Librium has been in use since its approval by the FDA in 1960. It heralded in a new age of tranquilizers, replacing earlier barbiturates. Initially, benzodiazepines were promoted as less addictive and causing less cognitive impairment than its predecessors. Soon after the release of Librium and the offshoots, however, it became increasingly clear that benzodiazepine drugs are also high risk for dependency and addiction, and because of this, the drug is not free of side effects as was originally hoped.
These and other topics, including withdrawal information and other frequently asked questions about Librium are further outlined below.
Librium is used in acute alcohol withdrawal and as a bridge medication for cessation from some other sedatives. It is also used as a pre-surgical sedative to reduce apprehension and fear.
The drug is also prescribed for the short term relief of anxiety and longer term management of anxiety disorders, because of its sedative and hypnotic effects.
The drug is not FDA recommended for children under the age of 6.
The generic drug name for Librium is chlordiazepoxide.
Librium and other benzodiazepines have developed a fairly common presence on the street, possibly due to their usefulness in easing withdrawals from other street drugs, producing a euphoric and relaxation effect. The drug has acquired nicknames such as benzos, heavenly blues, Z bars, goofballs, tranx, sleepers, valley girls, “blue bombs”, and others.
Librium is a potent CNS depressant, producing a calming effect. In clinical trials using monkeys, hostile monkeys were made tame with low doses of Librium, without sedative effects. The drug reportedly reduced aggression and fear in these monkey trials. The same experiment yielded similar results when performed on mice.
If adverse effects do emerge your physician may suggest reducing the dosage. For life-threatening adverse effects, emergency treatment is required, including arranging immediate transport, by ambulance if needed, to the nearest hospital.
Some of the possible side effects include:
As with all benzodiazepines, there may be some extreme withdrawal adverse effects, especially if the drug is abruptly stopped. These are similar to coming off chronic alcohol use or barbiturates, and include:
The FDA recommends not to abruptly stop taking Librium, but to gradually reduce the dosage over a period of time to avoid these harsh adverse effects. (1)
The half life of the drug is anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, which is considered very long for a benzodiazepine.
Librium is a a benzodiazepine, and like all benzos, should not be stopped cold turkey, unless there is sound medical reasoning. An abrupt discontinuation could result in seizure. There may be the possibility that overestimation as a result of a fast or abrupt cessation could damage the n-MDA receptors, and result in a long term experience of protracted withdrawal.
The most reasonable approach to stopping Librium is to do a gentle taper with medical supervision. Sometimes a residential rehabilitation setting can be warranted as Librium tapering can be completed and often painful, especially when poorly handled. The importance of choosing a facility where staff are experienced with Librium withdrawal cannot be overstated.
Withdrawal symptoms can last week to significantly longer. Some patients report protracted withdrawal symptoms lasting even years, especially without proper treatment. Patients reporting protracted withdrawal express feelings of anxiety and other symptoms similar to those of early withdrawal. One predominant theory is that this might be due to damaged receptors. Another suspected etiology we have seen clinically is the ongoing effects of a body burden of neurotoxic poisoning. It is common for these individuals to be misunderstood, and subjected to doubt by family, friends and even medical providers. Unfortunately, they tend to be further pathologized and often disregarded. It is likely that mainstream viewpoints need to shift and take a deeper look at what these damaged people are truly experiencing and offer them hope and guidance, rather than abandonment.
Before starting or stopping any benzodiazepine drug, it is wise to thoroughly research the drug as much as possible so the decision is made based on adequate information.
Below, we have outlined some information for some of the most frequently asked questions about Librium including how it works, drug testing, overdose, side effects, withdrawal effects, and other important topics.
One rather interesting correlation can be seen where certain genetic dispositions fail to be able to clear environmental toxins, particularly neurotoxins. Certain poisons, like various organophosphate pesticides and heavy metals like Mercury, have the ability to bottle up in those who are genetically susceptible and cause neuronal havoc. (6) (7)
Even popular food additives such as MSG and aspartame have been associated with neuronal excitotoxicity. (8)
There are many thousands of these toxic chemicals in our environment that create damage to our central nervous system, including the brain, hormones, organs, reproductive systems, and neurochemistry. Certain practices such as environmental medicine believe that lessening this toxic body burden can help the body and brain find balance. One key component of the Alternative to Meds Center program involves testing for and assisting in the removal of this toxic body burden.
The Alternative to Meds Center is an inpatient treatment center that specializes in withdrawal and recovery from prescription drugs, and to help patients who are seeking improvements to their natural mental health without focusing on labels or relying on prescription drugs.
Benzodiazepines can be particularly problematic for some due to their severe side effects, and the length of time these can persist. We have developed programs to address benzodiazepine dependence in ways which can significantly ease the process, without adding more addictive drugs into the process. Each client’s situation is unique and needs the guidance of an experienced, trusted team of medical staff to develop and implement the exact strategies for the individual.
Witnessing a loved one struggling through such challenges can impose significant and even emotionally painful challenges on to the family. Deciding on inpatient care can ease the situation both for the family members, and for their loved one, allowing them to focus more fully on their recovery.
We have helped thousands of our clients to taper from medications in a safe and comfortable setting. Also, bridging across to the many alternative therapy choices in the center can also reduce discomfort and accelerate healing. We help our clients focus on natural sustainable mental health.
Please contact us for more information on the programs we offer that could provide safe passage through the withdrawal from Librium, and improved health through the comprehensive recovery process.
Dr. Michael Loes is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr. Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he is a well-published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response, and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.