Clorazepate is a medication used in individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. Available in tablet form, the drug targets abnormal activity in the signals of the brain. Once this activity has been eliminated or lessened to normal levels, the feelings of anxiety that have been plaguing the individual recede.
In addition to anxiety disorders, clorazepate can also be effective in the treatment of other conditions, usually when combined with another medication. For instance, some medical professionals will prescribe the medication to control seizures. Typically, these prescriptions will begin with a low dose to allow the body to adjust to the medication. Once it has begun the adjustment, the dosage is slowly increased until the seizures have been satisfactorily managed.
Clorazepate can also be used to control the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. In these cases, the prescription dosage is often the reverse of that prescribed for other illnesses; the original dosage is high, and as the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol in the system, the dosing is lowered until the individual is weaned off both alcohol and the medication.
Many of the side effects of clorazepate are mild. As the drug interferes with the chemical signals in the brain, a number of the side effects have neurological implications and impact thought processes. Drowsiness and fatigue, headaches and dizziness are all common, and generally disappear once the body adjusts to the medication. An individual may find instances of confusion or disorientation, and some may feel nervous without knowing why. These symptoms typically disappear fairly soon after beginning the medication as well.
There have been other, more specific side effects that have been reported by a number of individuals who have taken the medication. Thoughts of suicide are a serious but relatively rare side effect. There have also been reports of mania, panic attacks and even acting out because of strange thoughts. Close friends and family should watch for extreme changes in mood and behavior; this can include talk of suicide, aggressiveness, emotional withdrawal or preoccupation.
Other serious side effects of clorazepate can include shaking, vision problems, difficulty speaking and impaired balance. These are typically a sign that the body is not adapting to the drug, and medical professionals will often consider stopping treatment and trying something else. There is no complete list of side effects for the drug, and any strange symptoms, either physical or mental, should be reported. Taking herbal remedies or over-the-counter drugs may make symptoms worse, and consulting with a health professional before taking them is always recommended.