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    Hock1950 posted:
    I I have been taking 2 MG of Clonazepam nightly for years. Whenever I try to get off it I have horrible side effects. Would Atrarax or Buspar be a substitute for the Clonazepam without the side effects? If so, what would be the dosage?
    ddnos responded:
    Hi Hock1950,

    Just curious, but do you have a doctor (psychiatrist)? Assuming that you do because of the meds you are on, have you asked this question of your doctor? If the prescribing doctor of your meds is not a psychiatrist, you might want to consider seeing one, as someone who specializes in psychotropic medications and would no doubt be able to answer your questions and concerns. If he/she can't answer the above question, then maybe you need to consider a different doctor. Just saying.

    Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
    Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
    Dear Hock1950,

    Long-term use of clonazepam 2 mg/day creates a physical dependence that could lead to withdrawal symptoms if it were abruptly stopped rather than tapered off. If by "horrible side effects" you may mean physical withdrawal symptoms, then it would be important to make sure that you are tapering off clonazepam under close medical supervision.

    In terms of non-benzodiazepine medicines that treat anxiety, just about all have side effects to consider, and vary in how well they work, depending on the kind of "anxiety" being treated. Buspar is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and has few side effects but isn't always so effective. Atarax, or Vistaril, is an antihistamine (like Benadryl) that also can treat anxiety but can be fairly sedating for some people. Some anticonvulsants have known anti-anxiety properties, notably, Neurontin or Lyrica. SSRIs and other antidepressants also often have anti-anxiety properties, but haven't been well-studied to treat anxiety specifically in people with bipolar disorder.

    Dr. G.

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