Generic Name: oxazepam (ox A ze pam)
Brand Name: Serax
What is Serax (oxazepam)?
Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen). Oxazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety.
Oxazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Oxazepam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Serax (oxazepam)?
Never use oxazepam in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Serax (oxazepam)?
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to oxazepam or other benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, Ativan, Valium, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
To make sure oxazepam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a history of depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts or behavior;
a history of drug or alcohol addiction;
liver or kidney disease; or
if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.
Do not use oxazepam if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects. Your baby could also become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking oxazepam.
Oxazepam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using oxazepam.
Oxazepam is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.
How should I take Serax (oxazepam)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Never use oxazepam in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
Oxazepam may be habit-forming. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
While using oxazepam, you may need frequent blood tests.
Oxazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medicine for longer than your doctor recommends.
Do not stop using oxazepam suddenly or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including a seizure (convulsions). Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Call your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your anxiety symptoms.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Oxazepam is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
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, especially if you take it with alcohol.
Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, weakness, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, fainting, or coma.
What should I avoid while taking Serax (oxazepam)?
Do not drink alcohol while taking oxazepam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.
This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
The sedative effects of oxazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking oxazepam.
Serax (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.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
tremors, weakness, slurred speech;
sudden restless feeling or excitement;
confusion, anger, aggression;
hallucinations, feelings of extreme happiness;
problems with balance or walking;
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
sudden weakness or ill feeling, fever, chills, sore throat.
Common side effects may include:
dizziness, spinning sensation;
feeling restless or excited;
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Serax (oxazepam)?
Taking oxazepam with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with oxazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Serax (oxazepam)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about oxazepam.
- 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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.02.
Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: September 13, 2016