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How Long Does Librium Stay in Your System?

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) has a half-life of about 24 to 48 hours, so approximately half of the drug will be eliminated from the body within that time period. Drug tests can detect Librium for varying amounts of time, depending on the type of test used. Urine tests can identify Librium for approximately one to six weeks after use.

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Understanding Librium’s Half-Life

Librium has a 24-hour to 48-hour half-life. That means the average person needs a day or two to process half of one dose. After four to five half-lives have passed, the majority of the drug has been removed from the body.

This means the average person needs up to 10 days to process just one dose of Librium.

A drug’s half-life is used to help doctors determine an appropriate dose and frequency of a prescription.

Due to its longer half-life, Librium can be detected on urine drug tests for up to six weeks. Like other drugs, Librium’s half-life range will be influenced by other factors, such as dosage, duration of use, body size, age, and personal metabolism.

How Long Will Librium Show on a Drug Test?

How Long Will Librium Show on a Drug Test?

Librium can remain in different bodily systems for differing periods of time. Thus, how long Librium remains in the body is also dependent on the type of drug test that is being used. 

Expect Librium to show on the following types of drug tests for these time periods: 

  • Urine test: Librium is predominantly eliminated from the body via urine. The drug is detectable in the urine for up to one to six weeks following most recent use.
  • Blood test: Librium is detectable in the bloodstream for up to 48 hours following use. 
  • Saliva test: Librium can be detected in the saliva for between 1 and 10 days.
  • Hair follicle test: Librium remains detectable in hair for the longest period of time. The drug can be detected in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days following most recent consumption. 

Factors That Affect Librium Duration in Your Body

Various factors impact how long Librium remains within your body. The following are some of the most significant:

Current Dosage & Use Habits

Consuming higher amounts of Librium for longer periods of time can increase the length of time that the drug remains in your system.

Body Condition

Researchers say that obesity can reduce your body’s ability to clear prescription drugs. People with a high body mass tend to have an increase in fat, which could store some drug molecules that get released later. People with a higher body mass may also absorb oral drugs at a different rate than their leaner counterparts, which could also change testing time frames.


Benzodiazepine drugs like Librium can persist longer in older people. For example, researchers say that Librium has a half-life of up to 96 hours in seniors rather than the 24-hour to 48-hour timeframe seen in younger adults.

Drugs move slower in seniors as they tend to have higher body fat levels and lower levels of hydration. They may also have liver issues that reduce their ability to clear drugs.


Your liver produces an enzyme (cytochrome P450) to break down drugs like Librium. Researchers say some people have a genetic variability that lowers their ability to produce this important element. Without it, drugs last longer in their bodies and have the tendency to cause more harm.

Liver Health & Function

A healthy liver is vital to effectively clearing Librium from the body. Individuals with liver disease often experience oversedation with chlordiazepoxide, as they are unable to metabolize the drug as normally expected.

In documents approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors about any liver health issues before starting Librium. If they take the drug for long periods, they may need tests to ensure their liver is still functioning properly.

Experts say Librium isn’t considered toxic to liver tissue, but your liver still works hard to break down every dose you take. If you use the medication repeatedly, your doctor will need to run tests to ensure you’re getting more benefit than harm from straining your liver with continued medication use.

Breaking Down Librium in the Body

Librium is detected in different types of drug tests for varying amounts of time. The following table compares the four main types of drug tests and how long Librium will show up on each type of test: 

TestDuration of Detectability
Urine test1–6 weeks 
Blood testUp to 48 hours 
Saliva test1–10 days 
Hair follicle testUp to 3 months 

Remember that these are general guidelines. The actual amount of time Librium will remain detectable via each of these tests will depend on a wide range of personal factors. 

How Librium Works in the Body

Librium is a long-acting benzodiazepine that is used to treat the acute effects of anxiety. It is also used to treat acute symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and depression in some cases.  

When consumed orally, Librium takes effect within approximately 10 to 30 minutes. It functions by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for regulating mood and affect. Librium results in the sedation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

Since Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a sedative drug in the benzodiazepine class, dependence can form quickly. If you have been taking Librium for an extended period of time, talk to your doctor about how to safely stop taking it. Do not suddenly stop taking it on your own as this could be dangerous.

How to Safely Quit Librium

It’s not safe to quit Librium without a doctor’s help. Over time, your brain cells will become accustomed to the presence of the drug, and you can develop serious or even life-threatening symptoms when you quit abruptly.

Librium withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Convulsions
  • Shaking
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating

People are encouraged to taper their dose instead of quitting the drug suddenly. Experts say there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tapering benzodiazepines. Instead, doctors determine a patient’s typical dose and create a taper schedule that helps people quit slowly. Typically, that means reducing the original dose by 2-4 mg every one to two weeks until people take none at all.

If you’ve been using Librium, talk to your doctor and develop a personalized schedule to help you quit safely.

Updated April 18, 2024
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