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Generic Name: Oxazepam (ox-AZ-e-pam)

Drug Class: Benzodiazepine

Table of Contents


Serax (Oxazepam) is used to treat anxiety as well as insomnia. It is classified as a benzodiazepine, which acts on the brain and nerves (central nervous system). It is used to calm you and produce an anti-seizure effect.

Oxazepam may also be used to treat acute alcohol withdrawal.

This medicine works by enhancing the effects of GABA, a natural substance in the body .

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. This medicine may be taken on an empty stomach or with food. Continue to take this medicine even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • drowsiness / sleepiness
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • appetite changes
  • restlessness
  • constipation
  • frequent/difficult urination
  • weakness
  • blurred vision
  • changes in sex drive

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • shuffling walk
  • hallucinations
  • tremors / restlessness
  • fever
  • unusual risk-taking behavior or decreased inhibitions
  • breathing / swallowing difficulty
  • extreme skin rash
  • confusion
  • skin or eyes have yellowish tint
  • irregular heartbeat
  • problems urinating

Warnings & Precautions

  • Tell your doctor your medical history, especially if you have experienced the following: kidney or liver disease, lung/breathing problems (e.g., sleep apnea or COPD), drug abuse, or alcohol problems.
  • DO NOT oxazepam if you are allergic to it or to other benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), alprazolam (Xanax),  clorazepate (Tranxene), or lorazepam (Ativan).
  • DO NOT drive a vehicle or perform other potentially dangerous activities until you know how this medicine will affect you.
  • This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressant drugs. Do NOT drink while taking this medicine.
  • Alcoholic beverages can increase the effects of this medicine and should be avoided.
  • DO NOT increase your dose of this medicine without first talking to your doctor.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications for depression, pain, or seizures. Other sedative medications including over-the-counter antihistimines can increase the side effects of this medicine and should be used cautiously.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Take this medication exactly your doctor prescribes it. Follow the directions exactly on your prescription label.

Your dose may be changed by your doctor for the best results.

This medicine should be used for only a short amount of time. It is not recommended that you take oxazepam for longer than 4 months without consulting your doctor.

If this medicine seems to stop working in treating your symptoms, contact your doctor.

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


If you are pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of taking this medication with your doctor. It is not recommended due to the potential for harm to an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, inform your doctor right away.

This may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.



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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Serax. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By Christine Traxler, M.D.
Published on All rights reserved.