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Valium (Diazepam)

Valium, also called diazepam, is used to relieve anxiety and panic attacks and to control some types of seizures in children, teenagers, and adults. Valium can also be prescribed to reduce the side effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Dosage

Valium comes as a regular tablet, extended-release tablet, or a liquid concentrate; a doctor will help patients select the form that is best for them. Valium is usually taken one to four times per day for a short time period (usually less than four months total). The liquid concentrate form needs to be diluted with water or another beverage before you take it; you can also mix it into pudding or applesauce if desired.

Important Information Before Use

Valium can be habit forming and should be taken only as directed by your doctor. If you have or have ever had glaucoma, seizures, or heart, kidney, or lung disease, you should talk to your doctor about these conditions before you take this drug. If you are over age sixty-five, you should not take this medication; you may need to use a different medication to control your symptoms.

 

Valium may interact with other medications or supplements, including antihistamines, some antibiotics, antidepressants, herbal remedies like St. John's Wort, vitamins, oral contraceptives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and more. If you are taking any other prescription drugs or supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medication.

Important Information During Use

  • Let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Valium; this medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco products when taking Valium; these products can reduce the effectiveness of your medication.
  • Valium can make you extremely drowsy, so use care when driving or operating heavy equipment. Using alcohol can increase the severity of this side effect.
  • Antacids can reduce the effectiveness of this medication; avoid taking antacids within an hour of taking this medication.
  • Tell your doctor, dentist, or surgeon that you are taking Valium before you have any type of surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Valium overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency and should be treated right away. Symptoms of overdose include extreme drowsiness, slowed reflexes, breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness.

Side Effects

If you experience serious or severe side effects from Valium, you should call your doctor. Serious side effects may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Excitement or restlessness
  • Difficult or frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Yellowed skin or eyes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Shuffling walk, tremors, or uncontrollable shaking

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Appetite changes
  • Dry mouth

Withdrawing

If you take Valium regularly, you should not stop taking it abruptly. Since Valium can cause dependency issues, you should talk to your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication. You can reduce the symptoms you feel during withdrawal by slowly tapering off over time. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

References:

  1. Valium. (2014, May 1). Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/valium.html

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND

 

Last Update: 12-22-2014

 
   

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