Chlordiazepoxide is a benzodiazepine prescription drug that is legal in the United States.
Although chlordiazepoxide began with the brand name Librium, there is a common misconception that Librium is still prescribed. While chlordiazepoxide (the generic name for Librium) is still prescribed, Librium is no longer considered the brand name of chlordiazepoxide.
However, chlordiazepoxide continues to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat anxiety disorders as well as those suffering from alcohol withdrawal.
How Chlordiazepoxide Works
Chlordiazepoxide works by enhancing the effects of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain. The drug also depresses the central nervous system (CNS), causing sedative effects.
This benzodiazepine drug is prescribed short-term for severe anxiety. Long-term use can lead to tolerance, so the drug isn’t recommended to be prescribed for longer than 2-4 weeks.
The sedative effects may be desired, leading to potential drug abuse. Because chlordiazepoxide is considered a schedule IV drug according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it has the potential for abuse.
Side Effects Of Chlordiazepoxide
Those who abuse chlordiazepoxide may experience a number of side effects ranging in severity.
Common Side Effects
Some of the common side effects of chlordiazepoxide include:
- changes in appetite
- dry mouth
Long-Term Side Effects
Depending on the type of drug abuse, the effects of Librium can be more persistent and last long-term.
Some of the more serious side effects can include:
- changes in sex drive
- blurred vision
- difficulty urinating
- physical dependence
- withdrawal symptoms
If you experience withdrawal, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take part in detox, one of the first steps in ending your drug use. Tapering off the drug is expected as those who quit taking their medication “cold turkey” may develop severe withdrawal symptoms.
Dangers Of Chlordiazepoxide Abuse
There are a number of dangers associated with chlordiazepoxide abuse. For instance, there are a variety of ways to administer the drug. Not only can the pill be taken orally, it can be crushed into powder to be snorted or to be combined with water for injection.
Those who snort the drug may experience damage to mucous membranes in the nose, frequent nosebleeds, a chronic runny nose, and even bacterial infections. Injecting the drug can cause collapsed veins or abscesses on the skin.
When chlordiazepoxide is abused in this manner, the sedative and euphoric effects take place rapidly. Both of these routes of administration can cause one to take a larger dose of chlordiazepoxide without realizing it. This can lead to a drug overdose.
Those taking higher doses of chlordiazepoxide increase their risk of developing a chlordiazepoxide overdose. Snorting or injecting the drug may cause one to not realize how much of the drug is in their system.
Some of the symptoms of a chlordiazepoxide overdose include:
- loss of balance
- respiratory depression
- irregular heartbeat
- blood pressure fluctuations
If you suspect an overdose has occurred, seek medical attention immediately.
Combining prescription drugs or illicit drugs can lead to a number of life-threatening health issues.
Those taking chlordiazepoxide should not combine the drug with CNS depressants such as:
- certain antidepressants
- other benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax)
- muscle relaxants
- sleeping pills
In addition to these CNS depressants that should be avoided, those taking Librium should avoid certain supplements and stimulants. Speak with your doctor before taking these drugs as potential adverse effects may occur.
Treatment Options For Prescription Drug Addiction
Prescription drug addiction treatment options take place in inpatient or outpatient recovery settings.
In an inpatient setting, you live at the treatment center for a set period of time. With outpatient care, you commute daily or weekly to receive comprehensive treatment services like behavioral therapy, group therapy, and peer support groups.
To learn about our outpatient rehab programs, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
- Drug Enforcement Administration — List of Controlled Substances
- Food and Drug Administration — FDA-Approved Drugs
- Food and Drug Administration — Librium
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Chlordiazepoxide
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Chlordiazepoxide Overdose
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Chlordiazepoxide
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.