How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

How Long Will Librium Show Up on a Drug Test? | PTH

How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

Many drugs, whether legal or illegal, can show up on a drug test. This reality raises concern among people who take prescription medications, including those who use the benzodiazepine drug Librium, the trade name for chlordiazepoxide.

Librium, a sedative-hypnotic used to treat anxiety and insomnia disorders and acute alcohol withdrawal, is suited for short-term use and should be taken as prescribed by a doctor.

The drug slows down the central nervous system.

During this time, it enhances the effects ofgamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain, and helps patients control their anxiety as well and other moods and behaviors that their stress may affect.

Understanding the Half-Life of a Drug

How long Librium stays in one’s system depends on several factors, including the drug’s half-life. “Half-life” is the amount of time it takes for a dose of the drug to be reduced by half in the blood plasma while it is still active in the body. Each half-life that passes reduces the amount of Librium in the system. 

Librium, while used for short-term treatment, has a long elimination half-life after it is ingested. The standard half-life of Librium is five to 30 hours, which means one can expect half of the original Librium dose to pass through the body within this time frame. 

For example, if a person takes 100 mg (milligrams) of a drug that has a 20-minute half-life, it will take 20 minutes for the body to process 50 mg of the drug.

After 40 minutes, only 25 mg of the 100-mg medication would remain. After 60 minutes, only 12.5 mg of the original dose would be left.

In all, it would take 140 minutes, or a little more than two hours for the drug to exit from the body.

This window of time can be shaped by other factors that are unique to the patient as well as the drug taken. This can make the difference between whether a drug can go undetected by a drug test or not. These factors include:

  • Presence of other drugs in the body
  • The dosage of the drug taken
  • How long the drug has been taken
  • Age, body mass index
  • Genetics
  • Overall medical history
  • Health of vital organs (liver, kidneys)

Liver health is also important as it is mainly responsible for aiding the body in processing Librium from the system. If it is not healthy, then it will struggle to excrete Librium. Drug elimination also becomes a slower process as the liver ages, so this is one key reason why liver health is essential.

The potency of the dose taken should be considered when trying to determine how long Librium will show up on a drug test. Stronger concentrations of medications take time to process. The body needs more time to metabolize doses that last a long time as well. If the body isn’t given enough time, then the chances of a drug test detecting it are higher.

In many cases, the full concentration of Librium is needed for patients to experience its therapeutic benefits. Weaker Librium doses, however, are ly could clear one’s system faster.

Timing is a key factor when weighing whether a test can detect a drug. People who are screened shortly after using Librium could return a positive result for Librium use. However, some tests can detect Librium long after concentrations of the substance have been reduced in the body. The kind of test used matters for that reason.

According to VeryWellMind, a blood test can generally find Librium within a six-hour to 48-hour window after the last dose. A saliva test can detect it up to 10 days after the last use. A urine test, which is more commonly used than a blood or saliva test, can show traces of Librium one week to six weeks after the last dose. 

A hair follicle test has a wider window of detection. It can pick up traces of Librium use for up to 90 days (three months). This kind of test can pick up on drug use even if the hair is washed, dyed, cut, or styled differently.

What to Consider Before the Drug Test

Some people who want to speed up Librium elimination drink a lot of water to help flush it their bodies. Large amounts of water can encourage urination and help the kidneys work to remove it. Some people also exercise to boost their metabolism, which can help break down the drug faster so that it can be removed quickly. 

However, both of these methods aren’t foolproof, and they could adversely affect you if Librium exits the body too quickly, which has consequences, such as uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Librium’s long half-life can make it challenging to handle.

But in addition to that long half-life, users also will have to manage the drug’s active metabolites that each have their own metabolites that can last longer than Librium itself.

It can take several months for these metabolites to clear the body on their own. The same factors that can affect a drug’s half-life can also affect this process.

If you want to end or cut back on Librium use, consult with a physician who can help you start a tapering process that gradually reduces your dosage. This approach allows you to stop your use safely. Tapering can help you avoid withdrawal symptoms and relapse. If possible, you may want to start this process before taking a drug test.

Some employers who screen job applicants for drug use may not hire them upon evidence of benzodiazepine consumption, even if the medication is taken for legitimate reasons. wise, they also may fire an employee whose drug screen turns up positive for benzo use. 

For this reason, it may be helpful to alert prospective employers about any prescription medications before you take a drug test.


How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System? (Blood, Urine & More) | DBH

How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

Many people have prescribed the benzodiazepine Librium for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders, but even with the beneficial uses of the medication, there are concerns about traces of it showing up on drug tests. How long Librium stays in your system, and how it appears in blood, urine, and hair samples, is determined by several factors.

How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

As with any drug, Librium remains in your system for a while after you take it. The length of time depends on several factors. One such factor is the drug’s half-life.

