Bromazepam

Naomi Carr
Author: Naomi Carr Medical Reviewer: Morgan Blair Last updated:

Bromazepam, also known as Lectopam, is a benzodiazepine, typically used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed and to consult with your doctor prior to taking any other medications (prescribed or over the counter) while taking bromazepam, as adverse effects can occur.

Bromazepam brand names

Bromazepam is not produced under a brand name in the US but is known as Lectopam in Canada and Lexotan in Australia [1].

What is bromazepam prescribed for?

Bromazepam is a benzodiazepine medication which is typically used as an anxiolytic. Bromazepam is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any specific uses but can be prescribed off-label by a medical professional when it is deemed necessary [3].

Bromazepam is not FDA-approved as there is a lack of research and evidence into its safety and effectiveness, whereas many other benzodiazepines have been thoroughly researched and approved for use [3][4]. However, it is approved for medicinal use in other countries, such as Canada, where it is prescribed for severe anxiety [1].

As with other benzodiazepines, bromazepam can be used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, due to its sedative effects [4]. However, benzodiazepines are usually only used as a short-term treatment, due to their potential for physical dependence and addiction [5].

How does bromazepam work?

Bromazepam works by affecting a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), enhancing its effects. This slows or reduces certain brain activity, thereby resulting in a calming effect, helping to reduce the symptoms of anxiety [6][7].

How is bromazepam usually taken?

Bromazepam is available as a tablet, in 3mg and 6mg strengths, which must be swallowed whole, without crushing.

For the treatment of anxiety, your doctor will likely prescribe between 6-18mg per day, which will be split into 2-4 doses to be taken at set times throughout the day [1]. This dose can be increased, if necessary, up to a maximum daily dose of 60mg [2], although typically this is not required as lower doses have been found to be effective, while the risk of dependency increases the more you take [8][9].

Your prescription will depend on the severity of your mental health condition, your age and weight, your response to the medication, and any physical health conditions you have, as these can all impact the effectiveness of the medication and the risk of side effects [1].

It is important that you take your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor, as taking too much, intentionally missing doses, or suddenly starting or stopping this medication can cause adverse effects.

If you forget to take your medication, you can take it as soon as you remember, or if it is close to the next dosage time, skip that dose and just take the next. Never take double your prescribed dose of bromazepam.

Bromazepam can cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped, as physical and emotional dependence can occur [1]. The risk of this is increased with longer-term use, so it is advised that bromazepam is used short-term, for a few weeks or months [5]. Your doctor will then slowly reduce your prescription, to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

How long does bromazepam stay in your system?

You will feel the effects of bromazepam within a few hours of your first dose and these effects can continue for up to 12 hours [2].

Bromazepam will be entirely out of your system within 2-3 days.

Withdrawal symptoms can last several months after stopping the medication if a physical dependency has occurred. You may be more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if you have taken large doses for prolonged periods, or if the medication is misused or abused [5][10].

Bromazepam side effects

When you start taking a new medication, you may experience some common side effects. These will likely reduce within a couple of weeks, but if they continue or become problematic, consult with your doctor, as you may need a reduced dose or a change of medication.

Common side effects of bromazepam include [1][2]:

  • Feeling drowsy and sleepy
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady
  • Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating

Serious side effects of bromazepam are less common but may still occur. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Tremors or shaking
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Allergic reactions, such as rash, hives, swelling in or around the mouth, or breathing difficulties
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in mental state, including agitation, aggression, depression, hallucinations, or delusions

Bromazepam precautions

It is important that your doctor is aware of any past or present mental health conditions you have experienced, to enable safe monitoring of your condition while on this medication, or to decide if it is safe for you. Your doctor should recommend that you meet with a therapist while taking this medication due to fact that the conditions it’s prescribed for are best treated mental health counseling.

It is important to tell your doctor if you have ever had a substance or alcohol addiction, as this medication can be addictive, so may not be suitable for you [1].

Discuss with your doctor all your past and present physical health conditions, as they may impact your ability to take this medication safely.

Because of the potential side effects of bromazepam, you should tell your doctor if you have ever experienced lung disease or breathing problems such as asthma or sleep apnea, liver or kidney problems, epilepsy, or glaucoma, as it may not be safe for you to take this medication [1][2].

Ensure you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as bromazepam can cause serious risks to your fetus and may cause withdrawal symptoms in newborns. As such, it is advised not to take bromazepam while pregnant, unless it is absolutely necessary for treatment and the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Bromazepam can be excreted in breast milk, so it is advised not to take this medication if you are breastfeeding, as it can cause serious risks to your baby [1].

This medication causes drowsiness and sedation, so it is important to avoid driving until you are aware of how bromazepam affects you and it is safe to do so.

Tell your doctor about all medications you are currently taking, or plan to take (including vitamins and dietary supplements), as they may cause adverse reactions.

