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Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
I agree, Paula. Preempting the pain is a good idea. I pretty much know when I've got a killer headache coming on and will take advil or tylenol right away, before it gets out of hand.

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03-28-2013 08:14 PM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #12
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
Well, I suppose you can say that I know so much that I prefer to avoid them when possible - at any rate, for the type of pain I am speaking of there is no actual way to pre-empt it getting worse - it starts out worse, what we call here a Hexenschuss. There are no small guns for it, and once you get it once, you are heavily vulnerable to recurrences. Advil and Tylenol are actually not options for this - powerful muscle relaxants combined with NSAIDS are the only way to go, or get a shot of something even stronger (and VERY trippy, too). For normal headaches, I take Robax Platinum, from a private supply I have flown in for me from Canada, since you can't get it here. Because it is so hard to come by, I tend to use it sparingly as well.

There are two types of doctors, anyway - those who take a pill at the drop of a hat (and become addicts, often) and those who avoid them because we are too familiar with what they can do long term. I fall in the latter camp. Don't get me wrong I love pain killers and whatever else, but having the type of apnoea I have and the concomitant sinus and uvula problems I have, I am wary of taking things to close to bed time, lest just what nearly happened to me the other night would happen. I still take my daily low dose aspirin, no problem, and blood pressure meds (I'm really bad at remembering to take my vit D supplements), etc, but I know when to take hammer meds and when not. And being around stuff every day that I can simply pocket and use, I am possibly overcautious about taking anything unless absolutely necessary (and you'd be surprised how many things a hot bath with some nice bath salts and a nice scented candle can take of - meds are for use when other methods fail, IMHO).
03-28-2013 09:09 PM
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u2canbuild Offline

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Post: #13
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
(03-26-2013 07:38 PM)DocWils Wrote:  Remember that you need to wean off these meds, so slowly slowly under the supervised dosage reduction schedule.

Since you have not described why you have been taking these meds, I cannot suggest alternatives, but I am sure your doc has already given you some alternatives.
I greatly appreciate every ones support and comments.Thanks

To fill in some of the blanks from several caring members , I will expand on my Benzo use....

I origionally was prescribed Xanax 34 years ago for agorophobia / anxiety severe enough that it prevented me from participating in society. To stand in line at grocery store was agnoy and extreemly stress full to the poinT where I did not .....

With the use of Xanax, then Klonopin in later years, I was able to go to College at age 30, get a good job and suceded in participating in most of lifes mile stones, Travel, marriage, House, social gatherings, Activities, Hobies, etc.

With Xanax, I now understand.......... that I was intra-dose withdrawling after about 15 years. The doctors simply prescribed a Benzo with a longer half life........ Klonopin

No one ever told me that Benzo could cause major problems.
About 4 years ago, I had what was most likely a Seizure / eposodic Confusion that landed me in the Hosptal. It was ........ I think now....... interdose withdrawl and I had reached the tolerance level.

"they" raised my dosage of Klonopin........

"They" ran tons of test over the past 4 years, My cognitive functions were very impared, diagnoses ranged from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Dementia, Sleep Apnea, Heart V-Tach, among other things. I had trouble walking, talking and doing the daily tasks of living.


I saw several Neuroligsts, Several Infectious Disease doctors, Geratric doctors, brain scans, blood work, Spinal Tap, and finally my primary care said "you need to get your things in order when you have a "good day" before you are unable to do so"

He called me his "million dollar" patient because the insurance had paid out in excess 1.3 millon dollars over the past 4 years........Oh-jeez Not to mention my costs and loss of income and more importantly the loss of my life as I knew it.

My weaning down and plan to leave the benzo world was my last ditch effort to eliminate the last variable as I had attempted many lifestyle, food, social, changes over the past 4 years.

I told my primary care doctor that I was going to try to get off the Klonopin. (that he had prescribed over the past 14 years).

He said could just stop taking it............ Wrong........!!!!!!!!Oh-jeez

I went on line and learned all that I could about Benzo's

I slowly tapered the Klonopin down to .5 mg per day over 3 months and then after more research did the Valium interchange; I simply directed my Primary care what I wanted to take and he went along with what ever I wanted............. over another month I fully weaned off the Valium.

