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URGENT HELP - 84 yo abrupt withdrawal of Ativan
  1. #1
    Atiban is offline New Member
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    Sep 2017
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    Exclamation URGENT HELP - 84 yo abrupt withdrawal of Ativan

    Hello,

    My 84 year old mum was on 2mg Ativan every alternate day for several years (since 2013) for anxiety related problems.

    In 2016-17 she used to take additional 1-2mg Ativan for severe lower back pain attacks whenever required and pain killers prescribed by the doctor (Tramadol 37.5mg, 3 times a day)

    So in Mar 2017 it was 2 mg every day for almost a month. She has an old healed fracture in her spine due to Osteoporosis, 2 year old MRI showed no new fractures. Pain completely stops with Ativan.


    Once the pain was under control she reduced the dosage back to 2mg alternate days. But then she started having the same pain attacks again, so resumed Ativan to daily. This time however she took only 1 mg at a time. The dosage was never more than 2 mg a day.

    In June 2017 she completely stopped taking Ativan when she realised that the 2 mg was not as effective with the pain and started taking 5mg Valium daily instead. She was relatively pain free for an entire month in July - not much pain/no apparent withdrawal symptoms. BUT then in August, the pain from hell began.

    2013 - 2016 - 2 mg on alternate days
    2016 - episodes of pain attacks, sometime took 2 mg every day. (for around 2-3 months in the year)
    2017 - (2mg daily for about a month in Jan and Apr); Completely stopped Ativan in June. Was fine in July.

    August 2017 - severe pain DAILY.

    The pain attacks have worsened and she was writhing in agony last night. She is fine this morning. The attack comes from nowhere and is very sudden and intense.

    Questions:

    Can she have withdrawal symptoms a month AFTER stopping Ativan? That is she stopped taking in June but began experiencing the daily severe pain only in August?

    How long can we expect such pain attacks?

    We have an appointment with the pain specialist at the end of this month to make sure there are no other underlying causes of pain e.g. new fractures). But the pain appears to be under control with 10mg valium, So May be continue with the dosage of Valium 10 mg whenever she has an attack, but never going back to Ativan?

    Thanks for reading and grateful for any advice.

  2. #2
    Ricky71 is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atiban View Post
    Hello,

    My 84 year old mum was on 2mg Ativan every alternate day for several years (since 2013) for anxiety related problems.

    In 2016-17 she used to take additional 1-2mg Ativan for severe lower back pain attacks whenever required and pain killers prescribed by the doctor (Tramadol 37.5mg, 3 times a day)

    So in Mar 2017 it was 2 mg every day for almost a month. She has an old healed fracture in her spine due to Osteoporosis, 2 year old MRI showed no new fractures. Pain completely stops with Ativan.


    Once the pain was under control she reduced the dosage back to 2mg alternate days. But then she started having the same pain attacks again, so resumed Ativan to daily. This time however she took only 1 mg at a time. The dosage was never more than 2 mg a day.

    In June 2017 she completely stopped taking Ativan when she realised that the 2 mg was not as effective with the pain and started taking 5mg Valium daily instead. She was relatively pain free for an entire month in July - not much pain/no apparent withdrawal symptoms. BUT then in August, the pain from hell began.

    2013 - 2016 - 2 mg on alternate days
    2016 - episodes of pain attacks, sometime took 2 mg every day. (for around 2-3 months in the year)
    2017 - (2mg daily for about a month in Jan and Apr); Completely stopped Ativan in June. Was fine in July.

    August 2017 - severe pain DAILY.

    The pain attacks have worsened and she was writhing in agony last night. She is fine this morning. The attack comes from nowhere and is very sudden and intense.

    Questions:

    Can she have withdrawal symptoms a month AFTER stopping Ativan? That is she stopped taking in June but began experiencing the daily severe pain only in August?

    How long can we expect such pain attacks?

    We have an appointment with the pain specialist at the end of this month to make sure there are no other underlying causes of pain e.g. new fractures). But the pain appears to be under control with 10mg valium, So May be continue with the dosage of Valium 10 mg whenever she has an attack, but never going back to Ativan?

    Thanks for reading and grateful for any advice.
    Welcome to the forum. There wouldn't be any withdrawal symptoms starting a month after stopping the Ativan. The switching of benzos from Ativan to Valium would keep the Ativan withdrawals away. By the way, it is dangerous to quit benzos cold turkey, a very slow taper is needed to get off of benzos safely.

    Ativan is a fast acting benzo (begins to work very quickly after dosing) with a very short half-life (up to 18 hours), Valium is a slow acting benzo (it doesn't kick in fast after dosing, it's a slow release) with a very long half-life (up to 50 hours)!

    I'm a bit confused about some of the info in your post? You said "pain attacks", do you mean panic attacks?

    Benzos have never done anything for me in the way of pain control! In my experience, benzos are not prescribed for pain control, at least not here in the states. Lastly, in my experience and opinion even though it's prescribed for pain tramadol is not that great/effective for pain relief/control. Update when you can? Take care... God bless us all!
    Lvg nghtmare likes this.

  3. #3
    Catrina is offline Diamond Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    5,142

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    Welcome!

    Ricky is our Forum Authority on Benzos so I'd pay close attention to his advice and insight. As I read your post, your Mom is taking benzos for pain control. That is really weird to me too but I don't have experience with it.

    I currently have a back fracture too so I can relate to what your Mom is feeling. It's horrendous! Worst pain I have ever had. I sure hope she gets some help with that soon.

    Peace,

    Cat
    Lvg nghtmare likes this.

  4. #4
    Atiban is offline New Member
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    Sep 2017
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    Thank you all for your replies, really appreciate your time and support.

    Mum suffered from anxiety/panic attacks and was prescribed 1mg Ativan to be taken whenever it was very bad, no more than 2 mg a day. She also had crippling pain in her spine (old fracture) from time to time and found that ativan worked wonderfully for the pain. So when she had no anxiety/panic attacks, she did take Ativan whenever she had very severe/unbearable pain in her spine (lower back). When we noticed that she was getting dependant on Ativan and also starting to develop a tolerance (i.e. no longer a effective) she decided to slowly start reducing from 2 mg to 1 mg a day and then to 0, but replaced it with 5-10 mg Valium.

    She saw the pain specialist yesterday. Did a complete MRI, and thankfully no fractures, Osteoporosis is under control. They have upped the dosage of Tramadol for the pain and restarted Ativan, but with a schedule to gradually taper it off. So hoping for the best.


    Thanks again for your support.

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