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Chlordiazepoxide overdose

Chlordiazepoxide is a prescription medication used to treat certain anxiety disorders and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Chlordiazepoxide overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.

This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Alternative Names

Librium overdose

Poisonous Ingredient

Chlordiazepoxide

Where Found

  • A-Poxide
  • Equibral
  • Librax
  • Librium
  • Limbitrol
  • Mitran

Note: This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

Airways and lungs:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Shallow breathing

Bladder and kidneys:

  • Difficulty urinating

Eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and throat:

  • Double vision or blurred vision
  • Rapid side-to-side movement of the eyes

Heart and blood:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat

Nervous system:

Skin

  • Bluish-colored lips and fingernails
  • Rash
  • Yellow skin

Stomach and intestines:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea

Home Care

Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care professional.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:

  • Patient's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the product (ingredients and strengths, if known)
  • When it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

See: Poison control center - emergency number

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing
  • Breathing support
  • Intravenous (through the vein) fluids
  • Laxatives
  • Medication to treat symptoms
  • Tube through the mouth into the stomach to empty the stomach (gastric lavage)

Outlook (Prognosis)

With proper care, full recovery can be expected. Exceptions may include patients with aplastic anemia or those who overdose on many different substances.

Prevention

Keep all medications in child-proof bottles and out of the reach of children.

References

Gussow L, Carolson A. Sedative Hypotics. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine - Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2013:chap 165.

Updated: 10/16/2013

Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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