Precautions and Warnings With Oxazepam
Among the conditions that you should tell your healthcare provider about before you take oxazepam are depression and liver disease. To reduce the chances of drug interactions, you should also tell your healthcare provider about all other drugs you are taking. Some other precautions and warnings with oxazepam include being aware of possible side effects and knowing who should avoid the drug entirely.
Oxazepam: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking oxazepam (Serax®) if you have:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse (see Oxazepam and Alcohol)
- A psychotic condition, such as schizophrenia
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Oxazepam Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking oxazepam include:
- Oxazepam can cause psychological and physical dependence. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking higher oxazepam doses for long periods of time (more than a few weeks). Because oxazepam can cause dependence, you should not stop taking oxazepam suddenly without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Oxazepam Withdrawal).
- Like all benzodiazepines, oxazepam is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing oxazepam. The drug is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Oxazepam Addiction).
- Oxazepam can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life threatening. This risk is increased when oxazepam is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Drug Interactions With Oxazepam for more information). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how oxazepam affects you.
- Oxazepam is not intended to treat psychotic conditions. Even though oxazepam may temporarily help with certain psychotic symptoms (such as anxiety or agitation), there are other treatments that are more appropriate and more effective.
- Oxazepam may cause depression or worsen preexisting depression in some people. Before you take oxazepam, you should make sure that your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of depression.
- Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of oxazepam and may need to be started with a low oxazepam dosage. Oxazepam may increase the risk of falling, which is especially dangerous in elderly people (who often have weak or brittle bones).
- Sometimes, people react to oxazepam in a way that is the opposite of what is usually expected. That is, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these effects.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, as your body may not handle oxazepam as well as it should.
- Oxazepam is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Oxazepam and Pregnancy).
- Oxazepam passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking oxazepam (see Oxazepam and Breastfeeding).