Skip to main content

Oxazepam Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 15, 2021.

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of oxazepam include: drowsiness. Other side effects include: dizziness, insomnia, vertigo, confusion, headache, and irritability. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to oxazepam: oral capsule

Warning

Oral route (Capsule)

Warning: Risks from Concomitant use with Opioids; Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction; and Dependence and Withdrawal ReactionsConcomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in 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.The use of benzodiazepines, including oxazepam, 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 oxazepam and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction.The continued use of benzodiazepines, including oxazepam, 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 oxazepam 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 oxazepam or reduce the dosage.

Side effects requiring immediate medical attention

Along with its needed effects, oxazepam may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking oxazepam:

Rare

  • Black, tarry stools
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fever with or without chills
  • headache
  • itching or rash
  • light-colored stools
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • painful or difficult urination
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • slurred speech
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • stomach pain
  • swelling
  • swollen glands
  • trouble breathing
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Incidence not known

  • Being forgetful
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • cough or hoarseness
  • decreased awareness or responsiveness
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • hallucinations
  • loss of bladder control
  • loss of memory
  • lower back or side pain
  • nightmares
  • pale skin
  • problems with memory
  • severe sleepiness
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking oxazepam:

Symptoms of overdose

  • Blurred vision
  • change in consciousness
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • loss of strength or energy
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • sweating
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness

Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention

Some side effects of oxazepam may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Rare

  • Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increased in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • increased interest in sexual intercourse
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
  • sensation of spinning

Incidence not known

  • Double vision
  • menstrual changes
  • seeing double

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to oxazepam: oral capsule, oral tablet

Nervous system

Rare (less than 0.1%): Slurred speech, tremor, ataxia

Frequency not reported: Drowsiness, amnesia, anterograde amnesia, reduced alertness, dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, headache, syncope, dysarthria, changes in EEG pattern, stupor, memory impairment[Ref]

Other

Rare (less than 0.1%): Edema

Frequency not reported: Fever, fatigue[Ref]

Genitourinary

Rare (less than 0.1%): Altered libido

Frequency not reported: Incontinence, urinary retention, menstrual irregularities[Ref]

Hepatic

Rare (less than 0.1%): Jaundice, hepatic impairment

Frequency not reported: Increased liver enzymes[Ref]

Hematologic

Rare (less than 0.1%): Leukopenia

Frequency not reported: Blood dyscrasias (including agranulocytosis)[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Frequency not reported: Hypotension[Ref]

Dermatologic

Rare (less than 0.1%): Minor diffuse skin rashes (morbilliform, urticarial and maculopapular)[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Rare (less than 0.1%):Nausea

Frequency not reported: Salivation changes, gastrointestinal disorders[Ref]

General

The most commonly reported side effects were drowsiness, headache, and fatigue.[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Frequency not reported: Muscle weakness[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, diplopia[Ref]

Psychiatric

Rare (less than 0.1%): Lethargy

Frequency not reported: Disorientation, nightmares, mild excitatory effects with stimulation of affect, numbed emotions, restlessness, agitation, irritability, delusions, rages, psychoses, inappropriate behavior, behavioral adverse effects (including paradoxical aggressive outbursts), excitement, hallucinations, uncovering of depression with suicidal tendencies, withdrawal symptoms (including persistent tinnitus, involuntary movements, paresthesia, perceptual changes, confusion, convulsions, muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, vomiting), aggression, euphoria[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Serax (oxazepam)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.