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Oxazepam

Generic name: oxazepam (ox A ze pam)
Brand name: Serax
Dosage forms: oral capsule (10 mg; 15 mg; 30 mg)
Drug class: Benzodiazepines

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 20, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is oxazepam?

Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen) that is used to treat anxiety disorders.

Oxazepam may also be used short-term to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Oxazepam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Warnings

Oxazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication or alcohol.

MISUSE OF oxazepam CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep this medicine where others cannot get to it.

Do not stop using oxazepam without asking your doctor. You may have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medicine suddenly after long-term use. Some withdrawal symptoms may last up to 12 months or longer.

Get medical help right away if you stop using oxazepam and have symptoms such as: unusual muscle movements, being more active or talkative, sudden and severe changes in mood or behavior, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, or thoughts about suicide.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to oxazepam, or if you have mental illness and psychosis.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Oxazepam may harm an unborn baby. Avoid taking this medicine during the first trimester of pregnancy.

If you use oxazepam during pregnancy, your baby could be born with life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, and may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using this medicine.

Not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.

How should I take oxazepam?

Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Never use oxazepam in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to use more of oxazepam.

Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medicine where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Do not stop using oxazepam without asking your doctor. You may have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medicine suddenly after long-term use.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep your medicine in a place where no one can use it improperly.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of oxazepam can be fatal if you take it with alcohol, opioid medicine, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

Overdose symptoms may include drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, or loss of consciousness.

What should I avoid while taking oxazepam?

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how oxazepam will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Oxazepam side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Oxazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication or alcohol. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe drowsiness;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • unusual changes in mood or behavior;

  • confusion, anger, paranoia, problems with memory or concentration;

  • tremors, slurred speech, problems with balance or muscle movement;

  • a seizure;

  • trouble breathing; or

  • upper stomach pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Drowsiness or dizziness may last longer in older adults. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;

  • dizziness, spinning sensation; or

  • headache.

After you stop using oxazepam, get medical help right away if you have symptoms such as: unusual muscle movements, being more active or talkative, sudden and severe changes in mood or behavior, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, suicidal thoughts or actions.

Some withdrawal symptoms may last up to 12 months or longer after stopping this medicine suddenly. Tell your doctor if you have ongoing anxiety, depression, problems with memory or thinking, trouble sleeping, ringing in your ears, a burning or prickly feeling, or a crawling sensation under your skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Oxazepam dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Anxiety:

10 to 15 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Use: Management of mild-to-moderate anxiety, with associated tension, irritability, agitation, or related symptoms of functional origin or secondary to organic disease:

15 to 30 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Use: Management of severe anxiety syndromes, agitation, or anxiety associated with depression

Usual Adult Dose for Alcohol Withdrawal:

15 to 30 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Use: Relief of symptoms in alcoholics with acute inebriation, tremulousness, or anxiety on withdrawal

Usual Geriatric Dose for Anxiety:

10 mg orally, 3 times per day; if needed, increase cautiously to 15 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Use: Management of anxiety, tension, irritability, and agitation in older patients

Usual Pediatric Dose for Anxiety:

13 years and older:
10 to 15 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Comments:
-The absolute dosage for patients 6 to 12 years is not established.

Use: Management of mild-to-moderate anxiety, with associated tension, irritability, agitation, or related symptoms of functional origin or secondary to organic disease:

15 to 30 mg orally, 3 or 4 times per day

Comments:
-The absolute dosage for patients 6 to 12 years is not established.

Use: Management of severe anxiety syndromes, agitation, or anxiety associated with depression

What other drugs will affect oxazepam?

Taking oxazepam with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Other drugs may affect oxazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Does Oxazepam interact with my other drugs?

Enter other medications to view a detailed report.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.