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.
Table of Contents
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:
- Anxiety disorders
- 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.
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
- 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.
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.
Bounds, Connor. “Benzodiazepines.” StatPearls, Nov 2020. Accessed November 8, 2021.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Librium Package Insert.” July 2005. Accessed November 8, 2021.
Griffin, Charles, et al. “Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects.” The Ochsner Journal, 2013. Accessed November 8, 2021.
Wick, Jeannette. “The history of benzodiazepines.” The Consultant Pharmacist, September 2013. Accessed November 8, 2021.
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