How Long Does Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Stay in Your System?

Librium pills scattered across a counter

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a long-acting benzodiazepine FDA-approved to most often treat adults with anxiety and alcohol withdrawal. Children over six are also sometimes prescribed this medication for anxiety. It is a long-acting benzo, meaning one dose remains in the body for many hours or even days. However, it does carry a risk of medication misuse, even when taken as prescribed. 

Librium Half-life

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

Librium’s half-life differs considerably based on the person but is typically 5–30 hours for healthy individuals. For five half-lives to occur, reaching a negligible amount of Librium will take 25–150 hours or roughly one to six days. This time can be longer if someone takes other medications or has underlying health issues.

How Long Does It Take for Librium to Work?

It takes about an hour to start feeling the effect of Librium. During this time, Librium can be broken down in the stomach and absorbed into the bloodstream from the GI tract. Compared to other benzos, Librium is considered a long-acting medication, which begins to work a little more slowly than others like Xanax, but the effects of each dose last much longer. 

How Long Does Librium Last?

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

Does Librium Show Up on a Drug Test?

While there is no commonly used specific test for Librium, it does appear on drug tests like other benzos. However, the time a drug test can detect this medication depends on many factors, including how long you have taken Librium, your Librium dose, other substances you take and liver and kidney function, among other factors. 

How Long Does Librium Stay In Your Urine?

People taking Librium will often wonder, “How long does Librium stay in your urine?” The time differs significantly, but Librium can typically be detected in urine for 1–10 days. This drug testing is noninvasive, cost-effective and does not require a medical facility like a lab. Because of these factors, urine drug testing is the most common form of drug testing. 

How Long Does Librium Stay In Your Blood, Saliva and Hair?

Blood tests for Librium are not used as commonly as urine tests because they are more invasive, expensive and require a qualified medical professional to draw and test blood. However, it may be used by law enforcement in a traffic incident if Librium use is suspected. Librium can typically be detected in blood for 85–110 hours and may be detectable for longer in some cases.

Saliva testing for Librium is uncommon, but it is likely detected in saliva for many days. This drug testing method is highly variable, and many false positives are likely. As a result, this is not a standard form of drug testing for Librium.

Hair testing is 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

Several factors affect the 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 genetic. 

Psychological Factors

Physiological factors strongly influence how Librium is metabolized and how long it will last in your system. These factors include:

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

Administration Factors

How Librium is administered will significantly impact the time 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: Taking a small amount of Librium frequently is similar to taking large amounts infrequently. There will be more Librium in your bloodstream if you take it more regularly, and your body will take longer 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 taken as a capsule. IV Librium will be processed the fastest, while the capsule form will remain in the body the longest. Injection into a muscle is not typical for Librium because 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 but for benzodiazepines, the class of drugs to which Librium belongs. This means if you take any other benzodiazepines, they may show up in most tests, whether Librium is in your system or not. Some medications 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 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 binding to gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain (GABA). GABA receptors slow nerve transmissions that can lead to anxiety. While Librium is in the bloodstream, complicated chemical pathways in the liver primarily break it down. First, Librium is broken down into smaller and smaller molecules called metabolites. Then, 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 naturally allowing your body to remove it. Someone undergoing a Librium detox or simply wanting to stop using Librium should speak with a healthcare professional before trying to quit using Librium abruptly. Generally, the Librium dose must 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 a doctor’s or rehab facility’s careful direction.

Recap: How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

The time Librium stays in your system depends on various factors and is different for everyone. Some key points to keep in mind include:

  • The effects of Librium can last for days or weeks.
  • Librium drug test detection times differ, but typically it is detectable in urine for over a week.
  • How long Librium stays in your system depends on physiological factors and its administration.
  • Some people may have false positives when being tested for Librium.

Because Librium’s effects differ so much based on the individual, you should speak with your healthcare provider 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, 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 your road to recovery today. “Chlordiazepoxide Monograph for Professionals.” November 9, 2020. Accessed September 6, 2022.  Ahwazi HH, Abdijadid S. “Chlordiazepoxide.” StatPearls, Updated November 14, 2021. Accessed September 6, 2022.   ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” October 2021. Accessed September 6, 2022.  Griffin CE 3rd. “Benzodiazepine pharmacology and central nervous system-mediated effects.” The Ochsner Journal, 2013. Accessed September 6, 2022.  University of Rochester Medical Center. “Benzodiazepines (Urine) – Health Encyclopedia.” 2022. Accessed September 6, 2022.  Peppers MP. “Benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal in the elderly and in patients with liver disease.” Pharmacotherapy, 1996. Accessed September 6, 2022.  Gryczynski, Jan; et. al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, August 1, 2015. Accessed September 6, 2022.  

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.