Librium Withdrawal Symptoms: What Is The Timeline?

Last Updated: May 7, 2020

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Stopping Librium cold turkey will lead to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Depending on several factors, the Librium withdrawal symptoms and timeline may significantly differ among the patients.

Librium Withdrawal: How And When Does It Occur?

Librium withdrawal symptoms are noticeable after an abruptly lowering chlordiazepoxide dose or stopping the medication. Withdrawal is more likely to happen to users who are dependent on Librium. People also may experience these symptoms by missing doses or switching to another drug without doctor’s recommendations. The dose, frequency, duration of use, as well as a user’s overall health status and age also play a huge role in the development of chlordiazepoxide withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms Of Librium Withdrawal

Altering chlordiazepoxide use may cause several Librium withdrawal symptoms. As most of them can be serious and even life-threatening, proper medical care and monitoring are required. One will start to feel unwell after the last dose and this is commonly referred to as a “come down.” The symptoms will worsen and will hit a plateau before they start to disappear. Prolonged use of chlordiazepoxide will lead to more intense and lengthier symptoms.

librium withdrawal symptoms

Users who had chlordiazepoxide for more than 3 weeks are expected to complain about the following Librium withdrawal symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • abdominal cramps
  • increased heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • cravings
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • sweating
  • hallucinations
  • seizure
  • convulsions
  • tremors

Librium Withdrawal Timeline

Typically, the Librium withdrawal timeline is between 1 to 7 weeks, peaking during the 2nd and 3rd week. However, heavy users may end up struggling for months.

Week 1

Most users will start feeling restless or anxious within 24 hours after the last dose of chlordiazepoxide. For others, it takes at least a week before the onset of symptoms. Agitation, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, and sweating are common during this stage.

Weeks 2 To 3

During the next 2-3 weeks, chlordiazepoxide withdrawal symptoms peak. One may start feeling more uncomfortable symptoms like stomach cramping, insomnia, nausea, dysphoria, and difficulty concentrating. Heavy users may have hallucinations, tremors, psychosis, and seizures.

Weeks 4 To 6

At these weeks, most symptoms are manageable with some already subsided. While there may still be anxiety, depression, and cravings, the intensity should be decreasing.

Week 7+

At this stage, most Librium withdrawal symptoms disappear, but patients may continue to experience cravings and some psychological symptoms. Anxiety may still suddenly reappear even after one has gone a long while free of any symptoms. This is known as protracted withdrawal and it will only subside after abstinence for a long time.

age affects librium withdrawal timeline

Factors Affecting The Timeline

The pace of Librium withdrawal depends on different factors, including chlordiazepoxide half-life, dose, and duration of use. The presence of other substances in the body during Librium use will affect the timeline, too. Genetic factors such as age, gender, and general health may also be significant.

Librium Withdrawal Treatment

To effectively come off Librium, one has to slowly decrease the drug dose with the approval of a doctor. In some cases, the Librium detox regime involves switching to a less potent benzodiazepine drug.

Chlordiazepoxide withdrawal can also be managed using certain medications during detox. A doctor may prescribe antidepressants or beta-blockers to help alleviate depression and anxiety. Anticonvulsants are also effective in managing benzodiazepine withdrawal in general if the patient is not dependent on other substances. Carbamazepine and pregabalin are commonly used. Flumazenil can help patients to rapidly switch to a lower dose or to abstain without significant withdrawal symptoms.  All medications should be administered with the supervision of a healthcare professional as low doses may still lead to seizures.

safe stopping librium with doctor

How To Stop Librium Safely

Stopping the use of Librium abruptly is dangerous to health, posing numerous threats. It should be tapered off slowly during detox. How to stop taking chlordiazepoxide exactly depends on the individual case. Despite there is no specific Librium tapering schedule, there are approved general recommendations on how to stop benzodiazepines. Based on this guide, most health experts design the Librium taper protocol that may be as follows:

  • Initially, lower chlordiazepoxide dosage by 10-15% and then observe for any withdrawal symptoms.
  • Decrease chlordiazepoxide dosage by as much as 50% in the first 2 to 4 weeks and 25% every other week.
  • Keep lowering the dose by 25% every two weeks until it is down to zero.

Detox At Rehab

Librium withdrawal protocol typically involves treatment in a safe and controlled environment like a drug rehab facility. Such centers ensure that patients are closely monitored by medical professionals while coming off chlordiazepoxide. A healthcare team can help control uncomfortable, physical symptoms, and provide emotional support during the course of the treatment.

Also, medical detox is just the initial step to recovery. Behavioral therapies will help address the underlying issues influencing one’s addiction. These techniques help build coping skills for the future and prevent relapse.


Page Sources

  1. Brett J, Murnion B. Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Australian Prescriber. 2015; 38(5): 152‐155. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2015.055. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/.
  2. LIBRIUM® C-IV (chlordiazepoxide HCl) CAPSULES. Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/012249s049lbl.pdf.

Published on: May 7th, 2020

Updated on: May 7th, 2020

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

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