What Is Librium: Uses and Side Effects
What is Librium? It’s the trade name for chlordiazepoxide, which is a sedative from the benzodiazepine class. In fact, it was the first synthesized “benzo,” which is a class of psychoactive drugs for medical use. As a depressant that slows down brain activity, it’s a medication used to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain.
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Is Librium the Same as Xanax?
The brand name “Librium” has been discontinued in the United States. The name became associated with substance abuse in the eighties and fell from popularity in the nineties. Both Librium and Xanax are part of the benzodiazepine family. So they are similar drugs used to treat similar conditions but are not the exact same thing.
Chlordiazepoxide had been discovered in the mid-fifties by Hoffman-La Roche chemist Leo Sternbach. Hoffman-La Roche introduced tranquilizers made of benzodiazepine on the market starting in 1957. Librium was first marketed by the company in 1960. Today the giant Swiss pharma manufacturer is commonly referred to as Roche.
Xanax is a drug marketed by Pfizer, which acquired the original German company that patented the drug alprazolam. It was developed based on Librium. Xanax became the brand name for alprazolam starting in 1981, the year it was approved by the FDA. Both Librium and Xanax are schedule IV drugs classified by the Controlled Substances Act. Xanax is a stronger drug, but Librium lasts in the body longer.
What was Librium Used For?
While the brand name “Librium” has disappeared commercially from the United States, the drug chlordiazepoxide still exists and is often called Librium. The brand became very popular in the sixties and seventies to treat anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal. It has been used for other purposes as well, based on physician assessments of patients. Due to Librium’s potential for substance abuse, in 1973 a US court ruled the drug must be prescribed by licensed medical practitioners. Roche has since discontinued the brand, although the drug is still available by prescription only.
Is Librium a Narcotic?
The term “narcotic” is often perceived and associated with illegal drugs, such as heroin. But it has a wider definition that includes legal medications, which require approval from a physician. Librium is not considered a narcotic because it’s a benzodiazepine, not an opioid. But Librium, like other benzos, is still considered a controlled substance and has a high potential for dependence and addiction. Usually, doctors only prescribe the drug for short-term use. It is illegal for a patient to sell or give Librium to others.
The definition of the term narcotic has evolved over the years. At one time it meant any psychoactive drug with numbing effects. Medical professionals administer narcotics to patients suffering severe or chronic pain. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, today narcotics refer to opium and its derivatives and semi-synthetic substitutes. Examples of narcotics used by the medical industry include morphine and codeine.
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Is Librium the Same as Diazepam?
Librium and diazepam are both sedatives in the benzo class but are two different drugs. Diazepam is more commonly known by its brand name, Valium, which is manufactured by Roche. The company patented the drug in 1962 a few years after it introduced Librium. After the patent expired in 1985, generic forms of the drug entered the market. Since diazepam has a longer half-life than Librium, less dosage is needed for Valium, as the effects last longer. Due to providing longer-lasting pain relief, Valium can be used to treat more severe cases of anxiety and seizures.
What Are the Side Effects of Librium?
Librium should never be used in large doses since its overdose can lead to death. It should be used only as directed by a doctor to avoid dangerous side effects. Since it’s potentially addictive and deadly, the drug is usually only prescribed for a maximum of four months. Side effects of Librium vary among individuals from mild to severe conditions.
The drug has been known to slow down the heart rate and breathing. It can also lead to breathing difficulty and swelling of the face, throat, lips, and tongue. These are not typical side effects and should be reported to a doctor immediately. More common side effects may include drowsiness, slurred speech, memory loss, and changes in behavior or mood.
Some patients report loss of appetite, dizziness, and trouble maintaining balance. The more extreme side effects are anger, confusion, and paranoia. Despite these issues, a patient should not stop taking Librium on their own, as they should consult their doctor. Sudden discontinuation of the drug can trigger life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
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If your doctor prescribes Librium, pay close attention to the instructions. Even though it’s a widely used sedative for various conditions, a high dosage can be fatal. But if used as prescribed, it’s a fairly safe medication. Contact us at Mango Clinic for anxiety treatment options or click the banner below to book your appointment.