Chlordiazepoxide is an ‘anti-anxiety’ class of medicine, which is also used for the treatment of muscle spasms and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Uses of Chlordiazepoxide
- Severe anxiety, which interferes with your activities, sleeplessness or psychosis.
- Muscle spasms (the muscle becomes hard and painful suddenly)
- Relief of immediate symptoms after withdrawal of alcohol.
Contraindications of Chlordiazepoxide
When should one not use Chlordiazepoxide
- Allergy to Chlordiazepoxide or any of the components used in the medicine or any other
- medicines of the same class (benzodiazepenes)
- Severe respiratory problems (respiratory depression) or breathing problems while sleeping
- (sleep apnoea)
- Extreme excited states or long standing psychiatric illness
- Severe liver problems (including those that affect the brain)
- A type of muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
- Loss of balance or co-ordinated movement (due to nerve damage in the brain or the spine).
- Do not use this medicine for children(below 18 years)
Side effects of Chlordiazepoxide
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Drowsiness, feeling light-headed or dizzy or sleepy
- Speech problems, loss of balance and co-ordinated movements (ataxia), tiredness, blackouts
- (temporary loss of vision and consciousness)
- Dependence on the maintenance
- Skin rashes, headache, changes in sex drive, retention and difficulty in passing urine,
- stomach upset, vision problems, low blood pressure, menstrual and other bleeding
- disorders (rare)
- Severe allergic reactions causing swelling of face and throat, breathing difficulty
- (angioedema), self-harming thoughts, jaundice, bleeding problems and infections (serious,
- but rare).
Precautions and Warnings of Chlordiazepoxide
Can I take Chlordiazepoxide during pregnancy?
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or might become pregnant because Chlordiazepoxide may harm the unborn baby and cause birth defects.
Can I take Chlordiazepoxide while breastfeeding?
Do not take this medicine if you are breastfeeding, as Chlordiazepoxide is secreted in breast milk and can harm the baby.
Can I drive if I have consumed Chlordiazepoxide?
Chlordiazepoxide works on the brain and cause drowsiness and sleep. Hence caution is advised while driving and you are advised to avoid driving if you experience any such symptoms.
Can I consume alcohol with Chlordiazepoxide?
Just like Chlordiazepoxide, alcohol also causes drowsiness, light-headedness and dependence and hence should be avoided.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- You are an elderly patient with history of lung, kidney or liver problems
- You have any psychiatric illness, depression,
- alcohol or narcotic abuse, nervousness and sleep problems or you lost someone close to you
Mode of Action of Chlordiazepoxide
How Does It Work?
Chlordiazepoxide acts by increasing the levels of a substance that transmits chemical signals in the brain (neurotransmitter) called GABA. This substance will reduce excitation of the brain and increased levels due to the medicine will result in effects like reduced anxiety, relaxation of muscles, sleep (sedation) etc.
Interactions of Chlordiazepoxide
Interactions with other medicines
- Anti-depressant medications or sleeping pills or any medicines used to treat psychiatric
- Anti-seizure medications (phenytoin, phenobarbitone etc.)
- Medicines given to induce anaesthesia during surgery
- Medicines that affect the liver – rifampicin (to treat TB), cimetidine, omeprazole (to reduce
- stomach acid), disulfiram (to treat alcohol dependence) or sleeping pills
- Levodopa (used to treat unintentional tremors – parkinson’s disease)
- High blood pressure medications (ramipril, captopril, losartan, moxonidine, nifedipine,
- diltiazem etc.)
- Medicines that relax blood vessels (nitrates, hydralazine, minoxidil, sodium nitroprusside)
- Baclofen (muscle relaxant), cisapride (increases stomach motility), nabilone (for nerve pain),
- pain killers (morphine, codeine etc.), blood thinning agents (warfarin), medicines to treat
- heart conditions (digoxin), water pills – medicines that cause loss of water from the body
- (furosemide), sodium oxybate (treats excessive sleep or muscle weakness), theophylline
- (used for asthma), Anti-allergic medicines (avil).
Interactions with food items
Use chlordiazepoxide with or without food
Dietary Restrictions of Chlordiazepoxide
No information is available on dietary restrictions while you are taking Chlordiazepoxide, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.
Dosage of Chlordiazepoxide
Be careful while using Chlordiazepoxide and make sure that you never take an overdose of this medicine by accident. Especially, if you are taking this medicine in combination with other related medicines. Inform your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms such as drowsiness, confusion, laziness, respiratory problems, speech problems or loss of balance or co-ordination, weakness etc.
Missed a Dose
If you forgot to take this medicine at the usual time, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you are taking the medicine more than 2 times a day, it is better if you skip the missed dose and continue with the next dose as usual. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What else should I know before using Chlordiazepoxide?
A: Chlordiazepoxide is not for long term use. It is generally used for short term use for 2-4 weeks. Usage for more than 4 weeks is not recommended. It should not be used in children or for symptoms of mild anxiety. If you are using high doses, the dose has to be decreased gradually and the medicine should not be stopped suddenly. It must be remembered that Chlordiazepoxide should be used as a single medication in patients with depression as it may cause suicidal ideas. In such conditions, it should be used in combination with other related medicines. It is recommended to use this Chlordiazepoxide under medical supervision.
Q: Does Chlordiazepoxide cause dependence?
A: In high doses, this medicine may cause low-level dependence. It is easily manageable, if have used Chlordiazepoxide for less than 4 weeks. In patients with alcohol dependence, narcotic abuse or personality disorder, Chlordiazepoxide may have to be used for longer periods of time. Stopping the drug should be strictly in consultation with the doctor and the dose needs to decreased gradually over a few weeks.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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