Prescription Drug Information: Chlordiazepoxide Hydrochloride

CHLORDIAZEPOXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE- chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsule
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

WARNING: RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH OPIOIDS; ABUSE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION; and DEPENDENCE AND WITHDRAWAL REACTIONS

  • Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS).
  • The use of benzodiazepines, including chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsules, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsules and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction (see WARNINGS).
  • The continued use of benzodiazepines, including chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsules, may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsules after continued use may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride capsules or reduce the dosage (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS).

DESCRIPTION

Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride, USP is the prototype for the benzodiazepine compounds. It is a versatile therapeutic agent of proven value for the relief of anxiety. Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride, USP is among the safer of the effective psychopharmacologic compounds available, as demonstrated by extensive clinical evidence.

Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride, USP is 7-chloro-2- (methylamino)-5-phenyl-3H -1,4-benzodiazepine 4-oxide hydrochloride. A white to practically white crystalline substance, it is soluble in water. It is unstable in solution and the powder must be protected from light. The structural formula is:

Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride structural formula
(click image for full-size original)

C16 H14 ClN3 O • HCl M.W. 336.22

Each capsule, for oral administration, contains either 5 mg, 10 mg or 25 mg of chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride, USP and has the following inactive ingredients: anhydrous lactose, D&C yellow no. 10, FD&C blue no. 1, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake, gelatin, hydrogenated vegetable oil, microcrystalline cellulose, pharmaceutical glaze, and titanium dioxide. The 5 mg and 25 mg also contain D&C yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, FD&C blue no. 2 aluminum lake, FD&C red no. 40 aluminum lake, propylene glycol, and synthetic black iron oxide. In addition, the 5 mg contains D&C red no. 33 and the 10 mg also contains butyl paraben, edetate calcium disodium, dimethyl polysiloxane, ethylene glycol monoethyl ether, FD&C red no. 40, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, sodium, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium propionate, and soya lecithin.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Chlordiazepoxide HCl has antianxiety, sedative, appetite-stimulating and weak analgesic actions. The precise mechanism of action is not known. The drug blocks EEG arousal from stimulation of the brain stem reticular formation. It takes several hours for peak blood levels to be reached and the half-life of the drug is between 24 and 48 hours. After the drug is discontinued plasma levels decline slowly over a period of several days. Chlordiazepoxide is excreted in the urine, with 1% to 2% unchanged and 3% to 6% as a conjugate.

Animal Pharmacology

The drug has been studied extensively in many species of animals and these studies are suggestive of action on the limbic system of the brain, which recent evidence indicates is involved in emotional responses.

Hostile monkeys were made tame by oral drug doses which did not cause sedation. Chlordiazepoxide HCl revealed a “taming” action with the elimination of fear and aggression. The taming effect of chlordiazepoxide HCl was further demonstrated in rats made vicious by lesions in the septal area of the brain. The drug dosage which effectively blocked the vicious reaction was well below the dose which caused sedation in these animals.

The LD50 of parenterally administered chlordiazepoxide HCl was determined in mice (72 hours) and rats (5 days), and calculated according to the method of Miller and Tainter, with the following results: mice, IV, 123 ± 12 mg/kg; mice, IM, 366 ± 7 mg/kg; rats, IV, 120 ± 7 mg/kg; rats, IM, > 160 mg/kg.

Effects on Reproduction

Reproduction studies in rats fed 10, 20 and 80 mg/kg daily and bred through one or two matings showed no congenital anomalies, nor were there adverse effects on lactation of the dams or growth of the newborn. However, in another study at 100 mg/kg daily there was noted a significant decrease in the fertilization rate and a marked decrease in the viability and body weight of offspring which may be attributable to sedative activity, thus resulting in lack of interest in mating and lessened maternal nursing and care of the young. One neonate in each of the first and second matings in the rat reproduction study at the 100 mg/kg dose exhibited major skeletal defects. Further studies are in progress to determine the significance of these findings.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Chlordiazepoxide HCl capsules are indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short term relief of symptoms of anxiety, withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism, and preoperative apprehension and anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.

The effectiveness of chlordiazepoxide HCl capsules in long term use, that is, more than 4 months, has not been assessed by systematic clinical studies. The physician should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Chlordiazepoxide HCl capsules are contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to the drug.

WARNINGS

Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids

Concomitant use of benzodiazepines, including chlordiazepoxide, and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.

Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioids alone. If a decision is made to prescribe chlordiazepoxide concomitantly with opioids, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use, and follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of chlordiazepoxide than indicated in the absence of an opioid and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid is initiated in a patient already taking chlordiazepoxide, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid and titrate based upon clinical response.

Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when chlordiazepoxide is used with opioids. Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use with the opioid have been determined (see DRUG INTERACTIONS).

Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction

The use of benzodiazepines, including chlordiazepoxide, exposes users to the risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines often (but not always) involve the use of doses greater than the maximum recommended dosage and commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes, including respiratory depression, overdose, or death (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Abuse).

Before prescribing chlordiazepoxide and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction (e.g., using a standardized screening tool). Use of chlordiazepoxide, particularly in patients at elevated risk, necessitates counseling about the risks and proper use of chlordiazepoxide along with monitoring for signs and symptoms of abuse, misuse, and addiction. Prescribe the lowest effective dosage; avoid or minimize concomitant use of CNS depressants and other substances associated with abuse, misuse, and addiction (e.g., opioid analgesics, stimulants); and advise patients on the proper disposal of unused drug. If a substance use disorder is suspected, evaluate the patient and institute (or refer them for) early treatment, as appropriate.

Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions

To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue chlordiazepoxide or reduce the dosage (a patient-specific plan should be used to taper the dose) (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Discontinuation or Dosage Reduction of chlordiazepoxide).

Patients at an increased risk of withdrawal adverse reactions after benzodiazepine discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction include those who take higher dosages, and those who have had longer durations of use.

Acute Withdrawal Reactions

The continued use of benzodiazepines, including chlordiazepoxide, may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of chlordiazepoxide after continued use, or administration of flumazenil (a benzodiazepine antagonist) may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening (e.g., seizures) (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Dependence).

Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome

In some cases, benzodiazepine users have developed a protracted withdrawal syndrome with withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks to more than 12 months (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Dependence).

Chlordiazepoxide HCl may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a vehicle or operating machinery. Similarly, it may impair mental alertness in children. The concomitant use of alcohol or other central nervous system depressants may have an additive effect. PATIENTS SHOULD BE WARNED ACCORDINGLY.

Usage in Pregnancy

An increased risk of congenital malformations associated with the use of minor tranquilizers (chlordiazepoxide, diazepam and meprobamate) during the first trimester of pregnancy has been suggested in several studies. Because use of these drugs is rarely a matter of urgency, their use during this period should almost always be avoided. The possibility that a woman of childbearing potential may be pregnant at the time of institution of therapy should be considered. Patients should be advised that if they become pregnant during therapy or intend to become pregnant they should communicate with their physicians about the desirability of discontinuing the drug.

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