Article at a Glance

  • The generic name for Librium is chlordiazepoxide.
  • Librium slows down certain brain chemicals and helps with short-term treatment of anxiety.
  • Librium can also be used to help with alcohol withdrawal.
  • Librium can be habit-forming, so follow your doctor’s Librium dosage guide exactly.

What Is Librium?

Librium is a benzodiazepine, or benzo, that’s available by prescription. Benzos are psychoactive medications that are used to treat conditions like insomnia and anxiety.

The first benzodiazepine was developed in 1955, and they have sedative, anti-anxiety, hypnotic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing properties. Benzos like Librium are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S.

In general, benzos like Librium are fairly safe for short-term use, but not for long-term use.

When used as prescribed, benzos can treat a wide variety of health conditions, including:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Spastic disorders
  • Status Epilepticus

Benzos work by inhibiting the brain’s GABA activity, reducing neural activity that can result in anxiety. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that normally dampens other signals.

Long-term  benzo use can result in physical dependence, and this can happen in as little as a few weeks.

Understanding how Librium works, and benzos in general, requires an understanding of anxiety. When you feel anxious, it’s because your brain is overactive. The neural activity is too excited, and you need messages that will tell the cells to slow down. That’s the role of a benzo like Librium.

Other commonly prescribed benzos include Xanax, Valium and Ativan. Benzos are sometimes used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms — Librium is one such choice.

Librium Dosage

Librium is prescribed as a capsule or tablet taken orally. It should be taken anywhere from one to four times daily, depending on your doctor’s instructions.

The Librium dosage you’re prescribed will depend on your unique situation. If you suffer from severe acute anxiety, you may be prescribed a Librium dosage of 5–25 mg two to four times a day.

Librium is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg capsules.

When Librium is used for alcohol withdrawal, the prescribed dose tends to be higher than for other conditions. The usual dosage is 25–100 mg every four to six hours, depending on the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. In this case, the highest dosage is usually given on the first day. Then, on each day forward, the dose is tapered as the person progresses through the stages of alcohol withdrawal.

No matter what your situation, it is critical to only take the amount of Librium that you are prescribed. If a larger dose is taken, the risk of addiction or dependence is higher.

If you develop a substance use disorder while taking Librium, you’re at risk of overdosing. Signs of an overdose can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Mood swings
  • Slurred speech

If someone is prescribed Librium and misses a dose, they’re directed to take it as soon as they remember. If it’s too close to the scheduled time of their next dose, they’re advised to skip it and avoid taking extra Librium to make up for it. A Librium dose should never be doubled up.

It’s also important to understand that you shouldn’t drink alcohol when taking this drug. You should not mix it with other substances like sleeping pills, narcotic pain medicines or muscle relaxants.

Librium Taper

Also relevant to a Librium dosage guide is the concept of a Librium taper. Even when you take Librium exactly as prescribed, the potential for physical dependence exists. If you stop taking Librium cold turkey, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. To avoid this, doctors may advise a Librium taper schedule to reduce these symptoms.

If you are prescribed Librium or any other benzo and are concerned about dependence or developing a substance use disorder, speak with your doctor to create a prescription plan that’s unique to you.

If you’re concerned about yours or a loved one’s Librium misuse, contact The Recovery Village to discuss your needs and treatment options that may work for your situation.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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