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Librium Side Effects | Short-Term & Long-Term Effects Of Chlordiazepoxide

Published on December 17, 2020
young woman experiencing the side effects of Librium

Librium is a benzodiazepine with a primary ingredient of chlordiazepoxide. It is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

There are many side effects of Librium that should be considered before taking the drug. While some effects can be managed, others can be harmful and even life-threatening.

Short-Term Effects

Like other benzodiazepines (such as diazepam and alprazolam), chlordiazepoxide is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. It affects gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters in the brain, reducing overall brain activity.

Librium causes sedation, reduced aggression, euphoria, and other anti anxiety effects.  Following proper Librium dosing minimizes the risk of other side effects.

Common Side Effects

Librium can also cause side effects, including:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • upset stomach
  • changes in appetite
  • diarrhea

If Librium is a subject of drug abuse, these side effects may be more severe. Librium should always be taken as directed.

Long-Term Effects

Chlordiazepoxide is usually not prescribed for more than 4 months. Its habit-forming properties can lead to several long-term health effects. If you are on Librium, your doctor will usually decrease your dose over time.

Librium is less dangerous than other prescription drugs, but can still be harmful if taken improperly, or if taken over a long period of time.

Physical Dependence & Withdrawal

It is possible to become physically dependent on Librium during long-term use. Physical dependence leads to withdrawal when the drug is no longer being taken.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can last for months after the last dose, and can be life-threatening in some cases. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include:

  • mood swings
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • tremors

Many people seek out medical help to manage these symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you or a loved one are struggling with withdrawal.

Other Effects

Some effects of Librium can happen in either the short-term or long-term.

Drug Interactions

Benzodiazepines like Librium can be dangerous when combined with opioids. Taking these drugs together can increase the chances of severe respiratory depression, which can potentially be fatal. Taking Librium with depressants, such as alcohol, can also lead to serious side effects.

Your doctor or health care professional should be aware of your medication history. This will help them avoid prescribing medications that can be dangerous when taken together.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to Librium are rare, but can happen without warning. Older adults on Librium have reported more reactions to the drug than younger adults.

Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes), constipation, changes in libido (sex drive), and blood problems have all been reported as allergic reactions. These reactions are rare, but are usually a sign that you should not continue taking Librium if they do occur.


Benzodiazepine overdose happens after an extremely high dose. Mixing Librium with opioids can cause drug interactions and increase the chances of an overdose.

Symptoms of overdose include:

  • somnolence (severe drowsiness)
  • inhibited reflexes
  • confusion
  • comatose state

Librium overdose can be life-threatening. Medical attention is required to treat severe overdose symptoms.

For more information on benzodiazepine effects and withdrawal management, please contact us today.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

National Institutes of Health - Chlordiazepoxide | C16H14ClN3O
U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Chlordiazepoxide

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