Librium poses a risk for both addiction and dependence. It is a Schedule IV controlled medication, meaning it has a low potential for abuse and addiction.
With any drug that has the potential to be addictive, it can be unsafe to stop using cold turkey, which is why doctors put patients on a Librium taper schedule.
A Librium taper plan is also important if you’re taking the drug to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal lasts three to five days, and a taper helps to slowly reduce withdrawal symptoms during that time.
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What Is a Librium Taper?
Librium is the brand name of the generic prescription drug chlordiazepoxide. It’s prescribed to treat acute anxiety and alcohol withdrawal. Librium is classified as a benzodiazepine, and it impacts the effects of GABA, a natural chemical that controls nerve activity in the brain.
Librium is commonly prescribed for alcohol withdrawal because it helps to manage the more dangerous symptoms like tremor, seizure, hallucination and agitation. When Librium is slowly removed from the body, its effects last long enough to be helpful for withdrawals.
Different treatment centers use different taper protocols. However, an example of a Librium taper is:
- Day 1: 50–100 mg by mouth every 4–6 hours as needed for symptoms
- Day 2: 50–100 mg by mouth every 6–8 hours as needed for symptoms
- Day 3: 50–100 mg by mouth every 12 hours as needed for symptoms
- Day 4: 50–100 mg by mouth at bedtime as needed
Librium should be used at the lowest dose for the shortest time possible, so it is generally used for a maximum of four to five days. It should only be used long enough to manage withdrawal symptoms.
Only take Librium for alcohol withdrawal under the supervision of a trained professional.
Why Is Librium Used For Alcohol Withdrawal?
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be some of the most serious of any substance, and it’s important for someone with an alcohol use disorder to seek care in a medically supervised detox program.
When someone is detoxing from alcohol, a team of doctors and clinicians can prescribe them the right medications to keep them comfortable and safe. Librium is often used for this purpose. When Librium is used for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the person may take up to four doses a day.
Librium has a long half-life of 24–48 hours. This means that half of the drug is eliminated from the body in one to two days. Since it generally takes five half-lives to fully leave the body, Librium is present for 5–10 days.
The long half-life of Librium is the reason it is useful for alcohol withdrawal. It is better at managing symptoms than benzos, which have a shorter half-life.
Related Topic: How To Taper Off Alcohol
Librium Addiction and Dependence
Addiction and dependence are two different things. Dependence is a condition where the person will experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the medication. However, they are not driven to use the drug in a damaging way.
When a person has become physically or psychologically dependent on a drug, their body experiences adverse side effects if they stop taking it. However, being dependent on Librium doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted to it.
If someone is addicted to Librium, their brain pushes them to take the drug again and again, because of the way it activates their reward center. When this happens, it’s considered a psychological disease. Someone who is addicted to Librium will start to make the drug their sole focus, and they will often neglect other responsibilities and relationships. Librium abuse can include taking higher doses of the drug than prescribed or taking it in other ways.
People who are addicted to Librium may also “doctor shop” for prescriptions, or they may lie or hide their use. Physical signs of Librium addiction may include restlessness, confusion and tolerance that develops for the drug.
The likelihood of Librium dependence is high, even when you take it as prescribed. That’s why a Librium taper plan is so important. A Librium taper guided by a medical professional can help mitigate or prevent withdrawal symptoms and will help you stop using the drug. It’s important to realize that even after using Librium for only a few weeks, you may need to wean off it gradually.
Librium is a prescription benzo that treats anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Regardless of the reason you’re prescribed Librium, it’s intended as a short-term treatment. You should speak with your physician about whether or not a Librium taper is the right way to gradually stop using the drug. If you’re struggling with Librium misuse or are concerned about a Librium addiction, contact The Recovery Village for help.