In elderly and debilitated patients, it is recommended that the dosage be limited to the smallest effective amount to preclude the development of ataxia or oversedation (10 mg or less per day initially, to be increased gradually as needed and tolerated). In general, the concomitant administration of chlordiazepoxide and other psychotropic agents is not recommended. If such combination therapy seems indicated, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed particularly when the known potentiating compounds such as MAO inhibitors and phenothiazines are to be used. The usual precautions in treating patients with impaired renal or hepatic function should be observed.
Paradoxical reactions, e.g., excitement, stimulation and acute rage, have been reported in psychiatric patients and in hyperactive aggressive pediatric patients, and should be watched for during chlordiazepoxide therapy. The usual precautions are indicated when chlordiazepoxide is used in the treatment of anxiety states where there is any evidence of impending depression; it should be borne in mind that suicidal tendencies may be present and protective measures may be necessary. Although clinical studies have not established a cause and effect relationship, physicians should be aware that variable effects on blood coagulation have been reported very rarely in patients receiving oral anticoagulants and chlordiazepoxide. In view of isolated reports associating chlordiazepoxide with exacerbation of porphyria, caution should be exercised in prescribing chlordiazepoxide to patients suffering from this disease.
Because of the varied response of pediatric patients to CNS-acting drugs, therapy should be initiated with the lowest dose and increased as required (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Since clinical experience with chlordiazepoxide in pediatric patients under 6 years of age is limited, use in this age group is not recommended. Hyperactive aggressive pediatric patients should be monitored for paradoxical reactions to chlordiazepoxide (see PRECAUTIONS).
Information for Patients
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling ( Medication Guide).
Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risk of potentially fatal respiratory depression and sedation when chlordiazepoxide is used with opioids and not to use such drugs concomitantly unless supervised by a healthcare provider. Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use with the opioid have been determined (see WARNINGS: Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids and PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions).
Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction
Inform patients that the use of chlordiazepoxide, even at recommended dosages, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death, especially when used in combination with other medications (e.g., opioid analgesics), alcohol, and/or illicit substances. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse, misuse, and addiction; to seek medical help if they develop these signs and/or symptoms; and on the proper disposal of unused drug (see WARNINGS: Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction and DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
Inform patients that the continued use of chlordiazepoxide may lead to clinically significant physical dependence and that abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of chlordiazepoxide may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. Inform patients that in some cases, patients taking benzodiazepines have developed a protracted withdrawal syndrome with withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks to more than 12 months. Instruct patients that discontinuation or dosage reduction of chlordiazepoxide may require a slow taper (see WARNINGS: Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions and DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
Advise pregnant females that use of chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride late in pregnancy can result in sedation (respiratory depression, lethargy, hypotonia) and/or withdrawal symptoms (hyperreflexia, irritability, restlessness, tremors, inconsolable crying, and feeding difficulties) in newborns (see Warnings, Neonatal Sedation and Withdrawal Syndrome and Precautions, Pregnancy).
Instruct patients to inform their healthcare provider if they are pregnant.
Advise patients that there is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride during pregnancy ( see Precautions, Pregnancy) .
Advise patients that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride (see Precautions, Nursing Mothers).
The concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids increases the risk of respiratory depression because of actions at different receptor sites in the CNS that control respiration. Benzodiazepines interact at GABAA sites and opioids interact primarily at mu receptors. When benzodiazepines and opioids are combined, the potential for benzodiazepines to significantly worsen opioid-related respiratory depression exists.
Limit dosage and duration of concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids, and monitor patients closely for respiratory depression and sedation.
Pregnancy Exposure Registry
There is a pregnancy registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to psychiatric medications, including chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride, during pregnancy. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register patients by calling the National Pregnancy Registry for Psychiatric Medications at 1-866-961-2388 or visiting online at https://womensmentalhealth.org/pregnancyregistry/.
Infants born to mothers using benzodiazepines late in pregnancy have been reported to experience symptoms of sedation and/or neonatal withdrawal (see WARNINGS, Neonatal Sedation and Withdrawal Syndrome, and Clinical Considerations). Available data from published observational studies of pregnant women exposed to benzodiazepines do not report a clear association with benzodiazepines and major birth defects ( see Data).
The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated risk of major birth defects and of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions
Benzodiazepines cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression, hypotonia and sedation in neonates. Monitor neonates exposed to chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride during pregnancy or labor for signs of sedation, respiratory depression, hypotonia, and feeding problems Monitor neonates exposed to chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride during pregnancy for signs of withdrawal. Manage these neonates accordingly (see WARNINGS, Neonatal Sedation and Withdrawal Syndrome).
Published data from observational studies on the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy do not report a clear association with benzodiazepines and major birth defects. Although early studies reported an increased risk of congenital malformations with diazepam and chlordiazepoxide, there was no consistent pattern noted. In addition, the majority of more recent case-control and cohort studies of benzodiazepine use during pregnancy, which were adjusted for confounding exposures to alcohol, tobacco and other medications, have not confirmed these findings.
There are no data on the presence of chlordiazepoxide in human milk. There are reports of sedation, poor feeding and poor weight gain in infants exposed to benzodiazepines through breast milk. Because of chlordiazepoxide’s long half-life, the potential for chlordiazepoxide to accumulate in breast milk and the potential for serious adverse reactions, including sedation and withdrawal symptoms in breastfed neonates and infants, advise patients that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride.
The necessity of discontinuing therapy because of undesirable effects has been rare. Drowsiness, ataxia and confusion have been reported in some patients particularly the elderly and debilitated. While these effects can be avoided in almost all instances by proper dosage adjustment, they have occasionally been observed at the lower dosage ranges.
In a few instances syncope has been reported.
Other adverse reactions reported during therapy include isolated instances of skin eruptions, edema, minor menstrual irregularities, nausea and constipation, extrapyramidal symptoms, as well as increased and decreased libido. Such side effects have been infrequent, and are generally controlled with reduction of dosage. Changes in EEG patterns (low-voltage fast activity) have been observed in patients during and after chlordiazepoxide treatment.
Blood dyscrasias (including agranulocytosis), jaundice and hepatic dysfunction have occasionally been reported during therapy. When chlordiazepoxide treatment is protracted, periodic blood counts and liver function tests are advisable.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Chartwell RX, LLC. at 1-845-232-1683 or FDA at 1- 800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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