Antianxiety medicines for alcohol withdrawal

Antianxiety medicines can help control some withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Examples of these medications include:

  • Diazepam (Valium).
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
  • Oxazepam (Serax).
  • Lorazepam (Ativan).

These are considered muscle-relaxing medicines, which work by depressing the central nervous system. They are also called sedatives. Antianxiety medicines are usually safe to treat alcohol withdrawal, but they are not given over a long period of time because they can become addictive.

Side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and urinary retention. If you are an older adult or have liver disease, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.

For more information about antianxiety medicines, see Drug Reference. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

Last Updated: January 26, 2010

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