Librium to Cure Alcohol Withdrawals

Last Updated: June 4, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)  is a sedative tranquilizer that induces relaxation and anxiolysis.
The appropriate dosage of Librium must be used as part a proper treatment regimen, which depends on a patient’s drug history and current health. Librium should not be taken by those at risk of liver failure, and alcohol should not be consumed while taking Librium.

Librium And Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Patients find Librium helpful in treating:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Coordination
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Appetite

About Librium

Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) is one of the most effective benzodiazepines (“benzos”) used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines in general, paired with anticonvulsants, have had great success in treating alcohol withdrawal. Librium specifically is a preferred benzo due to its long half-life, which allows for self-tapering. It is a sedative tranquilizer that induces relaxation and anxiolysis (the prevention of anxiety). Medical trials have shown Librium to be more effective in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms than chlorpromazine, hydroxyzine, thiamine or placebos.

Dangers Of Alcohol Withdrawals

Alcoholism is one of the most dangerous addictions, and withdrawal from alcohol can have numerous, severe symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a clinical diagnosis that can vary from minor to debilitating. In especially acute cases, it can even be lethal.

Minor symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (within six hours after stopping drinking) include:

  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
Withdrawal seizures can occur between 12-48 hours of the cessation of drinking.

Hallucinations (mainly visual) are also common between 12-48 hours after the last drink.
Delirium tremens is perhaps the most dangerous of the withdrawal symptoms. It is a condition characterized by hypertension, hallucinations, hyperthermia, and agitation. Patients experiencing delirium tremens may have up to a 5% mortality rate.

Librium Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment

Many former alcoholics put on Librium during their treatment have reported beneficial effects. Some patients find Librium helpful in treating:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Coordination
  • Blood pressure
  • Tachycardia
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

Librium also improves the emotional state of many patients, as it helps with:

  • Anxiety
  • Disordered thinking
  • Emotional well-being
  • Panic attacks
  • Appetite

The drug also relieves severe tremors and palpitations, often observed in people who are experiencing alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Librium Protocol for Alcohol Withdrawal

Patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal should be monitored closely, and their Librium dosage should be prescribed by a professional. The length of therapy is unique to the individual, and it depends on the history of abuse and current health.
Librium shouldn’t be given to pregnant women or patients at risk of liver failure
For acute alcohol withdrawal, higher doses are necessary compared to the doses prescribed for anxiety. Usually, 5-100 mg is a reasonable amount that can be repeated after two to four hours. It’s not recommended to exceed 300 mg/day. However, it has been reported that some professionals have used up to 600-800 mg/day to treat severe cases.

Librium is used to achieve sedation, but if sedation can’t be induced and the patient is unresponsive, a barbiturate can be employed.

Librium Treatment Regimens

Literature review shows a precise classification of the treatment regimens used in medical settings:

  • Fixed/Rigid dose regimen
  • Loading dose regimen
  • Symptom-monitored loading dose
  • Rapid loading with close monitoring

The best treatment regimen relies on the patient’s history of abuse and other health factors to determine which course of treatment should be followed.

Librium must not be taken with alcohol, as this can lead to stupor and coma.

Drinking should be avoided altogether after treatment with Librium. Withdrawal symptoms can become more intense and dangerous, and the risk of the withdrawal symptoms becoming fatal can increase.

Librium Precautions

Librium shouldn’t be taken for extended periods, as it can lead to tolerance and dependence. Librium affects the neurotransmitters in the brain and makes the user feel calm, which can induce a psychological addiction, especially for patients that are experiencing anxiety during withdrawal. Anxiety and other comorbid disorders such as bipolar disorder, and depression are not uncommon, and treatment for these conditions may be necessary as well
Supportive medication and therapy should be provided when dealing with alcohol withdrawal. Magnesium supplements and vitamins should be part of the treatment due to the chronic malnutrition that can occur with alcohol abuse. A supportive environment is also important to recovery. Family support, an AA community, and social activities are crucial to such a supportive environment. Many people note the benefits that an active social network has had on their recovery.
Alcohol withdrawal is not a risk-free process, and benzodiazepines are one of the most effective drugs used to manage the symptoms of withdrawal. Librium is the medication preferred by medical practitioners and those in recovery to help patients to lead a stable, alcohol-free life.

Librium does have various side effects, however, and use of the drug should always be monitored carefully.

Page Sources

  1. Reddy VK, Girish K, Lakshmi P, Vijendra R, Kumar A, Harsha R. Cost-effectiveness analysis of baclofen and chlordiazepoxide in uncomplicated alcohol-withdrawal syndrome. Indian J Pharmacol. 2014.
  2. Rothstein E. Prevention of alcohol withdrawal seizures: the roles of diphenylhydantoin and chlordiazepoxide. Am J Psychiatry. 1973.

