Chlordiazepoxide, sold under the brand name Librium, is a benzodiazepine drug prescribed for short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, insomnia, and agitation related to acute alcohol withdrawal.
Like other benzodiazepine drugs, Librium has the potential to be abused. And, if taken in higher doses than prescribed or used with other substances, it may cause dangerous and potentially fatal overdose symptoms.
Understanding Chlordiazepoxide Overdose
As a benzodiazepine, Librium works by interacting with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, increasing its effects and promoting a general slow-down across the central nervous system.
While these depressant effects of Librium are helpful for managing agitation, anxiety, panic attacks, or seizures over short periods of time, they can become dangerous when the drug is taken in excess.
Therefore, a Librium overdose is considered to be any overly large dose of Librium that causes harmful or toxic effects. These may range from uncomfortable physical or mental changes to life-threatening medical emergencies.
Physical Librium Overdose Signs & Symptoms
Physical symptoms of a Librium overdose can include:
- abdominal pain or cramping
- gasping or gurgling
- slow or shallow breathing
- difficulty urinating
- double or blurred vision
- rapid side-to-side eye movements
- rapid, irregular, or weak heartbeats
- slow heart rate
- low blood pressure
- low body temperature
- blue color in lips or fingertips
Mental/Behavioral Librium Overdose Signs & Symptoms
Mental or behavioral signs of a Librium overdose can include:
- unusual drowsiness
- mood changes or depression
- loss of balance or coordination
- memory loss
- seizures or tremors
- loss of consciousness
Risk Factors For Librium Overdose
There are certain risk factors that increase a person’s risk of experiencing overdose effects when using or misusing Librium.
- taking Librium that was not prescribed to you
- being 65+ years old, as older adults are generally less able to
- metabolize drugs and clear them from the body
- having poor liver or kidney function
- experiencing a change in tolerance to the drug, which can occur after
- a relapse or other period of discontinuation
- being in poor overall health
- developing a Librium addiction
Librium Drug Interactions
While benzodiazepine overdoses are dangerous, they are rarely fatal on their own. However, Librium and other benzodiazepines are known to intensify the effects (including the euphoric effects) of other CNS depressant substances, often with dangerous or deadly results.
Examples of CNS depressant substances that should not be taken with Librium, even at therapeutic doses, include:
Treatment For Librium Overdose
Once medical help arrives and takes over, they will evaluate the victim and their vital signs including temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and breathing.
Treatment will likely focus on the symptoms of the overdose, with interventions potentially including:
- blood or urine testing
- oxygen supply
- intravenous fluids
- chest x-rays
- electrocardiogram (ECG)
- life-support measures
In addition, healthcare providers may use the medication flumazenil,benzodiazepine antagonist that can completely or partially reverse the effects of benzodiazepine medications.
However, flumazenil is only used with caution, as it can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms in those who are dependent on benzodiazepine drugs.
Librium Overdose Outlook
With proper and timely care, those who experience a Librium overdose are likely to make a full recovery.
However, if the overdose results in aplastic anemia (reduced red blood cell production in the bone marrow), respiratory depression, or seizures, some effects from the overdose may be permanent, leading to lasting medical conditions or disability.
Treatment For Librium Addiction
Because drug overdoses are so closely tied to substance abuse and drug addiction/substance use disorder, one of the best ways to avoid drug overdose is to seek an effective, professional addiction treatment program.
Treatment for a benzodiazepine use disorder typically begins with tapering, a form of detox that slowly reduces a participant’s daily dosage to avoid severe or dangerous withdrawal effects.
Common Librium withdrawal symptoms that may occur during this process include:
- increased heart rate
- elevated blood pressure
- loss of appetite
- sleep difficulties
Once detox is completed, treatment options for benzodiazepine addiction recovery may include inpatient or outpatient treatment, counseling, behavioral therapy, antidepressant medications, peer support groups, and aftercare support.
If you or a loved one struggle with prescription drug abuse, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — LIBRIUM (CHLORDIAZEPOXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE) Label
- The Mental Health Clinician — Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Benzodiazepines and Opioids
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Chlordiazepoxide
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.