Chlordiazepoxide is a generic benzodiazepine drug sold under the brand name Librium.
While Librium is used to treat conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to panic attacks, seizures, and agitation, Librium’s unique properties make it an especially ideal choice for treating severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
Like all benzodiazepines, Librium can be abused in high doses by those trying to get high, and physical dependence can develop if it is used over a prolonged period of time (as little as four weeks) even at therapeutic doses.
Tapering Off Librium
Dependence is a natural consequence of your body coming to tolerate and rely on a drug’s effects over time. Once that drug is removed, your body is thrown out of balance, leading to a period of physical stress and overreaction as your body works to adjust and find a new normal.
Because benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be severe or even, in rare cases, life-threatening, most healthcare providers strongly encourage anyone attempting Librium withdrawal not to go through the process cold turkey.
Instead, patients are advised to taper-down their dosage over time.
While tapering does lengthen the withdrawal process, it also spreads out the symptoms of withdrawal and greatly reduces both their danger and severity.
Librium Tapering Schedule
A drug tapering schedule should always be personalized, and you should expect frequent follow-up appointments and adjustments throughout the process depending on how your body reacts.
Librium tapering often begins with an initial dose reduction of 25%. This new dosage is kept up for 1-2 weeks, before the dose is dropped by 10-25% again.
This repeating cycle of 1-2 weeks at a set dose followed by a 10-25% reduction is maintained until you’re ready to stop taking Librium entirely.
It’s perfectly normal for different people to have very different tapering schedules. Some are able to tolerate a very aggressive, fast-paced discontinuation schedule, while others need a very slow, very gradual rate of adjustment in order to maintain their mental health and avoid serious withdrawal effects.
While each patient is different, special caution should be taken by certain individuals during the tapering process.
These special cases include:
- older adults who do not metabolize Librium as quickly as younger individuals
- those who abused Librium in high doses, who may have developed a
- much greater level of physical dependence even in a short period of time
- those who abused Librium as part of a broader and more complex substance abuse problem, including alcohol abuse, opioid abuse, or stimulant abuse
Librium Tapering Vs. Tapering Off Other Benzodiazepines
Chlordiazepoxide has a moderate half-life of 5-30 hours. However, as Librium is broken down by the body, an even longer-lasting active metabolite is formed, desmethyldiazepam.
This new drug also has anticonvulsant and anxiolytic effects, as well as a remarkably long half-life of 36-200 hours.
This means that it is only fully eliminated from the body after eight days at the very earliest, making it a good option for providing prolonged relief for those experiencing acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Gradual & Less Severe
Because of its extended effect and presence in the body, Librium withdrawal symptoms tend to be more gradual, less-severe, and more drawn-out and extended than withdrawal symptoms generated by shorter-acting benzos drugs.
These properties generally work to a patient’s advantage in tapering programs, to the point that Librium is sometimes substituted for shorter-acting benzodiazepines for patients who struggle with severe dependence and need a more intensive benzodiazepine discontinuation strategy.
Librium Withdrawal Symptoms
Librium works by increasing the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, which calms activity across the central nervous system, relieving both anxiety and physical tension.
When you stop taking Librium after becoming dependent on its effects, you should expect to experience a variety of side-effects and rebound also common to any benzodiazepine withdrawal and, to a lesser degree, to withdrawal from CNS depressants as a whole (alcohol, opioids, barbiturates, etc.)
These withdrawal symptoms may include:
- drug cravings
- excessive sweating
- faster heart rate
- increased anxiety
- increased blood pressure
Tapering & Addiction Treatment
Tapering can be considered part of the detoxification process. And, as with all medical detox services, tapering is only one element of a complete substance abuse and addiction treatment program.
Other common treatment options, which may be offered during the tapering process or after it is completed, include:
- inpatient or outpatient treatment
- individual or group counseling
- behavioral therapies
- peer support programs
- the prescribing of other medications, primarily antidepressants
If you or a loved one struggle with prescription drug abuse or addiction, please consider reaching out to the expert clinicians at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.