The term half-life describes how long it takes for the amount of Librium present in the blood plasma to be reduced by half. In other words, it takes one half-life for the amount of Librium in your body to go down by half of what the original dose was.

As every half-life passes, the Librium is appropriately reduced. If a patient receives a dose of 100 mg (milligrams) of a drug with a 15-minute half-life, it will take 15 minutes for 50 mg of the drug to be broken down. In 45 minutes, only 12.

5 mg of the original 100 mg would remain.

For Librium, the half-life is between 5 hours and 30 hours, meaning that half of the original dose would be eliminated in this window. The wide window is because there are so many other considerations that influence the rate at which the drug is removed enough from the body to be undetectable in a blood or urine test.

To receive the beneficial effects of Librium, you need to take it for the prescribed period to build up the right concentration of the medication in your blood.

When discontinuing the drug, because you don’t need to take it anymore or you have a drug test scheduled, you should be aware of the maximum time it takes to remove all traces of the drug from your body.

Naturally, the stronger the dose and the longer the dose, the more time the body needs to remove enough Librium so a drug test will not return a positive finding. Patients who do not reach the full concentration of Librium, and who might not experience the therapeutic benefits, will ly have a faster rate of clearance than those who do.

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The GABA Neurotransmitter

To get a grasp on those factors, it is important to look at what Librium is, what it is used for, and how it works. Librium (also known by the generic name chlordiazepoxide) is a benzodiazepine, that is used to help patients experiencing problems related to anxiety and in other conditions where anxiety is present, such as alcohol withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines work by boosting the effects of the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain. Many neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating the amount and nature of nervous activity across the brain and central nervous system, and the GABA neurotransmitter is one of them.

A healthy brain is capable of producing enough GABA to moderate periods of stress and anxiety, but many people are born with brains that, for various reasons, cannot create the necessary amounts of GABA to moderate the nervous activity that compels their anxiety.

With insufficient levels of the neurotransmitter, these people are prone to anxiety attacks, and they struggle to control their behavior as a result.

When a person in this situation takes a benzodiazepine, the drug stimulates GABA production in the brain, enabling the patient to stay in control of their anxiety and the moods and the behaviors affected by their anxiety. Librium is one such benzodiazepine.

Drug Testing

Librium has many therapeutic benefits, but there is the possibility of a patient developing a dependence on the anti-anxiety nature of the medication. If taken improperly, Librium can become habit-forming and dangerous, which is why benzodiazepine medications are controlled substances in the United States.

They have legitimate medical applications, but the potential for physical and psychological dependence subjects them to restrictions on who can prescribe them, and who can receive them.

This is why, for example, Librium cannot be purchased over the counter; it requires a doctor’s prescription, and obtaining the drug without such a prescription is a crime.

This also means some companies will not hire people or will fire their employees if there is evidence of benzodiazepine consumption, even if the consumption was for a legitimate medical purpose.

This is done, in part, to curb the abuse of prescription drugs.

In 2016, the Mental Health Clinician journal noted that the abuse of benzodiazepine “has reached epidemic levels,” and even a benzodiazepine as helpful and effective as Librium for the management of anxiety falls under this umbrella.

Factors Influencing Librium Removal

The time it takes for this to happen depends on the half-life of Librium and also other factors such as:

  • If there are other drugs in your system
  • How long you’ve been using it and the exact dosage
  • Your body mass and age
  • Your overall health
  • Your genetics

All of these factors combined determine how long the drug stays in your system.

The liver is primarily responsible for clearing out Librium, and some of that is done through urine. A liver that is in poor health cannot excrete Librium as it should. Additionally, liver function tends to slow down as a person ages; the older a person, the slower the rate of drug elimination.

Drug elimination is also affected by body mass index. People who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above (the definition of obesity) will take two to three times longer to reduce the amount of Librium in their body than someone with a BMI of 24 (normal weight).

If there are other drugs in your system, this will also affect the rate of clearance. This is because Librium needs a particular enzyme in the body to be broken down. If other substances are also using this enzyme for the same purpose, then the rate of clearance for the Librium is naturally slowed down.

Blood, Saliva, Urine, and Hair Tests

Different drug tests look for drugs in different ways, and whether Librium will show up on the test depends on how quickly the test is administered after the last consumption. Some drug tests are capable of detecting Librium long after the concentrations of the drug have been reduced to levels that would be undetectable for other kinds of tests.

For example, a blood test generally can find Librium within 6 hours to 48 hours after the last dose. A saliva test can find it up to 10 days after the last dose.

Traces of Librium can show up as long as six weeks following the last dose in a urine test, primarily because the drug is excreted through urine; however, in some cases, Librium use may not show up on a urine test a week after use.