After 10 days of no Benzos, I had what they think was a Partial Seizure and ended up in the Hosiptal............ their solution was to give me more Benzos............ Clearly I was tapering off too fast. I most likely had 4 or 5 partial seizures before the big one............

The weanig process is .............. worse that Kidney stones, worse that a Spinal Tap............. physicall and emotionaly ...... I will simply call extreemly challenging

34 years and no one.............. ever told me long term Benzo use could be a big problem..........!

And to add fuel to the fire.......... "they" never reccomended a drug center or that tapering would be so hard.........

The three sleep doctors I saw, the center where I took two sleep studies.............. never indicated my Benzo use might be a problem.!!

Moving along.......

I chose to go back to 5 mg of Valium, ( = to .25 mg Klonopin) and started a slower taper of about 20% reduction every week, or so .....all the time being very much in tune to what my body and mind was telling me.

Right now I am at 1 mg Valium / day , and still slowly tapering and plan on another month to be completely off Benzos................. FOR EVER!

I figure I will ask for another sleep study in about 3 to 6 months, as I have read that the effects of long term Benzo use can remain for 6 months to 2 years...........

The effects of My Sleep Apnea is much less now on my body....... and mind........ and improving to a point to where I have used only a Oral Device for the past 1.5 weeks and my recording Oximeter is indicating .......... I hope correctly........ that I am getting enough O2 and I am not having events that drop below 88 to 89%.

This story of my experiences is one of the reasons I question all doctors and have to understand for my self what, where and why .

I am doing much better now, I drive, and even rode a motorycle today and hope to get back to Hang gliding!Cool

In Conslusion, I hope some one, or several people can learn from my experiences............ I will be glad to share my Journey with anyone who is in need or knows someone in need....

This group has been a god-send for me.

Thanks again Thanks

U2canbuild
03-31-2013 11:27 PM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
Stick with it. I wish I could say it gets better but, not always. It's a slow process.

Please keep us up to date on how you are doing.

Your O2 drops are not overly bad but still low. We aren't supposed to get below 92%. What is your O2 during the day when awake? It would be interesting for you to wear it all day, keeping a log of what you were doing each half hour or so.

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04-01-2013 12:12 AM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #15
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
Firstly, wow, what a story! I feel for you, and I must say, I also question the need for you to stay one any of these drugs so long term, but I am not a psychiatrist, nor have I seen your file, so I cannot guess at what the reasoning was to keep you on these drugs pretty much all your adult life. Long term damage from most any drug can be pretty severe, even aspirin, so it is good for you to finally be getting free of them.

I can only say, based on my experience and training, that your approach is the right one, so hang in there. Our standard here is a maximum ten percent reduction per week, BTW, for long term patients - your body is so habituated, there is a massive physical withdrawal problem that calls for a gently, gently approach. With any luck, the physical damage is not permanent, although I would get regular liver scans and have them look at your pancreas whenever possible - I assume they found no blockages when they did a brain scan after your stroke, in which case the withdrawal was giving you a "brain rush" or cascade, causing the stroke, and these leave no permanent damage, thankfully, although they are scary as hell. Nonetheless, keep watching out for TIAs and modify your diet further, go vegetarian or even macrobiotic for a while until you have reached a comfortable lower dose for several months.

Say good-bye to caffeine as well (I'll assume that you already cut sugar completely from your diet). And take up meditation, either TM or Buddhist style (your local chapter of the Soka Gakkai (SGI USA) can teach you Buddhist style - they can be a bit pushy and culty at times, but the method itself works to calm the mind and help you focus - just learn the method and forget the rest, unless you like the rest, of course). Right now you need to find a way to keep a calm centre and keep your bp under control, and meditation is a good method for that. (If you are getting the impression that Swiss medicine is a bit more broad minded than US medicine, to some extent you are correct - we recognise the need for "alternative" and non school medicine, and if the evidence supports it, we take it into our treatment systems).

