Strategies for tapering off Klonopin can be effective at reducing withdrawal symptoms. Tapers should be supervised by your doctor or done at a rehab facility.

In a world filled with recognizable drug names, the prescription medication Klonopin is sometimes an outlier. Klonopin, the brand name for the drug clonazepam, is often hidden in the shadow of other benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. However, just like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin requires a careful taper if you discontinue the drug.

Article at a glance:

  • If you have taken a benzodiazepine for longer than two weeks, it is important to taper the drug.
  • Following a tapering schedule is vital to avoid painful physical withdrawal symptoms.
  • Klonopin tapers are best conducted under the care of a physician, such as in an inpatient medical detox environment. 

Like all benzodiazepines, Klonopin is a controlled substance due to its risk of dependence and abuse. Rehabilitation facilities can help individuals overcome a problem with benzodiazepines like Klonopin. A detox is one of the best ways to start.

What Is Klonopin Tapering or Weaning off Benzodiazepines?

Quitting a benzodiazepine cold turkey can be dangerous. This is especially true if you have been on the drug long-term. Luckily, a tapering strategy can be used to get you off the drug completely by giving you progressively lower doses. This helps avoid the side effects of withdrawal and allows your body to adjust to reduced doses of the drug before further dose reduction.

If you have taken a benzodiazepine for longer than two weeks, it is important to taper the drug. After that time, withdrawal symptoms can occur if you try to stop the drug without a taper.

Klonopin tapers are best conducted under the care of a physician, such as in an inpatient medical detox environment. They will be able to determine the safest taper schedule for you based on a variety of factors, including your medical history and any other substances that you may be taking. 

Who Can Benefit From Tapering Their Benzo Intake

Benzodiazepine tapers are designed to lessen the worries of detoxification. Many people can trace their hesitation to stop benzos to withdrawal symptoms. Tapering benzodiazepines can alleviate these uncertainties. At its core, tapering is about gradually familiarizing the body to live without benzos while making withdrawal a manageable process.

Types of Benzodiazepines Tapering Methods

Some Klonopin taper strategies that doctors use include:

  • For people on high doses: Doctors sometimes cut the initial dose by up to 30%. On a weekly basis thereafter, they continue to reduce the dose up to 10% per week. Sometimes, the person is put on another drug, such as an anticonvulsant, to help avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • For people who take Klonopin at bedtime: Doctors may cut the initial Klonopin dose by up to 25%. When Klonopin is taken at bedtime, it often aids in sleep. For this reason, cutting back on the Klonopin may lead to insomnia. Doctors can help with this using a variety of strategies, including therapy, sleep hygiene techniques and alternate medications.
  • For people who take Klonopin during the day: Doctors often cut the initial Klonopin dose by up to 25%. Every one to two weeks thereafter, the dose may be reduced by another 10% to 25%.

Tapering + Therapy = Key to Success

Using additional treatment strategies like therapy can help a taper’s chances of success. For example, in people with panic disorder, group cognitive behavioral therapy during the taper had a 76% chance of successfully tapering off their benzodiazepine, compared with 25% of those who tried tapering off the drug without therapy. 

Direct Tapering

Direct tapers are straightforward and common for long-acting benzodiazepines like Klonopin and diazepam (Valium). In a direct taper, the drug’s dose is slowly decreased over time until you are fully weaned off and can stop the drug.

Substitute Tapering

In a substitute taper, a short-acting benzodiazepine is converted to a longer-acting alternative like clonazepam to better ease you off without withdrawal symptoms. The clonazepam dose is then slowly decreased over time until you are at a low enough dose to fully stop taking the drug. Because it is long-acting, clonazepam itself may not need to be converted to an even longer-acting alternative for you to be tapered off.

Titration Tapering

Titration tapers are not recommended. In a titration taper, you dissolve your benzodiazepine drug in water and then try to take progressively decreasing quantities to taper yourself off. The problem with a titration taper is that it is very difficult to accurately determine how much dissolved clonazepam you are taking because the drug is not completely soluble in water. 

Why Consider Tapering vs. Stopping Klonopin Cold Turkey?

Stopping Klonopin cold turkey can be very dangerous and may lead to withdrawal complications like seizures if you have been taking the drug on a consistent basis. Instead, a taper allows your body to gradually adjust to smaller and smaller doses of the drug, letting your body gently ease itself off Klonopin while minimizing withdrawal symptoms.

Common Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms

Tapering off Klonopin prevents the debilitating side effects of quitting. Withdrawals can be week- or month-long ordeals once everything is said and done. A taper can make all the difference in such harrowing times.