A hair follicle test can reveal Librium consumption for up to 90 days.

Generally speaking, hair follicle tests have the longest window of detection, while urine, oral, and blood testing are capable of identifying only current and very recent drug use. Hair follicle tests can also detect the presence of drugs even if the hair is cut, styled, dyed, or washed.

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Getting Rid of Librium Before a Drug Test

One way to speed up the clearance of Librium from your system is to literally flush it out. Drinking a lot of water encourages urination, which will remove the drug through the kidneys.

Exercise can also speed up the body’s natural metabolism, which will break down the drug for faster disposal.

However, both excessive water consumption and exercise have their own risks, which might become exacerbated if you experience withdrawal symptoms that result from removing Librium too quickly.

Librium contains many active metabolites, all with their own long half-lives (some longer than the Librium itself), so it can take a few months for the drug to naturally clear from your system.

The same factors mentioned above can also slow this process down.

The presence of other drugs, a family history of substance abuse, an unhealthy lifestyle, or excessive consumption of Librium could mean that reducing the amount of the drug in your body to negligible levels takes a very long time.

Additionally, if your Librium use is excessive then discontinuing its use would cause painful withdrawal symptoms (both physical and psychological), which would make staying on Librium very appealing. Of course, this means that getting it your system in time for a drug test becomes almost impossible.

“The best way to safely clear Librium your body before you have to take a drug test would be to ask your doctor how to gradually reduce your need for the drug. This might mean lowering your doses while trying some other form of treatment (one that would not return a red flag on a drug test).”

Certain lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise and water consumption, can help, but if you need benzodiazepines for your anxiety-related conditions, your health and well-being must come first. Talk to your doctor about the best approach.


Librium vs. Xanax: Similarities & Differences in These Benzos

How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of prescription drugs that are used to treat conditions anxiety. Both Librium and Xanax are classified as benzos, and the following provides information about each of these prescription medicines and highlights similarities and differences between the two.

Note to reader: It should be noted that Libirum, the brand name for chlordiazepoxide is discontinued. Although chlordiazepoxide is no longer sold under the Librium brand name, it is still commonly referred to as Librium.

  • How are they similar?
  • How are Librium and Xanax Different?

How are they similar?

Some of the major similarities between Librium (chlordiazepoxide) and Xanax are:

  • They are both Schedule IV controlled substances,
  • They are benzodiazepines,
  • They work similarly in the brain, and
  • They can have deadly interactions with other substances. If benzos Librium and Xanax are mixed with barbiturates, opioids or alcohol, it can cause a deadly overdose.

How are Librium and Xanax Different?

Though Chlordiazepoxide and Xanax are similar in many ways, there are some major differences. For instance –

Use Cases

  • Chlordiazepoxide is a benzodiazepine and is FDA-approved for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, anxiety and pre-operative anxiety. When people are prescribed chlordiazepoxide for alcohol withdrawal, they usually take the drug while in an inpatient medical detox setting. 
  • Xanax, brand name of alprazolam, is FDA-approved for anxiety and panic disorder/attacks.

Long-acting vs Short-acting

  • Chlordiazepoxide is a long-acting drug that takes hours to reach its peak concentration in your bloodstream, while Xanax works quickly. This is why it is often chosen for alcohol detox. It can treat withdrawal symptoms over a longer period of time. Once you take a dose of chlordiazepoxide, it takes several hours for the drug to reach its max concentration in your blood.
  • Un chlordiazepoxide, Xanax is a short-acting drug. It reaches its peak concentration in the bloodstream between one and two hours after you take a dose. Because it has such a short onset, it can also leave the body much more quickly than chlordiazepoxide.


  • Chlordiazepoxide has a long half-life.  The half-life of the drug, or how long it takes for half of a dose to leave your body, is between 24 and 48 hours. Since it generally takes five half-lives for a drug to completely leave your system, this means that chlordiazepoxide can stay in your body for a week or longer.
  • On the other hand, Xanax has a shorter half-life and is generally the body within a couple of days. Xanax’s half-life is 11.2 hours and it usually takes five half-lives for a drug to completely clear the body.

Both Librium and Xanax are benzodiazepines with a potential for addiction and abuse, and are Schedule IV controlled substances.

However, despite these similarities, the drugs are otherwise usually prescribed for different reasons and last different lengths of time.

If you have any more questions about these two drugs or have a feeling that someone you know could be misusing the drug, please reach out to one of our recovery specialist.

  • Sources

    U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Xanax,” February 14, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2020.

    U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Chlordiazepoxide,” March 31, 2019. Accessed June 27, 2020.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates,” March 10, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2020.

    Hallare, Jericho; Gerriets, Valerie. “Half Life.” StatPearls, January 30, 2020. Accessed June 21, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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