Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Librium for alcohol withdrawal

Librium is a benzodiazepine class medication commonly prescribed for alcohol withdrawal. It reduces symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as tremors, sleep problems and visual disturbances. In addition, it reduces chances of getting alcohol withdrawal seizures (fits).

Librium is the generic name of Chlordiazepoxide. It acts via activating GABA type A receptors in the brain. In addition, Librium is the first benzodiazepine to hit the market.

What are alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

Alcohol withdrawal is experienced by people who are dependent on alcohol. Once they stopped alcohol suddenly, they will experience tremors, poor sleep, nausea, fever and increased heart rate. Withdrawal symptoms usually develop within 6 - 12 hours from the last  drink.

Sometimes alcohol withdrawal can become dangerous. It is dangerous when you develop a condition called delirium tremens. Delirium tremens is characterized by severe withdrawal symptoms associated with perceptual disturbances such as visual hallucinations. In addition, during the phase of delirium tremens, person will experience severe fluctuations in blood pressure and body temperature.

Any type of alcohol can cause dependence and withdrawal

They behave aggressively toward imaginary visual hallucinations and could easily misinterpret other stimuli as strange and threatening. They show marked behavioural problems, especially at night.

Patient with a delirium tremens should be managed in an inward setting with a high dependency unit.

In addition, sometimes alcohol dependent person can develop alcohol withdrawal seizures or fits. It can also be harmful.

Because of these harmful withdrawal effects, alcohol dependent people should first consult a medical doctor before stopping alcohol.

Who are alcohol dependent people?

Alcohol dependent people have following symptoms,

1. Craving for alcohol
2. Tolerance for alcohol : Need large amount of alcohol to get intoxicated
3. Getting withdrawal symptoms described above
4. Continued alcohol use despite harmful consequences (Losing job, liver damage, family disharmony)
5. Unable to control alcohol taking behaviour
6. Loss of other pleasurable activities

If a person has three of above symptoms together at sometime during last year they have dependence.

Is Hangover alcohol withdrawal?

This alcohol withdrawal syndrome is not to be confused with hangover that occur after a episode of binge drinking. Hangovers are usually due to reduced blood sugar due to how body metabolises alcohol and due to alcohol metabolites accumulating in the body (Aldehyde).
 It is helped by taking milk with sugary drink.

Alcohol withdrawal is no to be confused with Hangover : Courtesy :

Why people develop severe alcohol withdrawal reaction?

Brain adapts to alcohol in dependent person. Once alcohol is withdrawn from his/her blood stream, those adaptable changes become unopposed. These changes can become so severe it can kill the person.

How Librium helps?

Librium is acting similar to alcohol. Once alcohol is not in the system Librium keep those adaptive changes in check. Then librium is gradually reduced. So body has enough time to readapt itself.

How Librium is given for alcohol withdrawal?

Librium is usually started in a high dose and then gradually the dose will be tailed off. Common doses to start with are (30mgs 6hrly, 20mg 6hrly). Then the dose is gradually reduced until the withdrawal features are disappeared.

Usually Librium is tailed off within five days. But a night dose is continued for sometime to help sleep disturbance associated with alcohol withdrawal.

It usually takes one to two weeks to completely detoxify alcohol dependent person. However, his/her craving for the alcohol will not subside with Librium. It needs careful psychotherapy and medications such as Acamprosate.

Problems associated with Librium?

Librium can cause drowsiness, sedation, cognitive impairment, and motor coordination difficulties. Due to this reason a Person who is on Librium should not operate machinery or drive vehicles. But they can do these tasks once he/she is off drugs for more than a week, so the drug is cleared from the body. 

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