Chlordiazepoxide

Chlordiazepoxide treats anxiety. It can cause drowsiness. Do not suddenly stop taking chlordiazepoxide without talking to your doctor because you may experience harmful withdrawal symptoms.

Chlordiazepoxide Overview

Reviewed: July 30, 2013
Updated: 

Chlordiazepoxide is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders, symptoms of anxiety, and withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism. Chlordiazepoxide is also used to treat anxiety prior to surgery. Chlordiazepoxide belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines, which work by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken up to 4 times a day, with or without food.

Common side effects of chlordiazepoxide include loss of coordination, confusion, and drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how chlordiazepoxide affects you.

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Chlordiazepoxide Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Chlordiazepoxide

Chlordiazepoxide is a prescription medication used to treat:

  • anxiety disorders
  • symptoms of anxiety
  • anxiety prior to surgery
  • withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Chlordiazepoxide Brand Names

Chlordiazepoxide may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Chlordiazepoxide Drug Class

Chlordiazepoxide is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Chlordiazepoxide

Common side effects of chlordiazepoxide include the following:

  • loss of coordination
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • bumps on the skin
  • swelling
  • nausea
  • constipation

This is not a complete list of chlordiazepoxide side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Serious side effects have been reported with chlordiazepoxide. See the “Drug Precautions” section.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Chlordiazepoxide Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

This is not a complete list of chlordiazepoxide drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Chlordiazepoxide Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with chlordiazepoxide including the following:

  • paradoxical reactions. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of a paradoxical reaction:
    • excitement
    • increased stimulation
    • sudden feelings of rage
  • behavioral changes. All patients being treated with chlordiazepoxide should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment and when increasing or decreasing the dose. Consider changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients who show symptoms of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania, mania, or suicidality that are severe, or abrupt in onset. Families and caregivers of patients should be alerted about the need to monitor patients daily. In addition,
    • pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant medicine is started or when the dose is changed.
    • call the healthcare provider right away to report new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
    • keep all follow-up visits with the healthcare provider as scheduled. Call the healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you have concerns about symptoms.
  • psychological and physical dependence. It is recommended that you talk with your doctor before either increasing the dose or abruptly stopping use of this drug.
  • withdrawal side effects. To avoid these side effects, do not suddenly stop taking this medication. Discuss with your doctor about slowly decreasing the dose before stopping use of this medication altogether. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any or all of the following symptoms:
    • feeling generally unwell or uneasy
    • insomnia
    • shakes
    • tremors
    • stomach cramps
    • muscle cramps
    • vomiting
    • sweating

Chlordiazepoxide can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how chlordiazepoxide affects you.

Do not take chlordiazepoxide if you are allergic to chlordiazepoxide or to any of its ingredients.

Chlordiazepoxide Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of chlordiazepoxide, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking chlordiazepoxide, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to chlordiazepoxide or to any of its ingredients
  • have a condition called porphyria
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have glaucoma
  • have a history of seizures
  • have lung problems
  • have heart problems
  • have liver problems
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Chlordiazepoxide and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

The category for chlordiazepoxide is unknown. However, an increased risk of malformations linked with the use of chlordiazepoxide during the first trimester of pregnancy has been suggested in several studies. Because use of these drugs is rarely a matter of urgency, their use during this period should almost always be avoided.

Chlordiazepoxide and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if chlordiazepoxide crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using chlordiazepoxide.

Chlordiazepoxide Usage

Take chlordiazepoxide exactly as prescribed.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken up to 4 times a day, with or without food.

Alcohol may intensify some of the side effects of this medication.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of chlordiazepoxide at the same time.

Chlordiazepoxide Dosage

Take chlordiazepoxide exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The chlordiazepoxide dose your doctor recommends will be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated
  • other medical conditions you have
  • other medications you are taking
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your age

The recommended dose range for chlordiazepoxide in adults is 5 to 25 mg, two to four times a day.

The recommended dose range for chlordiazepoxide to treat anxiety prior to surgery is 5 to 10 mg orally, 3 or 4 times daily on days preceding surgery.

The recommended dose for chlordiazepoxide in children (6 years of age and older) is 5 to 10 mg, two to four times a day.

Chlordiazepoxide Overdose

If you take too much chlordiazepoxide call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If chlordiazepoxide is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store chlordiazepoxide between 15°C – 30°C (59°F – 86°F).
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.