diazepam, Valium

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GENERIC NAME: diazepam

BRAND NAME: Valium, Diastat

DRUG CLASS: Diazepam is an oral medication that is used to treat anxiety. It belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs, the same family that includes alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. Diazepam and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits activity in the brain. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may lead to anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. The FDA approved diazepam in November 1963.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 2, 5 and 10 mg. Oral Solution: 1 mg/ml, 5 mg/ml. Injection Solution: 5 mg/ml. Intramuscular Device: 10 mg/2 ml. Rectal Gel: 2.5, 10 and 20 mg.

STORAGE: Diazepam should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Diazepam is used for the treatment of disorders with anxiety. Diazepam also is used for the treatment of agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal. It is used for the treatment of seizures, relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases, and for sedation during surgery.

DOSING: Diazepam may be taken with or without food. Diazepam is disposed of by the liver and excreted mainly by the kidney. Dosages of diazepam may need to be lowered in patients with abnormal kidney function. The usual oral diazepam dose for anxiety or seizures is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily. The usual rectal dose is 0.2-0.5 mg/kg and depends on the age of the patient.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Alcohol or medications that cause sedation may add to the sedative effects of diazepam. Patients taking benzodiazepines should avoid such combinations.

Cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), omeprazole (Prilosec, Rapinex), erythromycin, clarithromycin (Biaxin), darunavir (Prezista), ( (fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac) may prolong the effects of diazepam by inhibiting liver enzymes that eliminate diazepam. Dosages may need to be decreased when these drugs are used with diazepam.

Carbamazepine (Tegretol), rifampin (Rifadin), and St. John's Wort decrease levels of diazepam by increasing the elimination of diazepam by liver enzymes.

PREGNANCY: Benzodiazepines, including diazepam, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used during pregnancy.

NURSING MOTHERS: Diazepam is excreted in breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, diazepam should not be used by women who are nursing.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2013



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