Diazepam treats anxiety. This medication can cause drowsiness. Do not suddenly stop taking diazepam without talking to your doctor because you may experience harmful withdrawal symptoms.
Diazepam is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including agitation, tremor, and hallucinations. Diazepam belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines which work by reducing the activity of nerves in the brain.
This medication comes in tablet, liquid (oral), injectable and rectal forms. Oral tablets and liquid may be taken 2 to 4 times daily, with or without food.
Common side effects include drowsiness, tiredness, and weakness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how diazepam affects you.
Diazepam Genetic Information
CYP2C19 is an enzyme in the blood that is responsible for breaking down diazepam and other drugs in the body. Some patients have less of this protein in their bodies, affecting how much of the drug gets eliminated. Levels of CYP2C19 can vary greatly between individuals, and those having less of this protein are known as "poor metabolizers."
CYP2C19 testing is done to determine whether you are a poor metabolizer. If you are a poor metabolizer, the levels of diazepam in your blood can become too high. As a result you may be at an increased risk of having more side effects from diazepam.
Your doctor may adjust your dose of diazepam if you are a poor metabolizer.
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Uses of Diazepam
Diazepam is a prescription medicine used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal including agitation, tremor, and hallucinations.
This medicine may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Diazepam Brand Names
Diazepam Drug Class
Diazepam is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Diazepam
The most common side effects are:
- fatigue (a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion or a need to rest because of lack of energy or strength)
- muscle weakness
- poor coordination (ataxia)
Other side effects may include:
- dry mouth
- changes in appetite
- changes in vision
Call your doctor right away if you experience:
- difficulty breathing
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
- digoxin (Lanoxin)
- disulfiram (Antabuse)
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
- isoniazid (INH, Laniazid, Nydrazid)
- ketoconazole (Nizoral)
- levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet)
- antidepressant medicines
- medicine for seizures
- medicine for pain
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- muscle relaxants
- oral contraceptives
- propoxyphene (Darvon)
- propranolol (Inderal)
- ranitidine (Zantac)
- rifampin (Rifadin)
- medicines for sleep
- theophylline (Theo-Dur)
- valproic acid (Depakene)
This is not a complete list of diazepam drug interactions. Talk to your doctor for more information.
Diazepam may produce psychological and physical dependence (habit-forming) and is a controlled substance under Schedule IV. Never give this medicine to others.
You should talk to your doctor before either increasing your dose, or suddenly stopping this medication. The risk of dependence increases with the duration of treatment. In patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse, the risk of dependence is also increased.
Diazepam may cause drowsiness and dizziness and may impair your ability to operate a vehicle or machinery. Do not drink alcohol, or take any medicines that cause drowsiness, while taking diazepam.
Diazepam Food Interactions
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with diazepam and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any ingredient in diazepam.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- seizures (epilepsy)
- lung disease (asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, COPD)
- heart disease
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- glaucoma (open-angle)
- a history of mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior
- a history of alcohol or drug addiction
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Diazepam and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
This medication falls into category D. Diazepam can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking diazepam during pregnancy.
Diazepam and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Diazepam is excreted in human breast milk. Breastfeeding is therefore not recommended during diazepam therapy.
Oral diazepam (tablets and liquid) can be taken with our without food. Taking it with food may help if it bothers your stomach.
Diazepam concentrate (liquid) comes with a specially marked dropper for measuring the dose. Use only the calibrated dropper provided with this product. Draw into the dropper the amount prescribed for a single dose.
- Then squeeze the dropper contents into a liquid or semi-solid food. It is recommended that the dose be mixed with liquid or semi-solid food such as water, juices, soda or soda-like beverages, applesauce and puddings.
- Stir the liquid or food gently for a few seconds. The entire amount of the mixture, of drug and liquid or drug and food, should be consumed immediately. Do not store for future use.
If you miss a diazepam dose, do not take a double dose unless your doctor advises you to.
Do not abruptly stop taking diazepam without talking to your doctor. Your dosage may be gradually decreased to avoid withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, irritability).
Take diazepam exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Your doctor will determine the best dosage for you. The dosage must be individualized.
The usual adult dosage varies from 2 mg to 10 mg, up to four times daily.
If you take too much diazepam, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Store at room temperature 59° to 86°F (15° to 30°C). Protect from light.
- Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.