Diazepam

Diazepam uses, dosage and side effects

Table of Contents

Diazepam, popularly known as valium, is a part of the benzodiazepine family that works by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Diazepam can be used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. In some cases, this drug can also be used in conjunction with other drugs to treat seizures.

Diazepam is not recommended for use if you are allergic to similar medicines, such as Klonopin, Xanax, and others. Furthermore, diazepam is also not for people who suffer from myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease, angle-closure glaucoma, severe respiratory problems, or sleep apnea.

It is strongly prohibited to give this drug to children under 6 months. Misuse of this drug can lead to addiction or death, especially in children or others who use it without a doctor’s prescription.

Fatal side effects can also occur if you use this drug in combination with opioid medicines, alcohol, or other medicines that cause sleepiness or slow breathing.

Diazepam Dosage Considerations

Condition: Anxiety Disorder

  • Oral dose for adults: 2 to 10 mg orally 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Parenteral dose with moderate anxiety disorders and symptoms: 2 to 5 mg IM or IV, take within 3 to 4 hours if necessary.
  • Parenteral dose with severe anxiety disorders and symptoms: 5 to 10 mg IM or IV, take within 3 to 4 hours if necessary.
  • Oral dose for children >6 months: 1 to 2.5 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day.

Condition: Alcohol Withdrawal

  • Initial oral dose for adults: 10 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day for the first 24 hours.
  • Maintenance dose for adults: 5 mg consumption 3 to 4 times daily as needed.
  • Parenteral dose: 10 mg IM or IV once, then 5 to 10 mg IM or IV in 3 to 4 hours if necessary.

Condition: Muscle spasm

  • Oral dose for adults: 2 to 10 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Parenteral dose: 5 to 10 mg IM or IV, then 5 to 10 mg IM or IV in 3 to 4 hours if necessary.

Condition: Seizures

  • Oral dose for adults: 2 to 10 mg orally 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Initial rectal dose level for adults: 0.2 mg / kg rectally, round the dose for the next use. 
  • Oral dose for children> 6 months: 1 to 2.5 mg orally 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Rectal intake for children aged 2 to 5 years: 0.5 mg / kg rectally, round the dose for the next use. 
  • Rectal dose for children aged 6 to 11: 0.3 mg / kg, round the dose for the next use. 
  • Rectal dose for children >12 years: 0.2 mg / kg, round the dose for the next use

Condition: Status Epilepticus

  • Parenteral dose for adults: 5 to 10 mg IV once – consumed within 10 to 15-minute intervals up to a maximum dose of 30 mg if necessary.
  • Parenteral (IV) dose for 2-week-old children to <5 years: 0.2 to 0.5 mg slow IV injection every 2 to 5 minutes, up to a maximum dose of 5 mg. Repeat in 2 to 4 hours if necessary.
  • Parenteral (IV) dose for children >5 years: 1 mg slow IV injection every 2 to 5 minutes, up to a maximum dose of 10 mg. Repeat in 2 to 4 hours if necessary.

Condition: Light Anesthesia

  • Parenteral dose: pre-operative treatment of 10 mg IM 1 time before surgery.

Guidelines for Diazepam

Follow the instructions for using diazepam as directed by your doctor:

  • Read the drug instructions before you start taking this medicine.
  • Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor.
  • If you are taking liquid medicine, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring instrument or spoon. Do not use a tablespoon, as the dosage will be inaccurate.
  • If you are using a concentrated solution, use a dropper and mix the dose with a small amount of liquid or soft food, such as pudding. Do not store the mixture for later use.
  • Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or duration of use of this medicine. Your condition will not improve any quicker and the risk of side effects will increase.
  • If you suddenly stop using this drug, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as shaking, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, fatigue, or seizures. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely to occur if you have used this drug for a long time or in high doses.
  • If you have been taking this drug for a long time, talk to your doctor immediately if this medicine seems to not work effectively.
  • This drug can be addictive, particularly if you have a substance abuse disorder, such as overuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Take this medicine as directed by your doctor or pharmacist to lower your risk of addiction.
  • Avoid eating or drinking grapefruit juice while taking this medicine, unless your doctor or pharmacist allows you to do so. Grapefruit can increase the risks of side effects.
  • Take this medication regularly at the same time every day to get optimal benefits if recommended by your doctor.
  • Inform your doctor if your condition does not get better or gets worse.

What is Diazepam Used for

Diazepam can be used for treatments such as: 

  • Seizures.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Alcohol withdrawals
  • Anxiety disorders.

Diazepam can also be used to help:

  • Calm your brain and nerves.
  • Provide sedation before medical procedures.

Contraindications for Diazepam

Diazepam has specific situations in which the drug should not be used because it may be harmful to the person, such as:

  • Infant patients under the age of 6 months.
  • Patients with hypersensitivity to this drug.
  • Patients with severe respiratory insufficiency, myasthenia gravis, sleep apnea, and liver failure.

List of Diazepam Side Effects

Watch out for side effects that may appear when you take this medicine. Several side effects of diazepam that require immediate medical care are:

  • Agitation.
  • Fever.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Black stools
  • Dark-colored urine 
  • Stomach ache and headache
  • The skin blisters or peels off.
  • Changes in speech patterns and rhythms.
  • Increased spasms or muscle tone.
  • Feel, see, or hear things that do not exist.
  • Rapid heartbeat or irregular breathing.
  • Dizziness or fainting when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position.
  • Difficulty urinating, decreased urine output and urinary frequency. 

Seek immediate medical help if you experience severe side effects, such as slow or shallow breathing.

Although rare cases, you are required to get proper medical care if you notice symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.

Consult your doctor or pharmacist through Smarter Health to find out more about the recommended dosage for diazepam. Smarter Health allows you to access healthcare services whenever you need them. 

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