How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Clorazepate belongs to the class of medications known as benzodiazepines. It is used for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. It may also be used under medical supervision to help with alcohol withdrawal. It works by slowing down the nervous system.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

3.75 mg
Each capsule with grey body and white cap contains 3.75 mg of clorazepate dipotassium.

7.5 mg
Each capsule with grey body and maroon cap contains 7.5 mg of clorazepate dipotassium.

15 mg
Each capsule with grey body with grey cap contains 15 mg of clorazepate dipotassium.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of clorazepate usually ranges from approximately 3.75 mg to 60 mg daily in divided doses. The usual adult daily dose is 30 mg. This medication is habit-forming when used for extended periods of time. Do not use this medication in higher doses or for longer periods than prescribed.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones above, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take clorazepate if you:

  • are allergic to clorazepate, any ingredients of the medication, or any other medications belonging to the benzodiazepine class (e.g., diazepam, lorazepam)
  • have acute angle-closure glaucoma
  • have myasthenia gravis

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • upset stomach

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abnormal thinking (disorientation, delusions, or loss of sense of reality)
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • behavioural changes, including:
    • aggressiveness
    • angry outbursts
    • bizarre behaviour
    • decreased inhibition
  • blurred vision
  • convulsions (seizures)
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • hallucinations
  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • memory loss
  • muscle weakness
  • skin rash or itching
  • sore throat, fever, and chills
  • ulcers or sores in the mouth or throat
  • uncontrolled movements of body, including the eyes
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability
  • unusual tiredness or weakness (severe)
  • yellow eyes or skin

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

Symptoms of overdose:

  • coma
  • confusion
  • poor coordination
  • severe drowsiness

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Since clorazepate causes drowsiness and sedation, avoid activities that require mental alertness and physical coordination, such as driving or operating dangerous machinery, if the medication affects you in this way. The effects of alcohol on such activities may be increased.

Medical conditions: If you have depression, psychosis, or an addiction to alcohol or other drugs, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Withdrawal: Clorazepate can become habit-forming. Withdrawal symptoms similar to those occurring with other medications of this class, including alcohol, have been observed after stopping the medication suddenly (after having taken it regularly over a period of time). The symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramps
  • agitation
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • extreme anxiety
  • headache
  • irritability
  • memory impairment
  • muscle pain
  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • sleep problems
  • tension
  • tremors
  • vomiting

Reducing the dose gradually can help prevent or decrease these withdrawal symptoms. Do not try to do this on your own - ask your doctor for help.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking clorazepate, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: Seniors may have a higher risk of drowsiness and poor coordination while taking this medication. Ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk of falls.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be in interaction between clorazepate and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital)
  • birth control pills
  • carbamazepine
  • cimetidine
  • clarithromycin
  • disulfiram
  • erythromycin
  • fluconazole
  • fluoxetine
  • fluvoxamine
 
  • indinavir
  • narcotic-containing medications (e.g., codeine)
  • omeprazole
  • phenothiazines (e.g., chlorpromazine)
  • quinolones (e.g., ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin)
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • ritonavir
  • theophyllines (e.g., aminophylline, oxtriphylline, theophylline)
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.