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Serax (Oxazepam) 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 Serax (oxazepam) and following a weaning schedule can reduce the side effects associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal. There are several ways to taper and wean off Serax, and it’s safest to do this with medical or psychological support.

Serax is a central nervous system sedative, typically prescribed to treat anxiety or alcohol withdrawal symptoms. If a person takes Serax for any length of time, there is a risk of becoming dependent on the medication.

People who want to get off Serax should speak with their medical provider. It’s not recommended to stop taking Serax abruptly (“cold turkey”), as this can lead to adverse side effects. Instead, ask your doctor about tapering and weaning schedule options for this medication.

Serax is a short-acting benzodiazepine. People who are dependent on this drug will typically begin to experience acute withdrawal symptoms about one to two days after the last dose. Without tapering or a weaning schedule, withdrawal symptoms can last four weeks or more.

Serax (Oxazepam) Tapering: How To Prepare

The first step to Serax tapering is to speak with your medical provider. If you have been taking Serax with a legal prescription, approach the provider who prescribes you this medication. Let them know you are ready to start the process of getting off oxazepam. Your doctor will then be able to determine whether or not you are currently capable of completing a Serax taper.

If a person buys Serax off the street, it’s still important to check in with a medical professional. Many health clinics have compassionate staff that are trained to listen without judgment. Make sure to truthfully share the amount of Serax you have been taking.

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Your healthcare provider may require that you have a friend or family member who will act as emotional support for you during the taper. This person should be knowledgeable about the benzodiazepine withdrawal process or be willing to research and learn about the topic.

Your doctor may also recommend that you see a counselor during the tapering process, as many people find it helpful to have extra psychological support during this time. Licensed therapists will also be able to teach alternative coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing or meditation.

Tapering Off Serax (Oxazepam) With Valium (Diazepam)

There are several ways to taper off benzodiazepines like Serax. Unlike other sedatives in this drug class, Serax is a capsule that can’t be cut. This means that people are not able to taper in the more traditional ways, such as dry tapering (which involves cutting a pill into a smaller dose).

Serax is a short-acting benzodiazepine, which means the withdrawal management is different than a long-acting sedative. Thus, your doctor may suggest that you discontinue Serax, and instead take an equivalent dose of a long-acting benzodiazepine like Valium (diazepam).

It’s simpler and more straight-forward to taper someone off of a long-acting benzodiazepine. Because the two drugs have similar effects, switching to Valium should help people avoid acute withdrawal symptoms.

There are specific dose conversions for Serax and Valium. Your doctor will prescribe the equivalent dose, and then help you plan a tapering schedule. Slowly, your medical provider will help you decrease the dose of Valium.

The most important thing is to discuss your desire to taper off Serax with your doctor. They will be able to provide guidance based on your individual needs.

How Long Will It Take To Wean Off Serax (Oxazepam)?

The amount of time it takes for a person to successfully wean off Serax can vary, based on the individual needs of the patient. Weaning schedules are based on your personal health and safety, and must be managed by a prescribing doctor.

It’s usually recommended to allow a patient to stabilize on an equivalent dose of diazepam for 4-7 days. For those that have less than a 40mg/day diazepam equivalent, they may follow a tapering schedule similar to this one from the National Institutes of Health.

Starting dose: Patient will receive 5 mg dose at 8am, 5 mg at noon, and 5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 15mg diazepam. Patients will usually stay on this schedule for one week.

First reduction: Patient will receive 5 mg dose at 8am, 2.5 mg at noon, and 5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 12.5mg. The amount of time between reductions will depend on a person’s physical and psychological symptoms.

Second reduction: Patient will receive 5 mg dose at 8am, no dose at noon, and 5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 10mg.

Third reduction: Patient will receive 2.5 mg dose at 8am, no dose at noon, and 5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 7.5mg.

Fourth reduction: Patient will receive no dose at 8am, no dose at noon, and 5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 5mg.

Fifth reduction: Patient will receive no dose at 8am, no dose at noon, and 2.5 mg at 8pm. Total daily dose is 2.5mg.

The amount of time between each dose reduction will be based on the presence and severity of withdrawal symptoms. Based on how you are feeling, your doctor will help you determine the best length of time between reductions.

Serax withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to understand. The symptoms may come and go, and fluctuate in severity. You might find it helpful to keep a journal of any withdrawal symptoms you have, and share this with your doctor. That way, you can both be aware of how your body is reacting to the weaning schedule.

Reasons For A Serax (Oxazepam) Taper: Why Get Off Of Serax?

People may want to get off Serax for a number of reasons. They may not like being dependent on a medication. When a person is dependent on Serax, they require the drug in order to function normally.

Others may also notice that they require higher doses of Serax in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This is called having a tolerance. Over time, their body becomes used to having a certain amount of the drug. In this situation, a person may need increased amounts of Serax in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like agitation, insomnia, muscle aches, and restlessness.

It’s possible to stop taking Serax for good. If you are ready to get off of this medication, talk to your doctor about tapering and weaning off oxazepam.

Treatment For Serax (Oxazepam) Withdrawal

Withdrawing from a benzodiazepine like Serax can be a slow, overwhelming process. It may be beneficial to consider formal addiction treatment, where addiction specialists can help you through the detoxification process.

Many inpatient treatment centers offer medical detox programs that specifically cater to those going through the withdrawal stage. Patients are provided with medical care and supervision, along with therapies that focus on managing anxiety without the use of benzodiazepines.

To learn more about Serax tapering and weaning schedules, or to explore medical detox programs near you, reach out to one of our specialists today.

National Institutes of Health, DailyMed - LABEL: OXAZEPAM - oxazepam capsule

U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - 4Withdrawal Management

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