Tranxene (clorazepate) is a prescription drug classified as a benzodiazepine. Specifically, Tranxene is known as an anxiolytic, meaning it’s useful for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Tranxene may also be used for symptoms that occur when long-term misusers of alcohol go into recovery, and less commonly, to manage convulsions and seizures. Tranxene isn’t a cure as it only helps mitigate symptoms of certain health conditions. Tranxene, as with other benzodiazepines, affects the GABA receptors in the brain. When Tranxene inhibits GABA receptors, it increases the activity of natural GABA and produces a calming effect on the brain. For someone with anxiety, the typical dose of Tranxene would start at 30 mg a day taken in divided doses. For elderly patients, dosages are generally lower because benzos can have more profound effects on geriatric users. When Tranxene is prescribed to help alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it’s usually given in divided doses over a period of five days and then discontinued.
All benzodiazepines including Tranxene are usually only prescribed as short-term medications. There are a few reasons for this. The first is the risk of incurring a psychological disease, and the second is the potential for physical dependence. Addiction is a mental disease characterized by intense drug cravings and compulsive, out-of-control drug use. Dependence is separate from this. A person doesn’t have to be addicted to be dependent on a substance and vice versa.
Benzodiazepine dependence usually begins when someone has a tolerance for a particular drug. This means that the person taking the substance takes higher and higher doses to get the same effects. This can indicate they’re already dependent or forming a dependence. Even when someone takes low doses as prescribed, Tranxene dependence is possible. Substance dependence is called an adaptive state. The brain and body of the user have become used to the presence of the drug following repeated exposure. When someone is dependent on Tranxene, and they try to stop using it, they will likely experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as their body is cleansed of the substance. The primary risk factor for Tranxene dependence is taking it beyond four weeks and in high doses.
Withdrawal is when the body reacts to the loss of a substance it’s dependent on. Unfortunately, while dependence and addiction are separate from one another, avoiding withdrawal symptoms can be a key reason people continue to use substances. Tranxene withdrawal can include both physical and psychological symptoms. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that have one of the highest risks of dependence associated with their use.
Signs of Tranxene withdrawal can include changes in mood or behavior, sweating, tremors, flu-like symptoms, insomnia and sleep disturbances, anxiety, and in severe cases, hallucinations or seizures. Tranxene withdrawal symptoms are often called rebound side effects. This means the symptoms of withdrawal can be worse than what the substance was originally used to treat. For example, if Tranxene was used for anxiety, an effect of cleansing the body from this substance could be worsening anxiety.
While taking benzos long-term creates the risk of physical dependence in anyone, elderly people seem to be the most at risk for serious complications. When elderly people are dependent on benzodiazepines, and it’s not appropriately treated, they may become confused or have symptoms similar to dementia. Around 10% of elderly patients who are referred to memory clinics have a case induced by drugs, and usually, it’s drugs from the benzodiazepine class.
Benzodiazepines can present some of the most severe and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. This is why a medical detox tends to be the best option, particularly for those who take heavy amounts of benzos or over a long term. Benzo withdrawal symptoms can be long-lasting, especially the psychological symptoms. At a medical detox, patients can be given treatments that will help them stay safe and also make them more comfortable. This is also a time when a team can start planning further addiction treatment for the patient and begin treating any co-occurring mental health disorders. For people who are physically dependent on multiple drugs, such as benzos and opioids, medical detox is especially important. Polysubstance dependence can mean that withdrawal symptoms are more complex and need to be treated independently of one another.
When you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, it can feel overwhelming. The Recovery Village works with patients from around the country from a medical detox all the way through treatment and aftercare planning, to improve their chances of long-term positive recovery. Contact us to learn more.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.