eat a healthy diet; force yourself go to bed and get up at the same time every day, regardless of how little you sleep, but give yourself 8 hours; don't worry about not sleeping, let your body take whatever sleep it can within the time allotted; make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D-3; learn from your experience; and good luck.

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Kent Says:

Now I wonder if Crickett already succeeded...

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LJ Says:

Temazepam comes only in capsules. You can't open these, I'm told it is dangerous. You have to be prescribed lower doses. (Ambien - or zolpedem - on the other hand, comes as tablets, that you can split yourself.) I don't know how low the doses go on temazepam, but I am hoping I can get down to 1 mg or less. Seems different manufacturers make different dosages; the doctors have references to search it out. I reacted badly to one 3.5 mg product - got very sick, hives in the middle of the night - and we had to find another. Takes some work to do all this. My old doc wasn't willing and/or knowledgeable - when I asked how to get off the meds, he just shrugged and said there might be some "insomnia rebound" - what a ridiculous term! So I got a new doctor who is working with me. She has been very willing to take the time to do the research on this. Kent, you might be right that they are trying to avoid lawsuits, but seems the height of irresponsible practice to prescribe these meds so quickly, and then not have a clue how to help patients withdraw.

I do want to say, though, that if you have never suffered from chronic insomnia you have NO idea how horrible and crippling it is. I don't regret getting onto these meds, as it has given me a couple years of blessed sleep - knowing, for the first time in my life, that when I go to bed I will actually sleep, and wake up with some energy. It's helped me get over some of my anxiety about sleep and going to bed. Now I just need to figure out how to do it without the pills. Am looking into various non-drug approaches - including CBT (cognitive behavioral treatment). We'll see.

Good luck to all who are dealing with this...don't lose hope! And find a compassionate doc.

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Rob Says:

Heh. Do not go cold turkey off Temezepam. You have a good chance of dying. It's not smart. It's one of the rare ones that can kill you. Trust me I'm an insomniac with night terrors. Also an ex addict that was on suboxone for 3 years of hell. Right now my dr has me on 60 mg a night of Temezepam. After I'm done with this suboxone mess I don't know what I'll do about temazepam. I prefer taking temazepam to night terrors. Morning suck but oh we'll. But I can help you get off 30 mg. temazepam is much harder to lower. You need a dr to switch to diazepam aka Valium. I've read a million studies that it's much easier to taper. You will start at 27 milligrams and slowly do it. One thing that may help is clonodine. Just take two and knock yourself out. I could sue the s*** out of my dr at this point. He never warned me of anything ahead of time. Not until it was to late. Then he tried putting me on adderall the second I said I couldn't focus. I'm an addict and your prescribing me adderall? Trust me on the diazepam. Even try taking a couple over the counters with it. Clonodine is amazing and any dr putting somebody through withdrawals should know this. It'll also help during the day. Take it with an energy shot until you can handle it. Only take one during the day. Your dr can't cut you off by the way. They put you in the mess it's there job to get you out. Good luck. Please trust me I really know what I'm talking about for all of you who are having a hard time. I'm terrified of getting off 60 suboxone took me 6 months to get my skin to stop crawling. Still does on occasion.

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Rob Says:

You don't want to switch to ambien from temazapam. They are different types of drugs. Valium is much better for the switch. Ambien will just make it hell. I've done it. Benzos are the most difficult to come off therefore you need another benzo.

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LJ Says:

You're right Rob, ambien is even worse. I also started on it and was switched to temazepan because of side-effects. I didn't mean to suggest that switch, was just pointing out that one was in tablets where the dose could be adjusted; maybe if you're on ambien you could do your own taper. I'm looking into switching to valium so my dose can be slowly lowered. There is a British doc that has worked all this out, including the process of switching over:

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LJ Says:

One other suggestion to anyone trying to taper off temazepam - try GABA. On the advice of a friend I've been taking it this last week, along with a low 2mg dose of Valium, and I'm managing to sleep. It's an over-the-counter amino acid that has the same calming effect on the nerves as temazepam, but not as many side-effects + hopefully not as addicting. I plan to ease off the Valium in the next couple weeks, and stay on GABA for a while while I look into other treatments for insomnia. That's the plan, anyway...

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