Valium - Diazepam (diazepam)
Diazepam is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, 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.
Diazepam is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. 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 and relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases.
How to use Diazepam:
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently or use it for a longer period of time than prescribed because this drug can be habit-forming. Also, if used for an extended period of time or for seizure control, do not suddenly stop using this drug without your doctor's approval. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while being treated with this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit juice can increase the amount of certain medications in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Diazepam may be taken with or without food. Diazepam is metabolized 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 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.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you are taking this medication for seizures, take it if remembered within 1 hour of the missed dose, but skip it if more than 1 hour has passed.
Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: liver disease, kidney disease, lung/breathing problems (e.g., COPD, sleep apnea), drug or alcohol abuse, any allergies.
This drug may make you dizzy, drowsy or cause blurred vision; use caution engaging in activities requiring alertness such as driving or using machinery.
Limit alcoholic beverages. Alcohol or medications that cause sedation may add to the sedative effects of diazepam. Patients taking benzodiazepines should avoid such combinations.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the drowsiness effect.
Cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral), omeprazole (Prilosec, Rapinex), fluvoxamine (Dumirox, Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac) may prolong the effects of diazepam by inhibiting liver enzymes that break down diazepam. Dosages may need to be decreased when these drugs are used with diazepam.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy due to the potential for fetal harm. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, diazepam should not be used by women who are breast-feeding.
The most frequent side effects of diazepam are drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, and ataxia (loss of balance). Rarely, diazepam causes a paradoxical reaction with excitability, muscle spasm, lack of sleep, and rage. Confusion, headache, depression, constipation and blurred or double vision are also rare side effects of diazepam.
If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes, slurred speech, clumsiness, trouble walking, decreased/increased interest in sex, tremor, trouble urinating, sleep disturbances.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea, vomiting, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, persistent sore throat or fever.
A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
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 of the medicine may cause symptoms of withdrawal (insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue). 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 stopping the medication.
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, slowed/reduced reflexes, slowed breathing, fainting, loss of consciousness.