Anxiety Medication Overview of Librium

Librium, known generically as chlordiazepoxide, is a benzodiazepine used to relieve anxiety and to control the agitation that is a side effect of alcohol withdrawal.

Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine ever to be synthesized, discovered by accident in the 1950s and first marketed under the brand name Librium. Librium proved to be a safer alternative to barbiturates and became quite popular due to its ability to control anxiety without such significant effects on alertness or mental acuity.


Because Librium is the oldest benzodiazepine, it has been studied extensively and is known to be one of the safer drugs available when taken as directed. However, like all drugs in its class, chronic use of Librium to control anxiety can lead to tolerance and dependence.

Studies have found that benzodiazepines lose their effectiveness at treating anxiety after 4 months of continuous use, so it is recommended that Librium be taken at the lowest effective dose and discontinued as soon as possible (usually after no more than 4 weeks of continuous use). Taking the medication on an as-needed basis to treat anxiety, rather than continuously, can also decrease the risk of tolerance and dependence.

Librium is available in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg capsules. Precise dosages must be determined by the prescribing physician, but it is typically taken in divided doses for a total of 10 to 40 mg daily.

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