Meprobamate (Oral)

By acting on specific centers within your brain, meprobamate can calm a person down who is experiencing pronounced symptoms of anxiety or nervousness.

Overview

While meprobamate can be very effective at treating nervousness in a patient, there is a definite risk of it becoming habit-forming, if used over a long period of time. The medication is taken orally, usually between two and four times daily, either with food or without, at the preference of the patient.

If high dosages have been prescribed for a patient, or if the medication has been used for a fairly long time, symptoms of withdrawal can develop when the medication is withheld for any reason. These symptoms include shakiness, vomiting, disorientation or confusion, and in some cases, even seizures or convulsions. There is also a possibility that when this medicine is used for a long period of time, that its effectiveness is gradually reduced, and that it becomes necessary to prescribe larger and larger doses to maintain effectiveness.

This can get to be a very delicate situation, bordering on addiction, especially for patients who have any medical history of that in their past. In order to reduce the risk of addiction as much as possible, this medicine should only be taken exactly according to whatever dosage recommendations have been made by your doctor.

When this medicine is used, it will call for fairly regular monitoring by your doctor, so as to make sure it is still being effective, but not getting to the point where there is any risk of addiction for the patient.

Condition Treated

  • Short term anxiety

Type Of Medicine

  • Anxiolytics, Non-benzodiazepines

Side Effects

Along with its beneficial effects in calming down anxiety in a patient, meprobamate may also carry some undesirable side effects that appear in some patients. Not everyone will experience any side effects, but some patients may have side effects from meprobamate which are fairly severe in nature. If any of the side effects listed below should occur after you take this medication, you should alert your doctor to that fact as soon as possible, and you should also relate to him/her how severe you consider the side effects to be.

One of the most dangerous side effects that patients can experience from any kind of medication is an allergic reaction, and this is because the symptoms experienced during an allergic reaction have the potential to be life-threatening. If you suspect that you're having an allergic reaction to meprobamate, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately, before symptoms worsen. The symptoms to look for in an allergic reaction are the following:

  • Itchiness at various locations around the body
  • Hives and or rashes appearing on the skin
  • Swelling and/or puffiness in the eyelids or facial area, especially on the tongue, lips, or in the throat
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness, with the sensation that you might be about to pass out
  • Tightness in the chest, sometimes accompanied by extreme difficulty with breathing.

Some of the other more commonly experienced side effects by patients are those on the following list:

  • Severe unexplained weakness
  • Staggering or unsteadiness
  • Slurred speech or hoarseness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Sore throat, sometimes with fever
  • Irregular heartbeat, sometimes being fast and sometimes slow
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Unusual excitement, even without any cause
  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty with breathing, even without any exertion
  • Clumsiness or awkwardness
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Unsupported sense of well-being
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty with sleeping
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Nightmares or hallucinations
  • Nervousness or agitation
  • Twitching muscles
  • Noticeable increase in daydreaming.

Dosage

The dosage shown below is fairly standard for the various age categories identified, but these should not be considered to be set in stone for any particular age group or any specific patient. Your doctor will prescribe a dosage level of meprobamate for you which is based on several factors:

  • The effectiveness of the medication in managing your medical condition
  • Your body's tolerance to the medicine
  • The strength of the medication itself
  • The frequency of your daily doses
  • The duration of total time which you have been taking the medication.

If you should miss a dosage of meprobamate during your daily routine, it is allowable to take that missed dosage as soon as you remember to, unless the time grows near to when your next scheduled dosage is. In that case, you should just skip the missed dosage entirely, and wait for your next dosage time to come. You should never double up on dosages for the sake of getting back on schedule, or because your anxiety symptoms are any worse at one particular time, and you think extra medication will manage it better.

The normal adult daily dosage for treating anxiety would be somewhere between 1200 and 1600 mg per day, taken orally, while being divided up into either three or four doses throughout the day. Your doctor may recommend slight adjustments upward or downward, but it is unlikely that you will be prescribed any daily dosage level above 2400 mg. In fact, the rule of thumb for prescribing this medication or any other, is that the lowest effective dosage is the one which should be adopted.

There is a potential for this medication to lose effectiveness beyond three or four months, so it may not be beneficial to be taking meprobamate for any longer than about three months. Your doctor will instruct you on what he thinks is the best course of action for you.

Pediatric patients between the ages of 6 and 12 should be prescribed a daily total between 200 and 600 mg of meprobamate, divided out over two or three dosages. Pediatric patients who are age 13 and above should be prescribed between 1200 and 1600 mg daily, divided out over three or four dosages, up to a maximum of 2400 mg.

It should be borne in mind that meprobamate is best used as a short-term solution for anxiety, and is not intended to be a medical solution for a lifetime.

Interactions

Like most medications, meprobamate has a potential to interact with a number of other drugs, some of which you may be taking. It's never a good idea to have drug interactions happening, because they can cause adverse side effects in your body, or either of the two drugs can be diminished in effectiveness by interacting with the other.