Published on: March 9th, 2018

Updated on: June 4th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • Anna
    Can someone tell me when I should start the Librium? From my last drink?
    • Amir
      You can take Liberiam at least 6-8 hours after your drink
      • Kate
        How many mg can you take for the initial dosage and then how much and when after that?
        • Brian
          It depends on how long and how severe your withdrawl is. Severe withdrawl anywhere from 25-50 mg.I am not a doctor, but suggest 25 mg and wait approx half hour. You generally take more your first day and taper. It can save your life
  • Kevin
    Is Librium the only thing the Dr. gave or a combination of things?
    Hi,I have a drink problem but also anxity would like to get hold of some librium but the NHS and my GP will not supliey this as thay say it is not recommed in UK.I do not want to be a alcoholic but the anxity sometimes drives me to it would like advice on what to do and where to seek help.I have used librium before and the first two days are hell but after that you seem to settle down.Thanks andy.
    • Mike
      I just started the Librium protocol. I have been an alcoholic for many years. If you are in outpatient, communicate with your doctor daily. I also have anxiety disorder and am not sure what came first. Regardless, there is hope. Do not drink with Librium as it not only lessens the effect but can cause other side effects. God be with you as alcoholism never stops and requires a daily regimen to not go back.
    • Steph
      A gp isn’t allowed to prescribe Librium, you will need to get referred to a specialist clinic by your gp, who can sort out a treatment plan for you.its a slow process but worthy
  • annette mcdonald
    hi there my doctor is puting me on librium 10mg 3 times a day for alchohol withdrawel is this the right amount
    • Lisa B.
      Depends on how honest you were with doc. That’s a good dose for not long term drinker, drinking mildly. If your one that was drinking a bottle of hard liquor every day for many years then more mg would be needed. Try it. If you still get bad shakes after 45 min, you may need more mg. Take little more and notify dr. Everyone is different.
  • Zach m
    I’m currently taking librium. Started on the 18 today is my second day. Went to the hospital on the 17th because I decided to quit cold Turkey ont the 16th from 5 years of drinking from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. They game me ativan the night of the 17th to hold me off over night until my pharmacy opened. I started librium on the morning of the 18th. My dosage is 25mg 4x daily for the first 4 days, 3 times daily for the next 4 days, 2x daily for the next 4days, and 1 daily for the next 4days. 16days straight in total. And let me tell you the 17th was only the worst say. Ever since I started librium yesterday I haven’t had any withdrawals. Just body aches like soreness. I’m just following the dosages because my fear is having a seizure. I’m at high risk due to those 5 years
  • Zach ma
    Depends on youre weight, height, age, and alcohol consumption. I’ve worked at a hospital for 9 years. 5 of those years I was a functioning alcoholic. Drank as soon as I woke up until it was time for bed. I just stopped 3 days ago and I started my librium yesterday. My doctor has me on 25mg 4x for 4 days, 3x a day for the next 4, 2x a day for the next 4 and 1x a day for the next 4, 16days total. Do not do librium on your own Get a doctors help. And I haven’t had a withdrawal since I started on it The day after I went cold Turkey on the 17th was the worst but the dosages my doctor prescribed have been working really well
  • Tom
    I’m taking librium today is it ok to have one beer before bed
  • Anna
    I stopped drinking alcohol it’s unbelievable which symptoms I had I nearly kill myself and now I’m in psychiatric hospital only one thing is good I’m under medical staff control if I’m not end up here I don’t know what will be happen u need to seek medical help coz of me I can’t drink no more I’m nearly die
  • LP
    It is dangerous to take Librium with alcohol. Just read the whole information above. Librium along with alcohol can lead to coma. I am a registered nurse and have given Librium in hospital initially as in IV form.
  • Bruce V
    I quit alcohol cold turkey 4 days ago. My chest was killing me every night. I finally went to the Hospital. They were very nice. My heart was fine . To help me with my Detox they gave me DILAUDID and Ativan and I picked up some Librium he gave me a note for. I just took two 25mg. I hope it helps. I’m going to bed but well Post tomorrow on the successful evening of sleep.
  • Justin F
    I’m 58 years old have been an alcoholic for about 20 years. Gotten sober on and off for years with out-patient rehab and tons of AA meetings. I’ve recently relapsed and drank heavily for 6 weeks. I was getting wicked night sweats, tremors and just feeling like hell so I went for help. My Psychiatrist is also specializes in addiction and works at the hospital where they detox. He felt that I could use librium at home with my wife’s help monitoring me. Started today with 50 mg and then tapering down from there. My only concern is I did sneak a couple last beers an hour before taking my first dose. I know that is not the ideal but hoping I didn’t put myself in to much danger. I’m done with alcohol and if I have to go to an AA meeting everyday I will. If I continue to drink it will kill me. What a horrible disease.
  • Laura Landon
    What year was librium introduced to help with withdrawls?
  • Rekha
    My husband is a alcoholic but wants to quit alchohol. But it is not possible for him Dr suggested to take Librium 10 mg but still he drinks after consuming drink he takes tablet also please give me a suggestion
  • Gmoney
    My librium taper was quick and very helpful 400mg 3 times first day 150 mg 3 times the second and 75mg for the next 3 days then out.
  • Karen
    I finished my course of Librium last night . While I was taking them I felt really good , I got my confidence back and I felt confident about my future . Less than 12 hours later I feel lost again . I don’t want a drink , I just feel like my thoughts aren’t so clear now and I’m not feeling so positive . I’m really quite emotional today . Is this normal ?
  • Marie
    I was told that once the Librium was stopped, it would be “self detoxing” ie. After the medication was stopped it would leave my body slowly enough that I would have minimal withdrawal symptoms. Is this true?
  • Terry Clark
    How long Do you have to wait to take libreum after your last drink
  • Kollette
    Hi my doctor gave me a adivan while detoxing with Libruim am I okay for both? I also have visceral. Thank you for your help.
  • Carolyn
    What are the after effects of being on Librium for five dAys. Then going to vivitol.
  • Mark
    If u take Librium one day and drink the next will you die ?