Does Serax (oxazepam) cause side effects?

Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. It helps relieve anxiety by enhancing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits activity in the brain. It is thought that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may be the cause of anxiety and other psychological disorders. Benzodiazepines such as Serax help to relieve anxiety by increasing the effects of GABA in the brain and spinal cord.

Common side effects of Serax include

Other side effects of Serax include

Drug interactions of Serax include other medications or substances that slow the brain's processes such as sleeping aids, certain pain medications (narcotics), barbiturates, and alcohol because excessive sedation can occur when Serax is combined with these drugs.

Use of Serax during pregnancy may cause harm to the fetus and should be avoided. Serax may be secreted in human milk. It should not be used during breastfeeding.

What are the important side effects of Serax (oxazepam)?

The most common side effects associated with oxazepam treatment are

  • sedation,
  • dizziness,
  • weakness, and
  • unsteadiness.

Other side effects include

  • a feeling of depression,
  • loss of orientation,
  • headache,
  • sleep disturbance,
  • confusion,
  • irritability,
  • aggression,
  • decreased libido,
  • excitement, and
  • memory impairment.

Serax (oxazepam) side effects list for healthcare professionals

The necessity for discontinuation of therapy due to undesirable effects has been rare. Transient, mild drowsiness is commonly seen In the first few days of therapy. If it persists, the dosage should be reduced.

In few instances, dizziness, vertigo, headache, and rarely syncope have occurred either alone or together with drowsiness. Mild paradoxical reactions. i.e.., excitement, stimulation of affect, have been reported in psychiatric patients; these reactions may be secondary to relief of anxiety and usually appear in the first two weeks of therapy.

Other side effects occurring during oxazepam therapy include rare instances of nausea, lethargy, edema, slurred speech, tremor, altered libido, and minor diffuse skin rashes—morbilliform, urticarial, and maculopapular. Such side effects have been Infrequent and are generally controlled with reduction of dosage. A case of an extensive fixed drug eruption also has been reported.

Although rare, leukopenia and hepatic dysfunction including Jaundice have been reported during therapy. Periodic blood counts and liver-function tests are advisable.

Ataxia with oxazepam has been reported in rare instances and does not appear to be specifically related to dose or age.

Although the following side reactions have not as yet been reported with oxazepam, they have occurred with related compounds (chlordiazepoxide and diazepam):

Transient amnesia or memory impairment has been reported in association with the use of benzodiazepines.

What drugs interact with Serax (oxazepam)?

No information provided.

Summary

Serax (oxazepam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Common side effects of Serax include sedation, dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness. Drug interactions of Serax include other medications or substances that slow the brain's processes such as sleeping aids, certain pain medications (narcotics), barbiturates, and alcohol because excessive sedation can occur when Serax is combined with these drugs. Use of Serax during pregnancy may cause harm to the fetus and should be avoided. Serax may be secreted in human milk. It should not be used during breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/11/2020
References
FDA Prescribing Information

Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.