Serax (Oxazepam) | Uses, Side Effects, & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication that’s used to treat alcohol withdrawal and anxiety disorders. While the drug can be beneficial in some cases, it has the potential for abuse and unwanted side effects.

Oxazepam (brand name Serax) is a benzodiazepine prescription drug used to help treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Serax is a Schedule IV controlled substance with abuse.

Uses Of Serax

Not only is Serax used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, but it also assists in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Some of the symptoms the drug helps to alleviate consist of agitation and irritability.

The half-life of Serax is around 8 hours, and the drug helps to slow down the nervous system and bind to the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain.

When this takes place, sedation and other effects occur. Those who take the medication as prescribed may experience side effects. For those who participate in Serax abuse, the side effects may become more serious.

Side Effects Of Serax

Before taking Serax, consult the medical advice of your doctor.

Common Side Effects

The short-term, common side effects of oxazepam may include:

  • sedation
  • dry mouth
  • stomach pain
  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • changes in appetite

Serious Side Effects

More severe and concerning side effects can also take place, which may incude:

  • memory impairment
  • low blood pressure
  • physical dependence
  • erectile dysfunction in men
  • changes in mental health such as anxiety or depression

Serax (Oxazepam) Warnings

There are various warnings those who take Serax should be aware of. Serax may not be the preferred medication for some due to drug interactions and pre-existing conditions.

Dependence, Withdrawal, & Addiction

Per the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the withdrawal symptoms of Serax that may occur when you stop use include:

  • tremors
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • excessive sweating
  • sleeping difficulties
  • muscle cramps

Those who abuse Serax and experience withdrawal symptoms once the medication has been stopped have likely developed a physical dependence to the drug. After certain lengths of time, Serax misuse can lead to altered chemicals in the brain, resulting in addiction.

Participating in Serax misuse can lead to a substance use disorder which may require treatment at a rehab center.

Serax Overdose

The use of benzodiazepines or other antidepressants along with Serax can greatly increase the risk of respiratory depression and other life-threatening health problems when combined, including severe toxicity.

When taken in large quantities or via a route of administration not as prescribed, an oxazepam overdose can take place.

Symptoms of a Serax overdose may consist of:

  • blurred vision
  • ataxia
  • slurred speech
  • weakness
  • trouble breathing
  • psychosis
  • seizures
  • hypotension
  • coma

If a Serax overdose is expected, seek medical help immediately. Contact 911 to receive urgent medical treatment and prevent a fatal overdose from taking place.

Drug Interactions

Consult the medication guide before taking Serax. The drug must be kept at room temperature and not combined with other substances.

Various drug interactions can take place when Serax is combined with other substances, such as:

  • supplements or vitamins
  • antihistamines
  • alcohol
  • stimulants
  • antidepressants
  • opioids
  • other CNS depressants
  • muscle relaxants
  • tranquilizers

Additionally, Serax should not be combined with other benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium). 

Geriatric Concerns

Those who suffer from heart, lung, or liver disease should avoid Serax, as the medication can make these conditions worsen.

Older adults should speak with their healthcare professional before taking Serax, as it is not desirable for geriatric patients. However, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of oxazepam since it is offered in various dosage forms.

Pediatric Concerns

Mothers who are breastfeeding should avoid Serax, as the benzodiazepine can pass from mother to child via breast milk. According to the FDA, pediatric patients should not take the drug, as it can be harmful to someone so young.

Serax Addiction Treatment

To treat benzodiazepine addiction, consider inpatient substance abuse treatment. At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer a wide-range of addiction recovery services for prescription drug use, including group therapy, individual therapy, peer support, and more.

For more information on our inpatient treatment program, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Benzodiazepines
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Oxazepam
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxazepam
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxazepam Overdose
  5. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Oxazepam

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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