diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Is Valium (diazepam) available as a generic drug?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for Valium (diazepam)?

Yes

What are the uses for Valium (diazepam)?

  • 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.

Can a person become addicted to Valium (diazepam)

Warning: Diazepam can lead to addiction (dependency), especially when higher dosages are used over prolonged periods of time. In patients addicted to diazepam or after prolonged use, abrupt discontinuation may cause symptoms of withdrawal such as:

Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. Therefore, after extended use, diazepam should be slowly tapered under a doctor's supervision rather than abruptly stopped.

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What are the side effects of Valium (diazepam)?

The most common side effects of diazepam are:

Other important side effects include:

Possible serious side effects:

What is the dosage for Valium (diazepam)?

  • 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.

Which drugs or supplements interact with Valium (diazepam)?

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

The following drugs 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.

Is Valium (diazepam) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

  • Benzodiazepines, including diazepam, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used during pregnancy.
  • Diazepam is excreted in breast milk and can affect nursing infants. Therefore, diazepam should not be used by women who are nursing.
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What else should I know about Valium (diazepam)?

What preparations of Valium (diazepam) are available?
  • 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.
How should I keep Valium (diazepam) stored?
  • Diazepam should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
How does Valium (diazepam) work?
  • 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.
When was Valium (diazepam) approved by the FDA?
  • The FDA approved diazepam in November 1963.

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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See more info: diazepam on RxList
Reviewed on 11/29/2016
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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