And above all, don't panic - your approach is sound, and I think you will find that over time you will feel better all around, but find at least one doctor to quarter-back you, coordinate your various results and help you to understand them, and to act as your coach as you continue this process.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2013 04:37 AM by DocWils.)
04-01-2013 04:34 AM
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physicsstudent13 Offline

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Post: #16
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
(03-26-2013 06:38 PM)u2canbuild Wrote:  I am almost finished tapering off Klonopin/Valium after 34 years of legal use prescribed by doctors. The weaning process has taken me 5 months so far and has been the hardest thing I have ever done.

I was simply uniformed and I guess lazy......... Dont-know

See the below article on Sleep Apnea and Benzo use that I stumbled across today...........

1. Is it on track as to what the members here know?

2. When I am finished with the taper, I will never take another Benzo, it has caused many problems over the past 4 years.

PM me if you want URL's to Benzo information sites.

The article.......

Sleep Apnea and Valium Use

Patients with severe sleep apnea are often tempted to use Valium or other benzodiazepines because it allows them to sleep through the apnic episodes without waking to consciousness. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants that can affect the control of ventilation during sleep. The tranquilizer allows the person to think they received four hours of uninterrupted sleep, and they may even feel more refreshed upon awakening from such sleep. But that is only an illusion.

During the drugged sleep, the patient exerts considerable unconscious physical effort in overcoming the obstruction, eventually finally gasping and falling back into a deeper sleep until the next attempt at breathing occurs. This effort comes at a huge physiological price due to the lack of oxygen in the system during the effort. While the patient wakes after the effects of the drug feeling like he got some sleep, he really has suffered quite a bit of long-term damage.

It is axiomatic among physicians that benzodiazepines should NOT be given to patients with obstructive sleep apnea because of the long-term damage the prolonged apnic episodes cause. Long-term use of benzodiazepines in patients with sleep apnea causes elevated blood pressure, which may lead to stroke, heart attack and even early death.

that's interesting, I feel much more refreshed and rested on klonopin and I think I have more energy and clarity the next day. I have CSA and PLMD which are related to seizures though I don't have seizures except just twitching for a second. There have been studies on klonopin and zolpidem that show they reduce arousals and central apnea events, solid proof that they work.
03-19-2014 04:12 PM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #17
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
BTW, did you know that one type of agoraphobia and stress anxiety is closely related to hyperacusis (you hearing loudness tolerance is so low that everything sounds over-loud and painful to you)? If you get a hearing test for it (off the drugs, of course) often all you need is to wear ear plugs that attenuate the levels of sound you hear, and that often deals with the problem neatly. Hearing aid specialists often can administer this test, as it is part of the testing they do to adjust hearing aids. usually a simple earplug that reduces the max levels to 50 or 55 dB is all you need, and if they work, then spend the money for special made ones that can fit more comfortably in your ears, as they will be more easily wearable of the long haul - musicians get these all the time, btw, so they are usually found at most major hearing specialist suppliers.
03-19-2014 05:59 PM
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GreyParrot Offline

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Post: #18
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
Opiate pain meds for me taken after 1PM cause a marked rise
in centrals for me. I tested this a few times and obtained the same
results. If I take a Vicoprofen any where near bed time I get
many centrals per hour for most of the night.
03-21-2014 01:05 PM
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physicsstudent13 Offline

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Post: #19
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
I'm not sure about longterm, klonopin really helps and it isn't anything like valium or opiates, it's a different class of drug. but people do have sites about klonopin withdrawal which I haven't experienced.
04-24-2014 03:40 PM
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Sleepster Offline
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Post: #20
RE: Valium, Klonopin, Benzos and Sleep Apnea
Klonopin is in the same family as Ambien. Both are highly habit forming, and they do stop working after awhile.

It's a sedative. I like it, and take it, but my doctor is very careful about limiting me to as small an amount as possible. Like, say, 100 tablets per year maximum. It's not something you want to get in the habit of taking every day. It'll soon stop having the desired effect and you'll need to take just to get back to where you were before you started taking it.

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04-24-2014 09:03 PM
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