Chlordiazepoxide Treatment and Rehab

If you are struggling with an anxiety disorder or are in treatment for alcohol addiction, you may be prescribed a drug known as chlordiazepoxide. This drug, however, is a dangerous substance if not managed properly by a medical person. Chlordiazepoxide addiction is a possibility, but even abuse can lead to serious health risks.

We are hoping you will read about the symptoms and look for help right away if you encounter any of them within yourself or a loved one.

What Is Chlordiazepoxide?

Chlordiazepoxide belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs and is used for the treatment of many different conditions. As well as being utilised as a medication to treat anxiety disorder, it is also used in the treatment of drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome. As it is a sedative drug, chlordiazepoxide may also be used to treat insomnia.

Although often prescribed for the management of anxiety disorders, chlordiazepoxide might also be employed to treat short-term symptoms of anxiety. It is often prescribed to patients before a surgical procedure, for example.

When used in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, chlordiazepoxide can help to relieve the symptoms that are likely to occur during the process. While undergoing an alcohol detox, for example, you may be given this medication in tapering doses to minimise the occurrence of the most severe symptoms.

Different Names for Chlordiazepoxide

  • Librium
  • Libritabs
  • Mitran
  • Poxi
  • Angirex
  • Helogaphen
  • Risolid
  • Silibrin
  • Multum
  • Radepur
  • Tropium
  • Sonimen
  • Klopoxid
  • Elenium

Is Chlordiazepoxide Addictive?

Regular use of chlordiazepoxide can lead to an increased tolerance and eventual physical dependence. As with many other prescription medications, the potential for abuse is high with chlordiazepoxide. Lots of people take the drug for recreational purposes and many have built up a tolerance to the drug and start abusing it to achieve the desired effects.

If you use chlordiazepoxide for legitimate medical reasons, you may quickly start abusing it without even realising what you are doing. You could begin taking it more frequently or at a higher dose than advised to by your doctor because you may not believe the drug to be harmful.

What Substance Abuse/Addictions is Chlordiazepoxide Used to Treat?

History of Chlordiazepoxide

With a need to replace the highly addictive barbiturates, scientists in the 1950s were on a mission to create a drug that could have a sedative effect but with fewer side effects.

Chlordiazepoxide was discovered and synthesised by Dr Leo Sternbach at Hoffmann La Roche laboratories in 1957. He had created a compound years earlier while working on a class of dyes. It was only when he ordered tests on this compound that he discovered it had an anxiolytic, hypnotic, and muscle relaxant effect. Dr Sternbach immediately recognised the clinical potential of this compound and it became known as chlordiazepoxide.

It was patented in 1958, and in 1960 was marketed under the brand name Librium. It soon became the tranquilising drug of choice with most physicians because it effectively treated conditions such as anxiety without loss of mental clarity or alertness.

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What Is the Mechanism of Action?

The exact mechanism of action of chlordiazepoxide is not known, but it is thought that it works by increasing the inhibitory effects of the GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for inhibiting brain activity. Too much brain activity is said to increase the risk of conditions such as anxiety disorder.

Chlordiazepoxide also depresses the central nervous system, therefore relieving many of the symptoms of alcohol and drug withdrawal.

How Long Does It Take for Chlordiazepoxide to Work?

Chlordiazepoxide takes several hours before peak blood levels are reached. However, the anti-anxiety effects usually begin to take effect within one to two hours and typically last for around 6 hours.

Dosage is usually dependent on age, overall medical health, and individual response to treatment.

Does Chlordiazepoxide Have Any Dangerous Drug Interactions?

Chlordiazepoxide is known to interact with 885 different drugs. A major interaction can be expected with 133 of these, while 652 are known to cause a moderate interaction. A further 100 drugs will have a mild interaction with chlordiazepoxide.

The side effects of chlordiazepoxide can be exacerbated if the medication is mixed with alcohol. You may experience drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired judgement. Alcohol should, therefore, be avoided when taking chlordiazepoxide.

There may be an increased risk of problems when taking this drug while suffering the following health conditions:

  • Drug dependence
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Paradoxical reactions
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Acute alcohol intoxication
  • Porphyria
  • Prolonged hypotension
  • Respiratory depression
  • Obesity

Should Any Precautions Be Taken?

It is important to inform your doctor of any medication you are taking due to the risk of the above-mentioned drug interactions. This includes over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin supplements.

Your doctor will need to make sure that it is safe for you to take chlordiazepoxide. As such, it is important to inform him or her if you have, or have ever had, any of the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Severe sleep apnoea
  • Acute alcohol intoxication
  • Severe hypoventilation
  • Ataxia
  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Kidney disease
  • Myasthenia gravis

There is a risk of harm to unborn babies of pregnant women using chlordiazepoxide. As well as the danger of birth defects, babies can be born with a dependence on the drug. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, please inform your doctor immediately. It is recommended that you use an effective birth control method while taking chlordiazepoxide.
It is not known if this medication passes to breast milk, so it is advised that nursing mothers avoid this medication while breastfeeding.

What Are the Side Effects of Chlordiazepoxide?

Taking chlordiazepoxide may result in some of the following side effects:

  • Coughing
  • Chills
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of balance
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

While most symptoms will subside when the body adjusts to the medication, it is important to seek medical attention if any symptoms become severe or persist. You should also seek urgent medical attention if you have any signs of an allergic reaction. These include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the throat, face, mouth, lips, or tongue
  • Rash
  • Hives

Can You Just Stop Taking Chlordiazepoxide?

As chlordiazepoxide can cause an increased tolerance and physical dependence, you should not suddenly stop taking it as there is a risk of withdrawal symptoms. It is important to speak to your doctor if you want to stop taking your medication.

It is likely that you will be advised to take reducing doses over the course of a few weeks to reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Facts/Statistics

  • Chlordiazepoxide is designed to be used over a short period of time – typically two to four weeks.
  • There is a high potential for abuse and addiction.
  • The dosage of chlordiazepoxide varies from one person to another and is dependent on several factors, including age and the condition being treated.
  • The typical dosage for the treatment of short-term anxiety is 10 mg, three times per day; this dosage can be increased to 60 to 100 mg if necessary.
  • The typical dosage for the treatment of moderate alcohol withdrawal is 10 to 30 mg four times a day, with dosage to be reduced over a period of between five to seven days.
  • The typical dosage for the treatment of severe alcohol withdrawal is between 10 and 50 mg four times a day, with dosage to be reduced over a period of five to seven days.
  • Maximum dosage is 250 mg per day.
  • Dosage for elderly patients tends to be lower because the sedative effects of the drug often last longer and there is a higher risk of accidental injury due to falls.
  • Chlordiazepoxide is a controlled Class A drug and while it is not illegal to be in possession of it for personal use, it is illegal to possess this drug with the intent to supply.
  • Giving chlordiazepoxide to another person is illegal – this includes giving it to someone you know.
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