Side Effects of Tranxene

Tranxene is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication, clorazepate. The drug is prescribed most often to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders, although it is also sometimes used as a muscle relaxant, to ease alcohol withdrawal, or to treat seizure disorders.

Unfortunately, Tranxene can also be misused, which may lead to addiction. This page will go over some important information about Tranxene, its dangers and side effects, and how a Tranxene addiction can be safely treated.

How Is Tranxene Prescribed, and Why Is It Addictive?

Man with his hands on his head, struggling with Tranxene addictionThis medication, like other benzodiazepines, can cause powerful physiological dependence, meaning someone may experience withdrawal symptoms when they go without the substance after taking it for extended time periods. Because of this, Tranxene is usually not prescribed for more than two weeks at a time.

It should also be noted that physical dependence is only one possible component of an addiction (i.e., substance use disorder), and that someone may experience benzo withdrawal symptoms even after taking Tranxene according to the directions of a medical professional. This, by itself, would not constitute a substance use disorder (SUD).

Tranxene Side Effects

General side effects from Tranxene include:

  • Sleepiness, fatigue, or drowsiness.
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination.
  • Weakness.
  • Appetite changes and abdominal upset.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Diarrhea.

People who take this medication for short-term relief of anxiety or insomnia are typically instructed not to drive cars or operate heavy machinery due to the residual sleepiness or lightheadedness that can occur.

It is also very important that people taking Tranxene do not drink alcohol or use other drugs like opioids, because this raises the risk of overdose and other complications. However, people who misuse Tranxene often do so by mixing it with other drugs, which can be physically dangerous and complicate withdrawal symptoms when someone tries to quit their substance use.

The Brain and Tranxene

Tranxene and other benzodiazepines have strong effects on the brain, which can include changes to mood, emotions, or behavior. Here are a few mental state changes:

  • Oversedation: This can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, the individual may be taking too much Tranxene in order to experience a “high,” or they may intentionally avoid going to sleep after taking the medication. Sometimes, oversedation is accidental, such as if the prescribed dose is too large, or the individual did not get enough sleep during the night for the medication to completely wear off. This effect is the result of benzodiazepines’ sedative/hypnotic qualities, which reduce anxiety or lead to sleep, but it can also cause poor coordination and concentration, confusion, and, in very high doses, delirium.
  • Memory problems: Tranxene can cause amnesia or blackouts. For some people, this is an accidental result, which improves when they end their prescription; for others, however, amnesia or the inability to form memories for a specific period of time gets worse as they continue to misuse this medication or struggle with an addiction.
  • Depression or anhedonia: People who take too many sedatives like Tranxene can experience consistent low moods, likely due to changes to brain chemistry and structure.
  • Return of anxiety or insomnia: Sometimes, benzodiazepines like Tranxene can excite the neurons, which is called paradoxical excitement. This can lead to a return of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, aggression, nightmares, hallucinations, and even seizures.

People who have taken Tranxene for a long period of time, especially due to addiction or substance use issues, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A comprehensive study found that people who took benzodiazepines for 3-6 months had increased their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 32 percent, while people who took these substances for longer than six months increased their risk by 84 percent.

Tranxene and the Body

The primary effects of Tranxene are changes to the brain, but body systems can be negatively impacted by these medications too. Here are a few complications that can occur when taking large doses of Tranxene or misusing Tranxene for a long time:

  • Abdominal problems: Some of the early side effects of Tranxene, and other benzodiazepines, are digestive problems. Abdominal cramping can occur, as well as nausea or vomiting. People who struggle with Tranxene addiction can experience diarrhea. When a person uses Tranxene for a long period of time, abdominal problems can become a more chronic issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, or hiatus hernia.
  • Liver failure: Benzodiazepines, including Tranxene, are typically not toxic to the liver; however, in large doses or when used by people who already struggle with alcohol use disorder, these medications can be very damaging. Alcohol damages the liver, and benzodiazepines like Tranxene are sometimes prescribed off-label to treat withdrawal symptoms from alcohol detox. Benzodiazepines can be very addictive to people who already struggle with other substance use issues, and they can increase liver toxicity among people who have some damage to their livers.
  • Endocrine system: Tranxene has been linked in some cases to effects on the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which can lead to changes in hormone balance. These changes can affect mood and lead to male breast growth, changes in the menstrual cycle, weight gain or loss, and more.

Tranxene withdrawal symptoms can also cause serious problems like irregular heartbeat and even seizures, which can be fatal without medical intervention.

If a person attempts to stop taking Tranxene without medical oversight, they are more likely to experience protracted withdrawal. People suffering this condition experience withdrawal symptoms for weeks or months, and they can experience cravings and some psychological symptoms for years after detoxing from the medication.

As with all benzodiazepines, medical detox may be necessary to help someone safely withdraw from Tranxene.

Symptoms of Tranxene Addiction

woman clenching stomach during painful withdrawal from TranxeneA person who becomes dependent on Tranxene may or may not also be addicted to this medication. Dependence can be used as a metric for determining addiction, but it is not the only sign. Addiction is a chronic mental condition involving compulsive consumption of an intoxicating substance, such as Tranxene, alcohol, or oxycodone.

Other symptoms of addiction include:

  • An inability to stop taking Tranxene despite desire to do so.
  • Neglecting work, school, or personal activities or responsibilities to use Tranxene.
  • Using Tranxene in situations where it is dangerous to do so.
  • Experiencing Tranxene cravings.

For a complete list of the criteria clinicians use when diagnosing addiction, see our guide to addiction signs and symptoms.

Getting Help for Tranxene Addiction

Fortunately, Tranxene addiction is a treatable condition.

The first step to recovery is often contacting a medical professional or addiction rehabilitation program. A doctor will work with the patient to come up with a safe program to withdraw from Tranxene, which most often includes tapering off the medication.

While detox is an important part of addiction treatment, long-term recovery typically requires continued treatment.

In a rehabilitation program, patients shift unhealthy thought patterns and develop the necessary skills to remain in recovery. Addiction treatment is a highly individualized process, and the ideal duration of treatment (i.e., short-term rehab, month-long treatment, or long-term addiction treatment), treatment setting, use of medication, and addiction treatment therapies vary between individuals.

For example, for situations involving co-occurring disorders or if the patient lacks a stable home environment, inpatient care may be required. If a person has a strong support system at home and responsibilities that can’t be shifted, outpatient treatment may suffice.

There are various factors, such as age, gender, medical needs, geographical location, and insurance coverage, that will also guide the decision regarding the type of addiction treatment prescribed.

You can verify your insurance at Recovery First by submitting the confidential .

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