Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) for Anxiety

Tidbits When Getting Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) for Anxiety

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) for Anxiety

Are you feeling anxious, tense and worried? You are not the only one experiencing these uncomfortable feelings. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental conditions in the U.S. One of the subtypes, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, affects 3.1% of the population, about 6.8 million adults annually. Though almost everyone suffers some symptoms of an anxiety disorder when undergoing stressful situations like job loss or a relationship’s end, these clear up over a short period. However, in those with anxiety disorders, the symptoms are triggered by no obvious external cause or even daily activities.

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Owing to the catastrophic effect of an anxiety disorder on a person’s quality of life, different studies have been conducted to get the best approach for managing it. Currently, medications that ease the symptoms of the disorder have helped many patients to lead successful and fulfilled lives. While some are short-term treatments for anxiety [1*] , others are prescribed for an extended period.

Managing Anxiety With Medication

The two leading medication classes used for managing anxiety are benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Antidepressants change a patient’s brain chemistry to improve his/her mood. They are effective because most people with an anxiety disorder struggle with depression. Most patients battling with anxiety disorders swear by the positive changes they experience with benzodiazepines like Chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

If your doctor has just prescribed Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) to you, here is some information to help you know what to expect.

How Will Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) Work for Anxiety?

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), like all benzodiazepines, affects the brain’s GABA {gamma-aminobutyric acid} receptors. Its effect on this crucial amino acid working as a neurotransmitter causes the slowing down of the central nervous system. This induces relaxation, a crucial effect, because anxiety disorders result from the brain’s hyperactivity.

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) acts fairly quickly and will relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders within a short time. Due to its rapid onset of action, this drug can also be used for the treatment of insomnia This is because a lack of sleep worsens anxiety, and anxiety might also interfere with sleep. Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is also commonly used to manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of Chlordiazepoxide Overdose

5 Symptoms of Chlordiazepoxide Overdose Include

One of the main questions that people have concerning the use of chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is whether it is a good choice for managing panic attacks. Yes, it is an ideal choice for the management of panic attacks for the first 1-2 months of treatment. After this period, doctors often use other approaches, like psychotherapy, as the main means of treatment for panic attacks.

After taking chlordiazepoxide (Librium), you will feel relaxed and drowsy owing to the drug’s calming effect. The drug’s effects start within 20-60 minutes after taking it though the time of onset of action depends on your age, severity of anxiety and body mass.

What Is the Typical Dose of Chlordiazepoxide (librium) for Anxiety Disorders?

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is available in capsules containing 25, 10 and 5 mg of chlordiazepoxide HCL. When used to manage anxiety disorders, the doctor will often start your Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) dosage at 5-10 mg 3-4 times daily. This dose is enough for those battling mild or moderate anxiety. For those with severe anxiety, the dose is increased to 20-25 mg 3-4 times daily.

In elderly patients with anxiety, chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is prescribed in a low starting dose of 5 mg 2-4 times daily. The low dosage of the drug in elderly patients is because of the prolonged sedation that it causes in these patients. This sedation might increase the risk of fractures and falls in these patients.

Get to know the correct dose of your medicine for anxiety by booking an appointment with our mental health expert.

In kids with anxiety disorders, doctors start the dosage of Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) at 5 mg 2-4 times daily. This might be increased until the desired effect in your child is achieved. The maximum dose of the drug is typically 10 mg twice or thrice daily. Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is not recommended for kids below six years.

Chlordiazepoxide Side Effects

Even with the right dosage and frequency, you might still suffer a few side effects when taking Chlordiazepoxide (Librium).

Some of the common ones include:

  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Constipation
  • Swelling
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Skin rash
  • Blurred vision

The above Librium side effects are thankfully transient and resolve without medical intervention as your body adapts to the drug.

You should consult a doctor if you experience any of the side effects below: 

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperactivity
  • Trouble walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Jaundice, i.e. yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Changes in your sex drive
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal ideations

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) Interactions

Librium might interact with other drugs and cause their toxicity or reduce their efficacy. As such, always tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is metabolized in the liver by a group of enzymes. Any drugs that inhibit the working of these enzymes will reduce the breakdown of Librium and cause too much of the drug to remain circulating in your body.

Some of the common inhibitors of this liver enzyme include:

  • Fluconazole
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Cimetidine
  • Miconazole
  • Clarithromycin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Voriconazole
  • Some types of ARVs for HIV
  • Amiodarone

On the other hand, any drugs that increase the activity of the liver enzymes that metabolize chlordiazepoxide (Librium) cause a decrease of the drug and lower its efficacy.

Here are some of the drugs that increase the breakdown of liver enzymes:

  • Carbamazepine
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampin

Remember to avoid the intake of alcohol when on medication because a Librium and alcohol combination can cause serious drug side effects.


Chlordiazepoxide Treats These Conditions

Instances When You Should Not Take Librium or Take It Cautiously

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is unsuitable when you are suffering from certain conditions.

As such, you should let the doctor know if you:

  • Are breastfeeding or pregnant
  • Have breathing issues like sleep apnea
  • Have been diagnosed with a mental health issue like psychosis, personality disorders, phobias and obsessive conditions.
  • Have muscle weakness
  • Have liver conditions.
  • Have problems with coordination or balance that affect your walking ability.

Librium Vs. Xanax

Some people with anxiety disorders assume that Xanax (Alprazolam) is as good as Librium for the management of their symptoms. They thus would rather have the cheaper and more readily available of the two for their treatment. Though both Xanax and chlordiazepoxide (Librium) are benzodiazepines, they are different.

While Librium is mostly used for managing anxiety disorders, Xanax is primarily approved by the FDA for panic attacks. Additionally, chlordiazepoxide (Librium) takes a long time to act, Xanax is a short-acting drug that reaches peak blood concentrations in 1-2 hours. Moreover, Xanax takes about 1 hour to clear from the body while Librium takes 24-48 hours.

Owing to these differences, Xanax and Librium are not used interchangeably.

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) Withdrawal and Dependence

You might become dependent on Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) if you use it for a long time or in high doses. When a person who is dependent on this benzodiazepine reduces his/her dose or suddenly stops taking it, this leads to withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Agitation
  • Muscle spasms

In severe cases, this can escalate to a Librium addiction.

Let our mental health experts guide you about the appropriate medication for anxiety, along with its withdrawal symptoms by clicking the button below.

Owing to the potential for addiction and abuse, chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is only prescribed by a licensed doctor or mental health specialist. He/ she will closely monitor your response to the drug and tweak the dose appropriately to help you manage your symptoms without getting addicted to it.

Before getting a prescription for chlordiazepoxide (Librium), you will schedule a consultation with a certified mental health specialist who will consider your symptoms.

Consider getting the consultation and prescription online or in person from EZCare Clinic. Here, you will access leading specialists well-versed in managing anxiety disorder using chlordiazepoxide (Librium) and other approaches. Book your appointment


+1 sources
  1. Treatment of anxiety disorders. (2017)
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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.