Today is exactly 1 month since my last dose of Olanzapine.
I’ve tried quitting olanzapine several times before, always tapering slowly. In the past when I tried quitting my brain felt like it was always “on”, I experienced episodes of tachycardia and I was extremely sensitive to caffeine. I also couldn’t take hot showers, my body just felt awful and sweaty afterwards and I had this awful feeling I don’t know how to describe, it took like 2-3 hours before I felt normal again. This time quitting I didn’t experience any of this stuff which is a major improvement. I also experienced insomnia every time I tried quitting which I am still experiencing.
I’ve had 3 major withdrawal symptoms this time quitting…Anxiety, Agitation and Insomnia. I never had any of these before I started olanzapine. Well I had a little anxiety but not in this way. The agitation I have been experiencing is absolute torture, just lying in bed all fidgety but very discomforting, hard to explain…
I’m taking 1 medication and 2 supplements and they alleviate all those symptoms
Clonazepam 1.5mg before bed, l-theanine 400-500mg/day (every 3-4 hours) then 200mg before bed, and glycine 3000mg before bed then 1000mg in the morning
This regimen has eliminated my anxiety and agitation and decreased my insomnia. My insomnia is still pretty bad though, last night i tried taking just 1mg of clonazepam and only slept 5 hours.
The thing is, when i was on Zopiclone I also slept 5 hours but usually felt like crap the next day. With clonazepam, even if I only get 5 hours I still feel much better the next day. I think it has to do with the half life of the medications. Zopiclone has a half life of 5 hours so its eliminated from your body quickly. Clonazepam has a half life of 30-50 hours so it sticks around for much longer, so all day long I still have a large amount in my system, so I think that is why I feel better the next day on it. Sometimes with clonazepam I get 7 hours sleep so it is clearly superior to zopiclone.
As for safety, both zopiclone and clonazepam work on the same GABAa receptor in the brain so they both come with dependency issues and withdrawal issues, but after my experience with both I think I will stick with clonazepam. Plus when it comes time to quit there are far more resources on the internet about quitting benzos than there are quitting z-drugs, I’ve read horror stories about both. On top of that medications with longer half lives are easier to quit and clonazepam is clearly superior to zopiclone in this respect, by a large margin.
I just hope one day my brain heals from olanzapine and I am able to sleep naturally like I could before I started taking it. The internet is loaded with people like me. They slept fine initially, started olanzapine, continued to sleep fine, then quit olanzapine and can’t sleep anymore. Do a google search for “Olanzapine withdrawal insomnia”, there are thousands of horror stories on numerous websites and forums. People online have complained that even after a year of quitting they still can’t sleep so I am probably in this for the long haul.
In my experience olanzapine is one nasty drug because it affects 17 receptors in the brain, more than any other antipsychotic, I think I am sensitive to it which explains all the withdrawal symptoms I have experienced. I was also on a very high 40mg dose for over 15 years. I think my brain is going haywire as all those receptors recover and return to a state of normality. and to top it off olanzapine wasn’t even 100% effective. I’m now on Lurasidone and it is clearly superior for me.
But at least I am managing.