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Serax - Oxazepam - Anti-Anxiety Drug

Bipolar Medications Library

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Updated June 13, 2014

The medication Serax - generic oxazepam - is used for short-term relief of anxiety, tension, agitation and irritability. It's also used to treat anxiety associated with depression and with alcohol withdrawal. Serax is a benzodiazepine, and like all medications in that family there is the possibility of addiction if the drug is used too frequently or for too long. It is relatively fast-acting.

Serax - Oxazepam Side Effects

Common possible Serax side effects include drowsiness or lethargy, which should pass within a few days (if it does not, the dosage should be reduced). Less common Serax side effects include:
  • headache
  • tremor
  • edema (swelling)
  • dizziness
  • vertigo (trouble with balance)
  • slurred speech
  • nausea
  • altered libido (changes in sex drive)
For more, see Serax Side Effects.

Special Notes About Serax

According to the FDA, animal tests showed Serax to be significantly safer in terms of toxicity than either Librium (chlordiazepoxide) or Valium (diazepam). These tests also showed that the common therapeutic dosage of oxazepam is much lower than the amount that can cause dangerous side effects.

However, Serax should not be prescribed for patients with psychosis or any history of addictive behavior; those using it for alcohol withdrawal symptoms should be monitored closely during therapy.

Use in Pregnancy/Nursing

Because other drugs in this family have been shown to cause fetal abnormalities, it is recommended that this drug should not be taken during pregnancy, and a patient who becomes pregnant while taking oxazepam should discuss the advisability of discontinuing it with her doctor.

Serax is excreted in breast milk and should not be used by nursing mothers unless the expected benefit of the drug outweighs the risk to the baby.

Serax Withdrawal

Abrupt discontinuation of oxazepam or any other benzodiazepine, especially after extended therapy, can cause mild to severe withdrawal effects. It is better to taper the dosage off gradually whenever possible, and better still to take the drug only for short-term therapy.

Serax Precautions and Warnings

Patients taking Serax should not drive or undertaking other hazardous activities until they know how they are reacting to the medication. Combining Serax with alcohol or other agents that depress the central nervous system could result in serious complications. Some sources say that oxazepam should not be used in cases of serious depression.

Disclaimer: This profile is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

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