Brand Name: Librium
Generic Name: Chlordiazepoxide
Why is Librium prescribed?
Librium is most frequently prescribed for anxiety disorders. It is often prescribed for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms, withdrawal from acute alcoholism as well as for anxiety and apprehension prior to surgery. This medication belongs to the family of anxiety medications commonly referred to as benzodiazepines.
Important facts related to this drug:
This medication is habit-forming and you can become dependent upon it. You should make sure not to quit taking Librium abruptly as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. You should always be careful not to discontinue this medication or change your dosage without the approval of your physician.
When should Librium not be prescribed?
This drug should not be prescribed if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to this medication or similar tranquilizers. If you’re experiencing everyday stress or anxiety you should probably not take these types of medications. You should always discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
If I am pregnant or breast-feeding what do I need to know?
You should not take Librium if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant as there may be an increased risk of birth defects. This drug may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If the medication is essential to your health, your physician may advise you to discontinue breast-feeding until your treatment with Librium and has finished.
Librium dosage: How do you take this anti-anxiety medication?
You should take Librium exactly as prescribed.
What if I miss my Librium dosage?
You should take your dosage of Librium as soon as you remember. If it is within an hour or so of when you’re scheduled to take your next dose, you should skip the missed dose and get back to your normal schedule as soon as possible. You should never double up on your dosage of Librium.
You should always store your medications away from heat, moisture and light.
Recommended Librium dosages:
Librium Dosages : Adults
Mild or moderate anxiety- The usual dosage of Librium is 5 – 10 mg, three to four times per day.
Severe anxiety– The usual dose is 20 – 25 mg three or four times per day.
Anxiety and apprehension before surgery- On days before surgery, the usual dosage is 5 – 10 mg three or four times per day.
Acute symptoms of alcohol withdrawal- The usual starting Librium dosage is 50 – 100 mg. The physician will usually repeat this dose up to 300 mg per day, until the level of agitation has been adequately controlled.
The doctor may then reduce the dosage as much as possible.
Children- Librium dosage :
The usual Librium dosage for children six years of age or older is 5 mg, anywhere from two to four times per day. Some children may need to take as much as 10 mg two or three times per day. Librium is not usually recommended for children under the age of six.
Dosage for older adults
Your doctor will usually limit or minimize your Librium dosage in order to avoid sedating elderly individuals too much, or otherwise negatively effecting their level of coordination. For senior adults, the usual Librium dosage is 5 mg two to four times per day
Any medication taken in excess of the prescribed dosage may have serious negative effects. If you suspect an overdosage of this medication you should seek medical attention immediately. Some of the symptoms of overdosage include coma, confusion, sleepiness and slow reflexes.
What Librium side effects may possibly be expected?
Specific Librium side effects cannot realistically be anticipated, but if any develop or change in intensity you should contact your doctor immediately. Only your physician can determine if you need to continue taking this medication in spite of your side effects.
Additional Librium side effects may include:
Confusion, constipation, drowsiness, fainting, increased or decreased sex drive, liver problems, lack of muscle coordination, minor menstrual irregularities, nausea, skin rash or eruptions, swelling due to fluid retention, yellow eyes and skin
Side effects of Librium that may be due to rapid decrease or abrupt withdrawal include:
Abdominal muscle cramps, convulsions, exaggerated feeling of depression, sleeplessness, sweating, tremors and vomiting
Special warnings and concerns:
Librium can possibly make you drowsy or less alert, therefore you should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you are well aware of how you are effected by the side effects of Librium. If you are depressed or have a history of depression, you should contact your doctor prior to taking this anxiety medication. Also, this drug may cause children to be less alert as well. If you have a hyperactive or aggressive child taking this medication, you should talk to your physician immediately if you notice negative reactions such as excitement, stimulation or acute rage. Also, you should contact your physician immediately before taking Librium if you’re being treated for porphyria, (a rare metabolic disorder), or liver or kidney disease.
Food and drug interactions possible in addition to Librium side effects:
This medication will intensify or cause an additive effect when taken while drinking alcohol as it is a central nervous system depressant. You should never drink alcohol when taking this drug. If Librium is taken with other medications, the effects of the medications can be increased, decreased or in other ways possibly altered. You should always talk with your physician prior to taking or combining Librium with the following:
• Antacids such as Maalox and Mylanta
• Antidepressant drugs known as MAO inhibitors including Nardil and Parnate
• Antipsychotic medications such as chlorpromazine and trifluoperazine
• Barbiturates such as Phenobarbital
• Blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin
• Cimetidine (Tagamet)
• Disulfiram (Antabuse)
• Levodopa (Larodopa)
• Narcotic pain medicines such as Demerol and Percocet
• Oral contraceptives
Librium side effects should always be noted and reported to your doctor immediately. Never disregard the negative interactions with other medications or any specific Librium side effects.
Some information adapted from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition
Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)
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