Serax (Oxazepam) Patient Information Sheet

Brand name: Serax
Generic name: Oxazepam

Pronounced: SER-aks

Serax Full Prescribing Information

Why is this drug prescribed?

Serax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including anxiety associated with depression.

This drug seems to be particularly effective for anxiety, tension, agitation, and irritability in older people. It is also prescribed to relieve symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal.

Serax belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

Most important fact about this drug

Serax can be habit-forming or addicting and can lose its effectiveness over time, as you develop a tolerance for it. You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug abruptly. When discontinuing the drug, your doctor will reduce the dose gradually.

How should you take this medication?

Take Serax exactly as prescribed.

--If you miss a dose...

If you remember within an hour or so, take the dose immediately. If you do not remember until later, skip the dose you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Serax. Your doctor should periodically reassess the need for this drug.

More common side effects may include:
Less common or rare side effects may include:
Blood disorders, change in sex drive, dizziness, excitement, fainting, headache, hives, liver problems, loss or lack of muscle control, nausea, skin rashes or eruptions, sluggishness or unresponsiveness, slurred speech, swelling due to fluid retention, tremors, vertigo, yellowed eyes and skin
Side effects due to rapid decrease or abrupt withdrawal from Serax:
Abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, depressed mood, inability to fall or stay asleep, sweating, tremors, vomiting


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Why should this drug not be prescribed?

If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Serax or other tranquilizers such as Valium, you should not take this medication. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.

Anxiety or tension related to everyday stress usually does not require treatment with Serax. Discuss your symptoms thoroughly with your doctor.

Serax should not be prescribed if you are being treated for mental disorders more serious than anxiety.

Special warnings about this medication

Serax may cause you to become drowsy or less alert; therefore, you should not drive or operate dangerous machinery or participate in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you.

This medication may cause your blood pressure to drop. If you have any heart problems, consult your doctor before taking this medication.

The 15 milligram tablet of this drug contains the coloring agent FD&C Yellow No. 5, which may cause an allergic reaction. If you are sensitive to aspirin or susceptible to allergies, consult your doctor before taking the tablet.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication

Serax may intensify the effects of alcohol. It may be best to avoid alcohol while taking this medication.

If Serax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Serax with the following:

Antihistamines such as Benadryl
Narcotic painkillers such as Percocet and Demerol
Sedatives such as Seconal and Halcion
Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Do not take Serax if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There is an increased risk of birth defects. Serax may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this drug is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment with this medication is finished.

Recommended dosage


Mild to Moderate Anxiety with Tension, Irritability, Agitation

The usual dose is 10 to 15 milligrams 3 or 4 times per day.

Severe Anxiety, Depression with Anxiety, or Alcohol Withdrawal

The usual dose is 15 to 30 milligrams, 3 or 4 times per day.


Safety and effectiveness have not been established for children under 6 years of age, nor have dosage guidelines been established for children 6 to 12 years. Your doctor will adjust the dosage to fit the child's needs.


The usual starting dose is 10 milligrams, 3 times a day. Your doctor may increase the dose to 15 milligrams 3 or 4 times a day, if needed.


An overdose of Serax can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of mild Serax overdose may include:
Confusion, drowsiness, lethargy

Symptoms of more serious overdose may include:

Coma, hypnotic state, lack of coordination, limp muscles, low blood pressure

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Serax Full Prescribing Information

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 3). Serax (Oxazepam) Patient Information Sheet, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Last Updated: April 7, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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