You will be prescribed oxazepam for anxiety for a short period of time only - from a few days to a maximum of four weeks.
Taking oxazepam will make you feel sleepy. It will also increase the time it takes for you to react, so it may impair your judgement. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.
Do not drink alcohol while you are on oxazepam.
|Type of medicine||Benzodiazepine|
Most people feel anxious from time to time. Anxiety is normal in stressful situations and can even be helpful. However, anxiety can become abnormal if it appears for no apparent reason, or if it is out of proportion to a stressful situation or if it continues after a stressful situation has passed.
Oxazepam is an anti-anxiety medicine which is prescribed for short periods of time to help ease symptoms of anxiety. It also helps to relieve sleeplessness when this is caused by being anxious.
Oxazepam works by affecting the way some chemicals in your brain (neurotransmitters) pass messages to brain cells - this has a calming effect. It also helps by relaxing tense muscles.
Before taking oxazepam
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking oxazepam it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any breathing problems or sleep apnoea (a problem where you stop breathing for short periods at night).
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have a mental health problem, such as a personality disorder.
- If you have ever had a drug or alcohol addiction.
- If you have severe muscle weakness, such as in a condition called myasthenia gravis.
- If you have porphyria (a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take oxazepam
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about oxazepam and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take oxazepam exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will tell you how much to take and when to take it, and the directions will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. As a guide, it is usual to take one or two tablets three times a day. If you are taking it because you are having difficulty sleeping, you may be prescribed tablets to take at bedtime only.
- Try to take oxazepam at the same times of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take it.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it when you remember. If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take them before or after food.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Remember to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Taking oxazepam will increase the time it takes for you to react and may impair your judgement. Because of this, your ability to drive could be affected. You may also still feel sleepy the following day. Do not drive or use tools or machines if this happens to you.
- You should not drink alcohol while you are on oxazepam. It will increase the risk of side-effects.
- Oxazepam is taken for short periods of time only, often for just a few days. It will not be for longer than four weeks, as this may lead to your feeling dependent on it. Also, your body gets used to it quickly, and after this time it is unlikely to have the same effect.
- Your doctor will recommend that you reduce your dose gradually when it is time to stop. Follow carefully any instructions your doctor gives to you.
- If you are having any medical treatment, such as an operation, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking oxazepam. This is because it may increase the effects of some anaesthetics.
- If you need to buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with oxazepam.
Can oxazepam cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common oxazepam side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sleepy, weak, or light-headed (this may continue into the following day)||Do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Forgetfulness, feeling confused or unsteady||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling (or being) aggressive||This can happen in some people - let your doctor know about it as soon as possible|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store oxazepam
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Oxazepam Tablets 10 mg, 15 mg, Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2009.
- British National Formulary; 65th Edition (Mar 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 11/05/2013||Document ID: 1438 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.