Librium (chlordiazepoxide HCL) capsules are a medication prescribed for the treatment of anxiety. Librium belongs to the classification of drugs called benzodiazepines or simply benzos. These medications work on receptors in the central nervous system to increase the amount of GABA in the body, which acts as an anxiety reliever, anti-convulsant, muscle relaxant and sedative.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration classifies Librium as a Schedule IV drug. This means the drug has a medical purpose and does not have the same potential for addiction as other Schedule II or III drugs, such as morphine and ketamine, respectively. However, the drug still has addictive properties, especially for those who have used it long-term.

Librium was first discovered in the 1950s, just as thousands of drugs in the benzodiazepine category were. Dr. Leo Sternbach discovered Librium as the first benzodiazepine, and the FDA officially approved it in 1960. The drug was first tested on animals in zoos, where it was found to make animals tamer and less hostile. By 1962, thousands of Americans were taking the drug, including then-President John F. Kennedy.

Intended Usage

Doctors prescribe Librium to those who experience significant levels of anxiety. The medication is also used in substance treatment facilities to reduce the short-term affects of alcohol abuse withdrawals.

Librium is prescribed in capsules that are 5, 10 or 25 milligrams.

Side Effects

Side effects that can occur when taking Librium include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

On rare occasions, a person can experience serious side effects when taking Librium, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itching/swelling
  • Rash
  • Severe dizziness

More serious side effects associated with taking laudanum can include respiratory depression (very slow breathing, almost to the point of not breathing). The medicine can also be addictive.

Abuse and Addiction

Librium is intended for short-term use to relieve anxiety. Those taking it long-term are more likely to experience addiction to the drug. Examples of addiction signs include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Lack of interest in activities a person once enjoyed
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Social phobias, including a fear of going out in public

A person can begin to experience a Librium tolerance in as little as three weeks after taking the medication.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person has a history of Librium abuse and suddenly stops taking the medicine, seizures can result. If a person does have an addiction to the medication, he or she may need to slowly taper the dosages under the supervision of a medical professional to prevent adverse effects.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with taking Librium include:

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle spasms
  • Psychosis
  • Stomach upset
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors

An estimated 10 percent of patients will experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms associated with taking Librium. This is known as “benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.”

Treatment for Librium Addiction

Because Librium withdrawals have the potential to cause severe symptoms in those who have been taking the drug for some time, a person may more successfully quit the drug in a rehabilitation center or medical facility. There, the person can receive support and assurances that these symptoms are part of the withdrawal symptoms and that a person should not give up. While there are few medications currently recommended to give during the Librium withdrawal period to minimize adverse symptoms, sleep aids such as melatonin may help a person sleep better. Select anti-seizure medications may be given if a person is experiencing severe symptoms.

For more information on Librium abuse or if you think a loved one is suffering from Librium addiction, please call our drug treatment center at 877-855-3470.