Chlordiazepoxide, also known as Chlordiazepoxide Hydrochloride and commonly known by its trade name Librium, is a sedative and hypnotic benzodiazepine medication most commonly used for treating alcohol withdrawal, anxiety and insomnia. For those with an alcohol addiction, Chlordiazepoxide can be an effective treatment for long-term recovery.

Most commonly packaged in 5mg and 10mg tablets, the drug is used for alcohol withdrawal specifically because it has a long half-life, a late-onset, and less potential for abuse than Diazepam. This means it allows for self-tapering and provides reduced risk of both relapse and trading alcohol dependency for dependency on benzodiazepines.

Chlordiazepoxide for Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal medication

The medication is highly effective for treating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal due to it’s skeletal muscle relaxant, sedative and anticonvulsant properties, which help to combat many of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms from the shakes, agitation, insomnia and convulsions to more serious symptoms like seizures. Despite this effectiveness, the exact mechanism of action is unknown.

Chlordiazepoxide Dosage

Patients are initially given between 20mg and 40mg doses, with careful monitoring necessary to prevent oversedation or doses that are too small to combat the withdrawal symptoms.

Once the first 24-48 hours of the alcohol detoxification are complete, a fixed but smaller dose can be regularly given, leading to a steady ratio of chlordiazepoxide in the blood. Once this is achieved, the Chlordiazepoxide dose should be further reduced in order to prevent addiction or dependency on the drug.

A wide variety of factors have to be taken into account when planning this dosage, such as the patient’s weight, size, liver health, other medications etc, but a typical dosage regime for alcohol withdrawal may well look like this:

Day 140mg 4 times a day
Day 230mg 4 times a day
Day 320mg 4 times a day
Day 420mg 3 times a day
Day 510mg 4 times a day
Day 610mg twice per day

Chlordiazepoxide on the NHS is rare as lack of funding has meant there are very few NHS rehab centres left, but in private clinics the drug is extremely common and a huge part of the recovery process.

Chlordiazepoxide Side Effects

Serious side effects are uncommon with the use of Chlordiazepoxide for alcohol detox, but some milder ones are fairly common. Common/mild side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness and tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

These are mostly nothing to worry about and will cease as soon as the treatment does, but these less common side effects are much more serious and you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience them:

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Jaundice

Chlordiazepoxide Overdose

The dosages mentioned above are strict, and Chlordiazepoxide can be poisonous in larger amounts. An overdose can cause symptoms including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Double vision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Abdominal pain

Please seek immediate emergency medical assistance if any of these symptoms are experienced.

Alcohol Withdrawal & Serenity Centres

Serenity Centres run the most numerous and most highly-regarded range of rehabilitation centres throughout the UK. Our friendly, experienced staff are reading to help you overcome your withdrawal symptoms and win back your freedom, and they are able to prescribe Chlordiazepoxide along with many other medications, treatments, therapy and nutrition in order to make your recovery go as smoothly and comfortable as possible.

To see how we can help, why not contact us now and get some free, no-obligation advice from our alcohol withdrawal team?

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