To prevent any of this from happening, you should prepare a list of all your current medications, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins, so that your doctor can have a chance to review this. He/she may want to discontinue some of the medications on your list or reduce their dosage level, while you are being treated with meprobamate.

You also take this list with you if you have to go to any other healthcare clinic where your primary care doctor is not in residence, or if you should need to visit an emergency room to treat an unplanned medical condition. Medical personnel at these facilities will be able to review your medication list, and prescribe treatment for you which does not conflict with any of the medicines you are currently taking. When doctors check for drug interactions with meprobamate, some of the most commonly checked medications are the following:

  • Carisoprodol
  • Celecoxib
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Codeine
  • Melatonin
  • Gabapentin
  • Esomeprazole
  • Acetaminophen
  • Fluoxetine
  • Aspirin
  • Aripiprazole
  • Alpha D galactosidase
  • Butalbital
  • Caffeine
  • Tamsulosin
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Alprazolam
  • Ergocalciferol
  • Topiramate
  • Levothyroxine
  • Auranofin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Duloxetine.

In addition to interactions with other drugs, there is a potential for meprobamate to interact with medical conditions that you may already have. To prevent this, you should be sure and have a full review of your medical history with your doctor, so that he/she will be aware of any possibility of medical conditions you have had in the past, or currently have which might interact with meprobamate. The medical conditions which are most at risk of interaction are the following:

  • Liver disease
  • Depression
  • Renal disease
  • Respiratory depression
  • Alcohol intolx
  • Drug dependence
  • Porphyria
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizure disorders.

Warnings

When taking meprobamate, you should be aware of some warnings and precautions that go along with regular usage, and should be observed for the sake of avoiding any complications with existing medical conditions you have, or triggering new ones. If you anticipate taking meprobamate for a long period of time, you should make sure that you have regular appointments with your doctor so that he/she can check on the progress of the medication, as well as its effect on your body. There should not be any stretches of time beyond three months where you have not seen your doctor at least once, because there is a potential for this drug to become habit-forming during that period of time.

If your doctor has prescribed high doses of meprobamate for you, and if this continues for a fairly long time, you should not try to discontinue taking the drug on your own without consulting with your doctor. Because it can be habit-forming, if you suddenly take it out of your routine, you may experience fairly severe symptoms of withdrawal.

The effects of this medicine can be increased significantly by taking alcohol or other depressants which cause the nervous system to slow down. You should avoid taking such medications as:

  • Any kind of depressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Hay fever medicines
  • Medications for allergies or colds
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotics
  • Prescription pain medication
  • Barbiturates
  • Seizure medicines
  • Anesthetics
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Dental anesthetics.

There's a possibility that any of these medications can combine with meprobamate to induce extreme drowsiness are lightheadedness in a patient, and that will make it unsafe for you to be driving a motor vehicle or operating any kind of machinery for several hours after taking this medicine. You should not do any of these kinds of actions until you are sure how your body reacts to meprobamate.

There is a potential for this medication to interfere with the results of some medical tests, for instance the metyrapone phentolamine test. If you're having either of these kinds of laboratory tests conducted, make sure to tell the technician that you are taking meprobamate, and that it may skew the results.

If you believe that you or someone you know has suffered an overdose of meprobamate, you should immediately seek emergency medical help, because there is a possibility for an overdose to induce unconsciousness, and it can even be fatal. The things to look for in an overdose are:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slurred speech or hoarseness
  • Staggering or severe unsteadiness
  • Severe confusion or disorientation
  • Powerful drowsiness and or weakness
  • Extremely slow heartbeat.

This medicine can cause severe dry mouth, which can be relieved temporarily by chewing gum or licking hard candy. If this kind of dry mouth persists for two weeks or longer, you should notify your doctor as soon as possible and discuss alternatives, since persistent dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

It is not recommended that pregnant women use meprobamate during the first trimester of pregnancy, because of the potential for adverse impacts on the unborn fetus. Even during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, meprobamate should only be used if your doctor recommends it, even after any risks are taken into consideration.

It is known that meprobamate does pass into breast milk to a nursing infant, and that there's a potential for harm to the infant. It is therefore inadvisable to be breast-feeding at the same time that you are on a treatment program using meprobamate.

Storage

This medicine should be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature, in a location which is not subject to extremes of heat, cold, moisture, or direct light. It should be kept out of the reach of children at all times, and should not be stored in weekly pill reminders which lack the locking mechanisms to prevent unwanted access.

If your meprobamate medication should become expired, you should not use it, but should instead discard it according to proper disposal methods recommended by your doctor or pharmacist. Lacking either of these, you should consult the FDA website for the safe disposal of medicines.

Summary

Meprobomate is a prescription medication taken by oral tablet, for the purpose of treating anxiety in patients. Since it can become habit-forming if used in high doses or over a long period of time, it will be necessary to take this medicine under close doctor supervision. It should not be taken by pregnant women, unless a doctor has deemed that it provides greater benefits than risks. Regular doctor appointments should always be kept, since it is possible for this medicine to lose its effectiveness after a period of a few months.