Diazepam is the generic name of Valium, it is prescribed for the treatment of symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Valium can also be prescribed to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, known as “delirium”.
In addition, the drug can treat muscle spasms from trauma, inflammation or nervous disorders.
Doctors sometimes prescribe Valium along with other medications to treat seizures.
Valium refers to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which work by increasing the effect of GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows the activity of nerve signals in the brain.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved diazepam in 1963 under the trademark Valium for the pharmaceutical company Roche.
In 1985, the FDA approved a general diazepam, manufactured today by several pharmaceutical companies.
Benzodiazepines are widely known drugs. According to reports in NewYorkTimes and other countries, in the 1970s, American doctors gave out over 50 million prescriptions for Valium, when it was the most popular drug in America.
The abuse of benzodiazepines, especially when combined with opioid analgesics, is becoming more common in recent years.
Valium and other benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse.
Because these drugs can increase the effect of prescription painkillers such as opioids, some people abuse benzodiazepines along with opioids to get euphoric effects.
Cocaine addicts can use benzodiazepines to remove unpleasant side effects, such as irritability and agitation.
The abuse of benzodiazepines also includes the use of benzodiazepines to enhance the effects of alcohol and alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Valium can become familiar. If you take it for a long time, your body will create tolerance (resistance to the drug).
If you stop taking Valium suddenly after taking it for a long time, you may have withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability and trouble sleeping.
Valium is intended for short-term use. Because it can be addictive, it is not recommended that people take it for more than four months.
If you have had problems with the abuse of drugs or alcohol in the past, you may have an increased risk that Valium will become familiar.
Drinking alcohol can make some of Valium’s side effects more serious.
Valium for dogs and cats
Valium is also given to dogs, cats and other animals for the treatment of anxiety, seizures or loss of appetite.
In addition, it can be used as a sedative before surgery or other veterinary procedures.
Valium for dogs and cats should be used only under the guidance of a veterinarian.
Pregnancy and Valium
Valium is dangerous for use if you are pregnant or nursing.
Taking Valium during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and withdrawal symptoms in newborns.
Because Valium passes into breast milk, you should not breast-feed while taking this medication.
Before taking Valium, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, you can become pregnant or breastfeed. If you become pregnant while taking Valium, immediately tell your doctor.
Children under the age of 6 months should not take Valium.
Valium has many side effects. Always tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, including other benzodiazepines.
Common brand names for other benzodiazepines include Xanax, Librium, Klonopin, Dalmane and Ativan.
Valium can interact with many medications, so take it with caution if you have certain medical conditions:
- You should not take Valium, if you have a condition called myasthenia.
- You should not take Valium unless you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma. Tell your doctor about any other eye symptoms.
- You can not take Valium if you have severe lung disease, liver disease or sleep apnea.
- Other conditions that your doctor should know about include heart problems, convulsions, alcohol and drug abuse, and depression.
- If you are 65 years or older, talk with your doctor about other drugs that can work in place of Valium.
Side effects of diazepam
The most common side effects of Valium are drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness and clumsiness (called ataxia).
However, let your doctor know if you have any unusual side effects, including:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred or double vision
- Sleep disturbance
- Muscle spasms
- Dry mouth
- Loss of interest in sex
- Urinary problems
- Change in appetite
Serious side effects of Valium can also occur. If you have any of these side effects, seek immediate medical attention:
- Extreme weakness or drowsiness
- Unpleasant breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, lips or tongue
- Depression worsening
- Panic attack
- Inability to pass urine
Many drugs can affect the work of Valium, and Valium can affect other drugs that you take.
It is very important that your doctor knows about all the medicines that you take.
Types of drugs that are known to interact with Valium and can cause problems include:
- Inhibitors of monoamine oxidase or MAOI (drugs used for depression)
- Phenothiazines (drugs used in severe mental illness)
- Drugs used for anxiety, including fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Sedative, muscle relaxants and drugs used for sleep
- Medicines containing antihistamines
- Narcotic painkillers and barbiturates
- Drugs used to treat heartburn including cimetidine (tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac)
- Drugs used to treat fungal infections, including ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- Drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, including levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet),
- Anti-adherent drugs, including valproic acid (Depakene) and phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Some medications from the heart, such as digoxin (lanoxin) and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
Valium can make you feel drowsy and can affect your opinion.
Until you know how Valium will affect you, do not operate the machines.
Drinking alcohol can make some of Valium’s side effects more serious, causing problems.
The dosage of diazepam
Valium is produced in the form of tablets, sustained-release capsules and liquid form.
You can take Valium with or without food.
In the tablet form, Valium contains 2, 5 and 10 milligrams (mg) of the tablet.
Your dose will depend on your condition and your own response to Valium:
- A typical adult dose of Valium for the treatment of anxiety can vary from 2 to 10 mg two to four times a day.
- A typical adult dose of Valium for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal can be 10 mg three to four times a day for 24 hours, and then 5 mg taken three to four times a day as needed.
- A typical adult dose of Valium for the treatment of muscle spasms can vary from 2 to 10 mg three to four times a day.
- A typical adult dose of Valium for the treatment of seizures can vary from 2 to 10 mg two to four times a day.
- Elderly people or people with a chronic illness can take 2 to 2.5 mg once or twice a day.
An overdose of Valium can cause depression of the central nervous system. Symptoms may include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Problems with walking
- Extreme Weakness
- Labored breathing
- Loss of consciousness
You can have a fatal overdose if you mix the drug with other drugs that also cause depression of the central nervous system.
If an overdose occurs, call the Toxicology Center or call 911.
The missed dose of Valium
Take Valium exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking diazepam on your own.
A sudden discontinuation of reception can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Problems with sleep
If you miss a dose of the drug, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
If it’s time for the next dose, skip it.
Do not double your dose to make up for the missed one.