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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  MD Psychiatry
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I have been taking Ativan and Xanax XR for 8 years. They were

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I have been taking Ativan and Xanax XR for 8 years. They were initially given to me for anxiety and have increased in dosage over the years. I am now full-blown addicted - I can't sleep - f'fall over' into dep sleep without my ativan at night (6mg) or am very irritable and confused during the day without my Xanax XR in the morning (3mg). I also take a mood-stabilizer - Lamictal 200mg per day - in the morning. I want to get off these benzos - which one should I start with? My doctor just says 'Why? They burn clean. And we have tried a slow titrate 3 times over the years and I get stuck at the end and end up rapidly increasing back to where you were. Just take them or go enter a detox program.' I am a single father with a child and I cannot afford to be away from work or him for days, nor do I have the money to enter a detox program. Advice?

Hi there ,


Welcome to Just answer !


Well, i am mentioning below the process to bring you off both xanax xr and ativan , since the doses of both are moderately high , so , this will take around 4- 6 weeks for complete safe withdrawal. So, below is the withdrawal process , which i must stress should be discussed with your doctor before embarking upon it ..


Well, first you need to withdraw the morning dose of xanax xr , by starting with reduction of xanax xr to 2 mg morning dose , while continuing on 6 mg night dose of ativan , and continuing on it for 5 days , then after 5 days , further reduce the dose of xanax xr to 1 mg morning dose and then again after 5 days of continuing on 1 mg morning dose , you shall come off xanax completely , while continuing on the night dose of 6 mg ativan.


Now , once xanax xr is withdrawn in 10 days , then start withdrawing ativan , by reducing the dose of ativan to 4 mg night dose , continue on it for 1 week , and then at the end of the week , reduce the dose furthr to 2 mg night dose , and continue on it for another 1 week , and then at the end of this week of 2 mg ativan , further reduce the dose to 1 mg night dose , and continue on it for 5 days and then after 5 days, reduce the dose to 0.5 mg and after 5 days , bring the ativan off completely.


So, after 10 days of xanax xr withdrawal and 31 days of ativan withdrawal , so in all 41 days ( 6 weeks ) , both these drugs shall be withdrawn safely , but kindly discuss the withdrawal process with your doctor .


I hope tis helps...


I wish you all the best..


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
1. What sort of side-effects should I be on the look-out for?
2. That seems fast for the Xanax - is it because it is an XR rather than the non-extended release form?
3. If I get 'stuck' somewhere - like, say I notice after going from 4mg of the Xanax to the 2 mg of Xanax should I got to 1mg of the Xanax for 5 days - same with the Ativan - to slow down the reduction?
4. Should I expect I will be experiencing side-effects throughout this process?

Thank you for your reply - once these are answered I will accept. Thanks!

1) side effects such as restlessness, insomnia , agitation , craving for intake , tingling sensation , are common withdrawal side effects..


2) Well, yes exactly , because of slow dissipation of extended release version of xanax , less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms as compared to the xanax plain version..


3) Yes , if you get stuck then just be on the previous dose for some more days , preferaby for double the number of days , i have mentioned ( for example if you have side effects from coming down from 4 to 2 mg , then go back to 4 mg , and be on it for 1 more week , and then reduce to 3 mg , instead of 2 mg ).The same should be done for ativan..


4) I do not think you will be suffering any major side effects , but some minor side effects such as restlessnss and agitation for few initial days may be seen ..



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