Tranxene is the brand name version of the generic benzodiazepine clorazepate, which is commonly used to treat anxiety or seizure disorders; it can also help manage the painful symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Because patients who are taking clorazepate can become addicted to the drug, it is considered a controlled substance and has the potential for abuse.
Tranxene can also impair thinking or cause confusion, sleepiness or memory loss. If given to patients who have depression, the drug may make it worse. Almost 30% of those who take clorazepate for a month or more become dependent on the drug. When they attempt to stop taking it, they will develop symptoms of withdrawal such as anxiety, insomnia, seizures or psychosis. As a result, cessation of usage of Tranxene should be gradual, over a period of days or weeks as directed by a physician.
Tranxene is widely used for patients who are going through alcohol withdrawal; it has been proven effective at managing withdrawal-related convulsions. Although effective at managing withdrawal symptoms in those attempting to stop drinking, it should not be given to people who are still drinking. Because both Tranxene and alcohol depress the central nervous system, drinking alcohol while taking Tranxene can increase the chances or severity of adverse side effects such as drowsiness, low blood pressure or memory loss. Because both also slow heartbeat and respiration, combing the two can be deadly.
Some addiction professionals recommend prescribing Tranxene only for patients who are undergoing in-patient detox, thus reducing the chances that the patient will relapse and start drinking again while on Tranxene.
In addition to treating patients who are currently going through alcohol detox, Tranxene can also be helpful for patients who have become addicted to stronger benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. Tranxene helps prevent the dangerous high blood pressure or convulsions that can occur when dependent patients attempt to stop taking these drugs. Tranxene is water soluble and can be tapered down systematically to increasingly small doses so that the patient is eventually drug free.