What is Oxazepam?

D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress
Drowsiness is one side effect of oxazepam.
Drowsiness is one side effect of oxazepam.

Oxazepam is a prescription medication most commonly given to patients with severe anxiety or withdrawal symptoms due to alcohol or drug use. It works by depressing electrical signals in the central nervous system (CNS), producing a sedative effect. Oxazepam is generally safe when it is taken exactly as prescribed by a physician, though major health complications and addiction can develop if the drug is abused. Patients are encouraged to schedule regular checkups with their doctors while taking the medication to minimize the risks of negative effects and ensure treatment is successful.

People who take oxazepam or any other benzodiazepine should not discontinue use without consulting a doctor.
People who take oxazepam or any other benzodiazepine should not discontinue use without consulting a doctor.

Drugs called benzodiazepines, which include oxazepam and diazepam, increase levels of a chemical called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it slows down activity in the CNS. People who have anxiety attacks, physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and sleeping problems often find relief when GABA levels are increased.

Amnesia and confusion are signs of an acute overdose of oxazepam.
Amnesia and confusion are signs of an acute overdose of oxazepam.

A physician or psychiatrist can prescribe oxazepam after carefully reviewing a patient's symptoms and medical history. The medication can potentially cause adverse reactions if it is taken in combination with certain other drugs or if a person has a chronic liver or kidney disorder. Most patients are prescribed small initial doses, usually about 30 milligrams a day, to see if they respond well. Dosage amounts are gradually increased over the first two weeks until the maximum effective dose is discovered. Rarely are patients instructed to take more than 120 milligrams of oxazepam in a single day.

Increasing GABA levels with oxazepam can help someone with anxiety or sleeping problems.
Increasing GABA levels with oxazepam can help someone with anxiety or sleeping problems.

Oxazepam may cause unwanted side effects, such as dizziness, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and nausea. Most side effects are mild and go away after taking the drug for a week or two. Less commonly, a patient may experience hallucinations, mental confusion, slowed heart rate, and fainting spells. Any negative effects should be reported to the prescribing doctor so the medication can be adjusted or swapped for another anxiety drug.

Addiction of oxazepam can develop if the drug is abused.
Addiction of oxazepam can develop if the drug is abused.

There are risks of addiction and overdose when taking oxazepam, especially if it is not used under the guidance of a doctor. A person may develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug after only a few doses. Signs of an acute overdose may include extreme sleepiness, amnesia, confusion, and loss of balance. Coma or sudden death can occur if detoxification treatment is not available following an overdose. When patients take the drug responsibly, however, they can usually enjoy major symptom relief without suffering serious complications.

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    • Drowsiness is one side effect of oxazepam.
      By: photopitu
      Drowsiness is one side effect of oxazepam.
    • People who take oxazepam or any other benzodiazepine should not discontinue use without consulting a doctor.
      By: LoloStock
      People who take oxazepam or any other benzodiazepine should not discontinue use without consulting a doctor.
    • Amnesia and confusion are signs of an acute overdose of oxazepam.
      By: chuugo
      Amnesia and confusion are signs of an acute overdose of oxazepam.
    • Increasing GABA levels with oxazepam can help someone with anxiety or sleeping problems.
      By: Johan Larson
      Increasing GABA levels with oxazepam can help someone with anxiety or sleeping problems.
    • Addiction of oxazepam can develop if the drug is abused.
      By: Jacek Chabraszewski
      Addiction of oxazepam can develop if the drug is abused.