Bromazepam interactions

Certain medications and substances may interact with bromazepam and increase the risk of side effects, including some antifungals, antibiotics, and heart medications [2].

Bromazepam causes a sedative effect, so it should not be used with any opioid medications, as there is an increased risk of severe breathing problems that may lead to coma or death [1].

Similarly, the use of bromazepam alongside other medications such as sedatives, tranquilizers, antihistamines, and anticonvulsants should be carefully monitored, as they may also increase the risk of breathing problems or oversedation [2].

Alcohol and illicit substances can increase the sedating effects of bromazepam, and may also increase the risk of heart, liver, or kidney problems, so it is strongly recommended to avoid these substances while taking this medication [1][7].

Always discuss your medications with your doctor before starting a new treatment.

Bromazepam storage

Always keep all medications out of reach of children.

Store bromazepam in its original packaging, in airtight containers, and at room temperature (68-77°F).

If you need to dispose of medication that is out of date or no longer needed, contact a medical professional to ensure it is disposed of appropriately. Never flush medications down the toilet or put them in the trash, as this can create unnecessary risks.

What to do if you overdose on bromazepam

If you overdose on bromazepam, call a medical professional or Poison Control on 1-800-222-1222, or in case of an emergency, call 911. Symptoms of a bromazepam overdose may include fatigue, muscle weakness, confusion, slowed heart rate, breathing difficulties, coma, or even death.

Frequently asked questions about bromazepam

Is bromazepam addictive?

Bromazepam is considered an addictive substance. Depending on the dosage and length of treatment, bromazepam can cause physical and emotional dependency, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms when the medication is reduced or stopped [3][10].

Withdrawal symptoms may include changes in mood, trouble sleeping, headaches, muscle pain and stiffness, restlessness and agitation, confusion, delusions, and numbness in the hands and feet [1][5].

Sometimes people misuse bromazepam, continuing to take the medication after their prescription has been stopped, in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to ongoing and worsening dependence and addiction to the medication.

Similarly, if the medication has been used for some time, tolerance to bromazepam may increase, potentially resulting in the individual taking higher doses than are prescribed, in order to feel an effect. Again, this can increase the risk of dependence and addiction, as well as worsening withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped [5].

Because of this, bromazepam is usually only prescribed as a short-term treatment, which will be gradually reduced rather than stopped suddenly, to prevent withdrawal symptoms and the potential for addiction. As such, it is important to take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor [3][10].

Resources
  1. Hoffmann-La Roche Limited. (Revised 2018). Lectopam Bromazepam Consumer Information. Roche Canada. Retrieved from https://www.rochecanada.com/PMs/Lectopam/Lectopam_PM_CIE.pdf
  2. Roche Products PTY Limited. (Revised 2012). Lexotan (Bromazepam) Product Information. e-lactancia. Retrieved from https://e-lactancia.org/media/papers/Bromazepam-DS-2012.pdf
  3. US Food & Drug Administration. (2020). FDA Requiring Boxed Warning Updated to Improve Safe Use of Benzodiazepine Drug Class. FDA. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-requiring-boxed-warning-updated-improve-safe-use-benzodiazepine-drug-class
  4. Bounds. C.G. & Nelson, V.L. (2022). Benzodiazepines. In StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470159/
  5. Brett, J., & Murnion, B. (2015). Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence. Australian Prescriber, 38(5), 152–155. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.18773/austprescr.2015.055
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2023). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 2441, Bromazepam. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Bromazepam
  7. Griffin, C.E., 3rd, Kaye, A.M., Bueno, F.R., & Kaye, A.D. (2013). Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System-Mediated Effects. The Ochsner Journal, 13(2), 214–223. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684331/
  8. Kragh-Sørensen, P., Holm, P., Fynboe, C., Schaumburg, E., Andersen, B., Bech, P., & Pichard, J. (1990). Bromazepam in Generalized Anxiety. Randomized, Multi-Practice Comparisons with Both Chlorprothixene and Placebo. Psychopharmacology, 100(3), 383–386. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02244611
  9. Bornstein, S., Benoudich, H., Kaufman, E., Konqui, M., & Pigeon, P. (1982). Treatment of Anxiety with Bromazepam in Clinical Practice. La Nouvelle Presse Medicale, 11(22), 1731–1734. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6124945/
  10. Murphy, S.M., & Tyrer, P. (1991). A Double-Blind Comparison of the Effects of Gradual Withdrawal of Lorazepam, Diazepam and Bromazepam in Benzodiazepine Dependence. The British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 158, 511–516. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.158.4.511
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Naomi Carr
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Published: Feb 20th 2023, Last edited: Sep 22nd 2023

Morgan Blair
Medical Reviewer Morgan Blair MA, LPCC

Meet Morgan Blair, our accomplished medical reviewer. Morgan is a licensed therapist with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Northwestern University.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Feb 20th 2023