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Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Tapering And Weaning Schedule

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 13, 2019

Tapering off Librium is the safest way to avoid experiencing serious symptoms during withdrawal. The exact timeline can vary from person to person, and will need to be tailored based on your history of Librium use and other needs.

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a sedative in the benzodiazepine drug class. It is most often prescribed to ease symptoms of anxiety and panic.

Taking Librium for more than a few months at a prescribed dose may cause a person to develop dependence. This is the body’s way of adapting to the presence of a drug in your system. Chronic or heavy use of Librium can lead to mild to severe dependence. The severity varies based on several factors, such as how long you’ve been taking Librium and the amount.

Dependence can develop even faster with Librium abuse. This can include taking higher or more frequent doses, or taking it in any way other than by mouth.

Experts recommend a Librium taper process for people who have been taking Librium for more than a few months, or regularly abuse it.

People taking Librium should never stop taking the drug all at once. This can result in dangerous and potentially life-threatening symptoms. Talk to a doctor or treatment specialist to determine a tapering schedule that is able to suit your needs.

Getting Ready To Taper Off Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

Preparing for you or your loved one’s Librium tapering process can be helpful to ease stress and any unnecessary struggle. The first step of preparation typically involves talking to a medical professional.

Consulting with a doctor can provide you with a better understanding of the weaning process and an estimated timeline. This can be developed by considering several factors, including how long you’ve been taking Librium and your dosage.

If you are planning on tapering off Librium on an outpatient basis, significant support will be needed. Librium withdrawal can be challenging and uncomfortable. Reaching out for strong physical and psychological support from friends, family, or other loved ones is recommended.

If your doctor has deemed that your dependence is too severe to withdraw from Librium at home, they may recommend an inpatient program. This is also recommended for people without a support system of loved ones to help them through the process.

Safe Methods For Tapering Off Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

The process of weaning off a benzodiazepine can differ based on the drug you are taking. Dependence on short-acting benzos like Xanax, for instance, may cause withdrawal symptoms very quickly.

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a long-acting drug. In some cases, people who are withdrawing from a short-acting benzo may switch to Librium for a smoother withdrawal process. For all of these drugs however, the tapering process must be gradual. Stopping or reducing a dose too quickly can result in severe symptoms, including convulsions and psychosis.

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There is no single withdrawal method that is right for every person and situation. There are several tapering methods designed for benzodiazepine withdrawal that can be effective.

Weaning off Librium after chronic use or abuse is no quick fix. Using an effective tapering method, however, can help prevent severe discomfort and potential health risks. Talk to a doctor to determine which method may best suit your needs based on your history using Librium.

Dry Tapering

One of the most common weaning methods is dry tapering. This is perhaps the simplest and most convenient method. Dry tapering involves using a pill cutter or pill shaver to divide Librium tablets into smaller doses. These can then be weighed on a scale to ensure accuracy. Different dry taper methods may be more suitable for some people than others, depending on the severity of their dependence.


Micro-tapering is a type of dry tapering. This process involves spreading several, small doses of Librium throughout the day. This can be helpful to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms between doses, or to reduce their severity.

Tapering Strips

The use of tapering strips is a newer method of drug tapering that was originally developed in the Netherlands. Librium tapering strips consist of a roll of Librium tablets dosed accurately for use over a period of 28 days. These are sometimes compared to rolls of coins.

Tapering strips can sometimes wean people off Librium faster than recommended. Therefore, it is important to discuss the issue of safety with a doctor before attempting to use this method.

Weaning Schedule For Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

Librium weaning schedules are individualized to meet the needs of every person. How long you have been taking Librium, and your dose, are some of the most important factors when creating a tapering plan. Talking to a professional can help you determine the safest weaning schedule to meet your needs.

To develop a schedule, your doctor will need to take all aspects of your Librium use into account. If you have been abusing Librium, it is in your best interest to relay this to your doctor. Although it can be difficult to talk about your drug abuse, not being honest about your Librium use could risk your safety.

How Long Does It Take To Wean Off Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)?

This can vary from person to person, typically ranging from some weeks to several months. People who have been taking Librium for years will likely have a longer weaning timeline. People who have not been taking Librium for as long, and take smaller doses, may be able to wean off Librium faster and with more ease.

Special Considerations For Weaning Off Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

Certain factors, such as age and health condition, can affect how your body will react to the tapering process.

Children and older adults, for instance, may require special considerations when weaning off Librium. Drugs affect children and the elderly in ways somewhat different than healthy adults. This is in part due to drug metabolism, and how that can change as people age. Children and elderly adults may require longer weaning schedules to allow their bodies to properly adapt to each dose decrease.

Being pregnant is also a special consideration when weaning off Librium. Stopping Librium altogether after learning you are pregnant can be dangerous to both you and your fetus. If you are taking Librium and become pregnant, talk to your doctor to figure out an appropriate weaning schedule.

Other factors that can affect Librium weaning timelines include:

  • polysubstance abuse
  • previous history of Librium withdrawal
  • reason for prescription
  • co-occurring mental health issues

When Do I Need To Taper Off Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)?

If you have been taking Librium for more than a few weeks, your doctor will likely recommend a tapering process. This is the safest way to prevent serious health risks from stopping Librium too quickly.

In general, Librium is not known to be effective for long-term use. According to experts, many people who are able to wean themselves off chronic use of Librium report feeling better after they have stopped taking the drug.

People who have abused Librium (e.g. snorted, smoked, injected) may also need to taper their use. Compared to taking a therapeutic dose, Librium abuse can result in dependence and addiction much quicker. It may also lead to more severe symptoms during withdrawal.

Treatment Options For Librium Withdrawal

Tapering off Librium at home can be a difficult process for many people. Using a tapering method does not prevent withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia, increased anxiety, and other mood-related symptoms are common during this time. Having a strong support system and keeping in contact with a licensed professional is crucial throughout the weaning process.

If you are overcoming Librium addiction, entering a substance abuse program can be a helpful option. Many treatment services within a rehab program, such as therapy and certain medicines, can help ease drug cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

For more information about weaning off Librium and withdrawal treatment options, contact one of our specialists today.

Newcastle University: The Institute of Neuroscience - Benzodiazepines: How They Work & How to Withdraw

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

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