How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

Librium pills scattered across a counter

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is an anti-anxiety medication that helps to promote relaxation and is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders and alcohol withdrawal. Librium belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines and can impair judgment, affect reflexes and cause addiction. Librium could show up in an employment drug screen, impair your ability to drive or interfere with other medications if it is still in your system. Because of side effects of Librium, it’s important to know how long it can stay in your system. Depending on individual factors, the drug may be present or detectable for varying amounts of time.

Duration of Effects of Librium

People who are taking Librium often wonder how long Librium lasts. Unfortunately, there is no exact answer, as the duration of the effects of Librium will be different for everyone, depending upon multiple factors. The effects of Librium can last for as little as 24 hours, but may last for days, or longer. The best way to tell how long Librium will affect you personally is to speak with your doctor. Your physician will have access to your medical history and will understand how each of the multiple factors affecting Librium absorption will impact your particular situation.

Librium Half-Life

The half-life of a medication is how long it takes to eliminate half of the drug that is in your body. Two half-lives would be a quarter of the original drug (half of a half), and the more half-lives that have passed, the smaller the concentration of drug in your bloodstream will be. After five half-lives, the amount of a drug in your bloodstream will be 3.2% of what it originally was, and it will have essentially no effect on you at that amount.

The half-life of Librium varies considerably based on the individual, but is typically 6–25 hours for healthy individuals. For five half-lives to occur, reaching a negligible amount of Librium, it will take 25–150 hours, or roughly 1–6 days. This time-frame can be even longer if someone is taking other medications or has underlying health issues. 

How Long Will Librium Show in Drug Tests?

The length of time that Librium will show up on a drug test depends on multiple factors, including physiological factors affecting the individual, the body substance being tested and the way that the test is done by a particular lab. There are, however, some general timeframes for when Librium will typically show up on a drug test

Urine

People who are taking Librium that was not prescribed to them and are starting a new job will often wonder, “how long does Librium stay in your urine?” The time frame varies significantly, but typically Librium can be detected in the urine for 1–6 weeks.

Blood

Blood tests for Librium are not used as commonly as other methods but may be used by law enforcement if there has been a traffic incident and Librium use is suspected. Librium can typically be detected in the blood for 6–48 hours but may be detectable for longer in some cases.

Saliva

Saliva testing for Librium is uncommon, but some employers or law enforcement agencies may choose to use this method of testing. Librium can typically be detected in saliva for 1–10 days.

Hair

Hair testing is also uncommon but may be used when Librium is not likely to be detected using any other means. Hair testing for Librium, or almost every other drug, will detect drugs used within the last 90 days.

Factors Affecting How Long Librium Stays in Your System

There are several factors that affect the length of time that Librium is in your system and how long it affects you. These factors are either physiological, related to the administration of the Librium or related to genetics. 

Physiological Factors

Physiological factors have a strong influence on how Librium is metabolized and how long it will last in your system. These factors include:

  • Age: As we age, our body is not able to process medications as quickly, and our kidneys are not able to get rid of the drug as quickly. This makes those who are older more likely to retain Librium in their systems for longer
  • Overall health: Different diseases, especially of the kidneys or liver, can slow how fast a drug is absorbed. Librium is also highly absorbed by fatty tissues, making those who are overweight more likely to have prolonged Librium effects.

Administration Factors

The way that Librium is administered will greatly impact the length of time that it affects your body. These administration factors include:

  • Amount used: The more Librium that is used, the longer it will take your body to process it and the longer it will affect you.
  • Frequency of use: If you take a small amount of Librium frequently, it is similar to taking large amounts infrequently. There will be more Librium in your bloodstream if you take it more frequently, and it will take longer for your body to process it.
  • Method of use: When Librium or any other medication is used intravenously (IV) it will be absorbed and processed by the body much faster than if it is taken as a pill. IV Librium will be processed the fastest, while the pill form will remain in the body the longest. Injection into a muscle is not common for Librium, but its absorption is very erratic and unpredictable when used this way.

False Positives for Librium

While false positives during a routine Librium test are not particularly common, they can occur. Most tests for Librium do not specifically test for Librium itself, but for benzodiazepines, the class of drugs that Librium belongs to. This means that if you are taking any other benzodiazepines, they may show up in most tests, whether Librium is in your system or not. There are some medications that may give a false positive for Librium during urine drug screens in certain circumstances. These medications include:

  • Tolmetin (Tolectin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Etodolac (Lodine)
  • Fenoprofen (Nalfon)
  • Oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

If you are taking any of these medications and are being tested for Librium, you should notify the person administering the test to avoid a false positive.

How Librium Is Broken Down in the Body

Librium works by interacting with receptors in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. These receptors slow nerve transmissions that can lead to anxiety. While Librium is in the bloodstream, it is primarily broken down through complicated chemical pathways in the liver. Librium is broken down into smaller and smaller molecules called metabolites. These metabolites are chemically inactive, or quickly become chemically inactive, and are eventually eliminated from the body via the kidneys.

How to Get Librium Out of Your System

There is no easy way to get Librium out of your system without allowing the body to naturally get rid of it by itself. Someone who is undergoing a Librium detox or is simply wanting to stop using Librium should speak with a doctor before trying to stop using Librium cold turkey. Generally, the dose of Librium being used has to be tapered, or gradually reduced over time. Stopping Librium “cold turkey” can lead to withdrawal symptoms that may be severe or even dangerous. These symptoms can be reduced or avoided if Librium is tapered and stopped under the careful direction of a doctor or rehab facility.

Key Points: How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

The length of time that Librium stays in your system depends upon a variety of factors and is different for everyone. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • The effects of Librium can last for 1–6 days or longer
  • Librium drug test detection times vary, but typically it is detectable in urine for up to six weeks
  • How long Librium stays in your system depends on physiological factors and how it is administered
  • Some people may have false positives when being tested for Librium

Because the effects of Librium vary so much based on the individual, you should speak with your doctor about your particular case if you have specific questions.

If you or a loved one struggle to stop using Librium, have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop or have a constant craving for Librium, then you may be addicted. The Recovery Village Ridgefield has a strong track record of helping people struggling with addiction, and we can help you. Reach out to one of our understanding team members to learn how you can start on your road to recovery today.

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Griffin, Charles E.; et al. “Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects.” The Ochsner Journal, 2013. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Fetterman, Anne; Haldeman-Englert, Chad. “Benzodiazepines (Urine).” University of Rochester Medical Center, 2019. Accessed July 30, 2019.

Peppers, M. P. “Benzodiazepines for Alcohol Withdrawal in the Elderly and in Patients with Liver Disease.” Pharmacotherapy, Feb. 1996. Accessed July 30, 2019.

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.