Symptoms that are characteristic of a Klonopin withdrawal include:

  • Tremor, convulsions, muscle spasms and more serious symptoms like seizure 
  • Insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns 
  • Mental status changes, such as mood changes and more serious symptoms like panic attacks, hallucinations or psychosis 

A medically supervised taper can help you stop taking Klonopin without suffering the effects of withdrawal. If you or someone you love needs help stopping Klonopin or another benzodiazepine, our team at The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today.

Side Effects of Benzodiazepine Tapering

When done properly, a benzodiazepine taper should have no or minimal side effects. This is because the point of the taper is to slowly ease your body off the drug. In contrast, suddenly quitting a benzodiazepine without a taper can cause severe withdrawal symptoms as your body is jolted off the drug.

Benzodiazepines Withdrawal Timeline

Medical detoxification from benzodiazepines often involves tapering down from the drug. Tapering down can mean reducing the dose or prescribing a less potent benzo. The strategy used is determined by the severity of addiction and the type of drug that was abused.

Benzos used for detox may include diazepam (Valium) or clonazepam (Klonopin). These drugs are used for tapering down because they are long-acting and less potent than other benzos. These drugs keep withdrawal symptoms at bay while the user reduces their dose.

Medications Used When Tapering Off Benzodiazepines

The best way to taper off a benzodiazepine is to slowly reduce the dose of the benzo itself. However, in the last stages of a benzo taper, additional medications are sometimes needed to help the person as they become completely benzo-free. Some common medications include anticonvulsants and antidepressants.


Sometimes, despite a taper, a person needs adjunct medications like anti-seizure drugs in the last stages of a benzo taper. Both carbamazepine (Tegretol) and pregabalin (Lyrica) have that data to support their use for this purpose.


Although most antidepressants do not have a benefit during a benzo taper, some antidepressants like mirtazapine and trazodone can help. They may sometimes be prescribed for low mood and sleep.


Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug that has not shown a benefit in helping relieve symptoms during a benzo taper.


Flumazenil blocks the GABA receptors in the brain to which benzos bind. The drug is not typically recommended for benzo withdrawal because it can worsen withdrawal symptoms like seizures.

Why Benzodiazepines Withdrawal Symptoms Occur

Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of the brain chemical gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA). Normally, GABA is responsible for dampening certain signals sent by the central nervous system (CNS).

Benzos enhance the effects of GABA. To maintain normal functioning, the body develops a tolerance to excess GABA. When benzos are removed from the system, it leads to higher-than-normal GABA levels, which leads to overexcitement of the CNS. Symptoms can include nervousness, anxiety and seizures.

Can Tapering Your Benzodiazepines Intake Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms?

A benzo taper can sometimes rid someone who is recovering of any withdrawal symptoms. This is because tapering allows the central nervous system to slowly adjust to the removal of the drug. It never gets the opportunity to enter a withdrawal phase.

On the other end of the spectrum, quitting cold turkey provides no such safeguard—withdrawals are at their worst, even deadly. For this reason, neither at-home detoxes nor stopping cold turkey are recommended by physicians. These outdated approaches lack support, guidance and safety measures.

Benzodiazepine Tapering Schedule

As a general rule of thumb, physicians and rehabilitation personnel suggest a reduction in benzo use by increments of 10% every week. A less conservative approach can push these numbers into the 25% range if necessary—this approach is usually for patients who’ve tried but did not succeed with a taper before.

Challenges of Cutting Down Your Benzodiazepine Intake

Weaning yourself off a benzodiazepine without medical supervision can be complex. If you accidentally taper too quickly, your doctor can adjust the schedule to ease breakthrough withdrawal symptoms. Also, make sure your doctor is aware of all other medications you are taking so they prepare the best plan for you.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Avoiding benzo withdrawal can help reduce your risk of relapse. By limiting withdrawal symptoms through a medically managed taper, you increase your chances of successfully staying off benzos long-term. However, it is not the only step. Recent studies have shown that combining therapy and other psychological care with tapering or detox is often more successful than tapering by itself.

Medically assisted detox and addiction treatment is your best bet if you are trying to taper your drug or alcohol use. The Recovery Village provides 24-hour detox care and addiction rehab at facilities nationwide, and each care plan can be customized to your exact needs. Don’t risk your life with addiction or recovering alone. Call The Recovery Village today to learn more about medical detox.

How The Recovery Village Uses Klonopin Tapering

Your doctor is an excellent resource when it comes to helping you wean off benzos. They can design a taper schedule to decrease your benzo dose gradually over time. This may even involve prescribing lower doses of the medication(s) so you do not need to cut up higher-dose pills. An addiction treatment facility or specialist can also help with this process if your doctor is not available or you’d like additional treatment or support.

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.