Are you about to go in for major surgery soon? If so, your doctor might have given you a dose of Librium. This is a popular anti-anxiety medication that many people take to ease feelings of stress before a major medical procedure.
Here is a brief guide on everything you need to know about this drug and the medical consequences of its misuse. Information in this article will include a brief history of the drug, the long and short-term effects of Librium on your body, and how it interacts with other drugs.
What Is Librium?
Librium, which is also known as Chlordiazepoxide, is a sedative medication that has a wide range of uses.
It is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders and tremors. In fact, doctors typically prescribe this drug to patients who struggle with anxiety before major surgery.
However, chlordiazepoxide is also useful in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Many people use this drug to ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Librium is part of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which work to slow down the activities that occur in the pathways of the brain.
Low doses of it are used to help patients who either struggle with anxiety disorders or alcohol use disorder and withdrawal. However, this particular benzo can be highly addictive. In fact, misuse of this drug can have adverse effects on a person overall health and well-being.
How Is It Taken?
Librium comes in the form of a capsule. Patients are normally instructed by their doctors to take it on an empty stomach anywhere between one to four times a day.
If you use a prescription, make sure you read the label very carefully and take the drug as instructed to avoid misuse or overdose.
Alternatively, if you think you may have taken too large a dose, you should contact poison control immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Who Takes It?
Doctors typically prescribe Librium for anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders. They may also write a one-time prescription for patients who are nervous about a scheduled major surgery.
There have also been cases where doctors have prescribed this drug to patients struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Sedative benzos like chlordiazepoxide are well-suited for treating the symptoms of IBS and other gastrointestinal issues.
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A Brief History of Librium
Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine ever to be synthesized and it was entirely by accident.
In 1957, technician Beryl Kappell discovered that the chlordiazepoxide compound had all the characteristics of an anti-anxiety agent, a soporific (or hypnotic), a sedative, and a muscle relaxant. No pharmaceutical compound had ever had such a wide range of properties before.
Chlordiazepoxide was patented the following year, and soon after, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for medical use. It was then marketed and sold as an anti-anxiety medication under the brand name “Librium.”
By 1960, the drug became so popular that 2,000 physicians recommended it and over 20,000 patients had already used it.
The drug now comes in the form of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg capsules. It also comes in powder form that can be either inhaled through the nose or mixed in water, but these routes of administration are not recommended.
It also has a half-life of 10 to 30 hours, so it takes a while for the effects to kick in.
Consequences of Librium Misuse
Although Librium is a useful medication, it isn’t without its side effects. Like any drug, users may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it suddenly. There are also long-term health consequences that come with prolonged use or misuse.
Effects on the Mind and Body
As with any prescription medication, taking this drug can bring about a few side effects, all of which range from mild to severe and uncomfortable.
It’s important to remember that, like any benzodiazepine, this drug carries a high potential for misuse and, subsequently, addiction.
Even users who have legitimate prescriptions can develop an addiction to the drug. For instance, some prescription carriers may start abusing their medication by upping their dosage to feel more of the desired effects (anti-anxiety, sedation, etc.).
Those with prescriptions who also have a history of mental health conditions (anxiety, depression, eytc.) are typically at a greater risk of developing a dependence on Librium.
Some of the more minor side effects of Librium include:
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
- upset stomach
- frequent urination
- changes in appetite
- changes in sex drive
- tiredness or weakness
More serious side effects may occur, but there is a significantly low risk. Still, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- skin rash
- irregular heartbeat
- difficulty with motor skills
- swelling of the lips, mouth, or tongue
- problems with breathing or swallowing
It’s important to note that these are normal but rare side effects of regular Librium use. Abusing the drug may result in more serious and longer lasting side effects.
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Short-Term Health Effects
There are some effects you may notice for a short while when you take the drug. These are short-term effects, which usually go away after the body gets used to the presence of the drug.
These effects typically include mood swings and fatigue. However, when addiction is forming, users may experience short-term withdrawal symptoms like:
- rapid heart rate
Long-Term Health Effects
This drug, helpful as it may be, is intended for short-term use. In other words, taking this medication for longer than medically necessary can lead to a variety of health complications, including the development of addiction.
Some long-term effects of Librium abuse can include:
- memory loss
- mood swings
- slowed breathing
- muscle weakness
- low blood pressure
- trouble concentrating
- gastrointestinal issues
- coordination problems
- suicidal thoughts or actions
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Using Librium With Other Drugs
Most medical professionals advise against combining benzos with other drugs. In fact, using certain benzos with sleeping pills, anti-anxiety agents, muscle relaxants, sedatives, birth control, or even certain vitamins can produce adverse effects. This includes Librium.
Before you start a Librium prescription, be sure to tell your doctor about any other prescription and non-prescription drugs you’re taking.
You should also let your doctor know if you use any tobacco products. Tobacco can exacerbate certain side effects, like drowsiness and blurred vision.
Combining Librium with alcohol or illicit drugs is also dangerous. Doing this can increase the risk of overdose, the symptoms of which include:
- slow reflexes
- extremely low blood pressure
- reduced motor skills and coordination
Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Librium?
Some users may use Librium to enhance the effects of other drugs. For example, someone with a sedative abuse problem may pair it with other anti-anxiety medications like Xanax.
In fact, most people who abuse Librium typically combine it with alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), or clonazepam (Klonopin).