What Is Tranxilium and What Is It Used For?

Tranxilium® is the trade name for a central nervous system depressant drug that enhances the action of GABA in the brain. This compound is used in the treatment of mental health problems.
What Is Tranxilium and What Is It Used For?

Last update: 17 March, 2023

Psychological problems like anxiety affect millions of people each year. One of the most widely used drugs to control these disorders are benzodiazepines. Among this group of medicines, Tranxilium ® stands out for its many properties.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric problems around the world. In fact, they affect up to nearly 30% of the population in countries like the United States. It’s characterized by feeling excessive fear and the people start to avoid specific objects or situations that don’t represent any real danger.

This compound is the preferred option for treating anxiety, despite the side effects it may have on the body. The consumption of Tranxilium ® is safe in both children and adults, although the specialist’s instructions must be followed.

What is Tranxilium ®?

It is the trade name of a drug with anxiolytic, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant properties derived from short-lived benzodiazepines. The active principle of Tranxilium ® is dipotassium clorazepate, which is decarboxylated to its active metabolite once it’s ingested.

The intake of this medication is carried out orally and intravenously, and it can come in different formats. The main ones are the capsules, the coated tablets, powders to dissolve, and ampoules.

The dosage of the drug can vary depending on the form of presentation found. In this sense, it’s possible to find formats ranging from solution sachets with 2.5 milligrams of active ingredient to 50-milligram coated tablets.

What is the drug’s mechanism of action?

In general terms, Tranxilium ® is a central nervous system depressant drug, whose mechanism of action doesn’t vary from alprazolam or other benzodiazepines. Once it’s ingested and transformed into its active principle, the compound will act as an agonist of GABA receptors in the brain.

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a chemical substance synthesized by the body that allows the transmission of nerve impulses from one neuron to another. Thus, the compound is a neurotransmitter, whose main function is to inhibit the central nervous system.

Dipotassium clorazepate will bind to the GABA receptor enhancement site in the brain, thereby potentiating the inhibitory action. This effect is generated by increasing the entry of chlorine ions into the cell cytoplasm.

The increase in the influx of negative ions into the cell will increase the membrane potential, making it even more negative than it should be. This will make it more difficult to excite the neuron, interrupting or slowing down the transmission of the nerve impulse.

Anxious woman consuming Tranxilium.
Anxiety states alter our quality of life, as it’s difficult to carry out daily activities.

What is Tranxilium ® used for?

As stated, Tranxilium ® is the treatment of choice for different anxiety disorders, except those that are linked to psychiatric conditions. This is due to its ability to depress the nervous system and create a sense of calm.

This compound also has hypnotic properties, so it can be used in the treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia. In this way, the patient will be able to have a restful night of at least 7 or 8 hours when sleeping.

Dipotassium clorazepate can also be used as an anticonvulsant drug by slowing the transmission of nerve impulses. A seizure occurs due to a neuronal electrical alteration, thus generating muscle spasms.

Other pathologies that may require the administration of Tranxilium ® are the following:

  • Depression
  • Changes in behavior associated with anxiety
  • Neurovegetative dystonias
  • Post-traumatic secondary syndrome

How is the drug taken?

According to the leaflet that comes with the medication, the recommended daily dose in adults can vary between 5 milligrams and 30 milligrams; everything will depend on the severity of the condition. The maximum dose is 30 milligrams daily, which shouldn’t be exceeded without medical supervision.

In the case of children under 12 years of age, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends an initial dose of 0.3 milligrams per kilogram of weight per day. The maintenance dose can increase up to 3 milligrams per kilogram of weight per day, divided between 2 to 4 doses, without exceeding 60 milligrams per day.

In children over 12 years of age, the recommended initial dose is 7.5 milligrams per dose, reaching a maximum of 3 times a day. The dosage can be increased up to 7.5 milligrams weekly.

The discontinuation of treatment must be carried out gradually to avoid developing withdrawal syndrome or rebound insomnia. If you take too much Tranxilium ® , it’s important to call the emergency service as soon as possible to avoid suffering from an overdose.

Side effects of Tranxilium ®

All marketed drugs can have side effects on those who consume them. Most of the effects produced by this drug are the product of its inhibitory effect. In this sense, patients may report the following signs:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Apathy
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Alteration of consciousness and gait
  • Double vision

The appearance of these symptoms is more frequent at the beginning of the treatment, but they usually disappear with repeated administration of the drug. However, it’s necessary to consult with your doctor if they worsen or don’t subside in a considerable period of time.

On the other hand, all people who consume benzodiazepines have the probability of developing tolerance and dependence, which will vary depending on the dose ingested and the duration of treatment. For this reason, it’s important to follow the medical indications to the letter.

Headache due to anxiolytics.
Headaches as side effects of the drug may disappear after continued use.

Warnings and contraindications

The intake of Tranxilium ® is totally contraindicated in those patients who present any of the following conditions:

  • Allergy to the active principle or to some other compound
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Severe liver or kidney failure
  • Severe respiratory failure
  • Sleep apnea

The 15-milligram tablets shouldn’t be administered to children, as the effects of the drug would be greater than desired. In addition, its consumption isn’t recommended during lactation, as studies have shown that the active principle is excreted through breast milk.

The administration of the drug may affect the performance of activities that require a certain degree of concentration. In general terms, the use of the drug isn’t recommended unless a continuous 7-8 hour sleep can be achieved after ingestion.

Tranxilium ® for mental health

Tranxilium ® is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat multiple mental health disorders, especially anxiety and depression. However, the consumption of the compound must be carried out under strict medical prescription and following the instructions, in order to avoid possible side effects.

Many people have developed withdrawal syndrome after stopping the intake of the drug. In this sense, it’s important to consult a specialist if headaches, irritability, anxiety, or tension occur at the end of the dose.

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