Valium - Diazepam (diazepam)
General information on Valium
Valium, with active ingredient diazepam, is a prescription medicine which belongs to a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines. The drug is used for treating anxiety disorders, seizures and in some cases, alcohol withdrawal symptoms and muscle spasms too. The drug works by increasing the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is responsible for having a calming influence on the brain, stopping certain nerve signals, thus helping in treating anxiety and other mental disorders.
Precautions/side effects of Valium
Valium has active ingredient diazepam. Patients allergic to diazepam should refrain from using this drug. Apart from that, patients with glaucoma, liver disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma or sleep apnea should refrain from using this drug. Patients with a history of drug or alcohol abuse or epilepsy should take Valium only after consultation with a doctor.
Valium is also known to react with certain medications such as antidepressants like flouxetine, medications used for treating AIDS like delavirdine, blood thinners like warfarin, antibiotics like calrithromycin and other medications such as phenytoin, ciemtidine etc. Patients on any of these drugs should consult a doctor before taking Valium.
Valium is a Category D pregnancy drug. It can have adverse effects on the fetus as well as the newborn. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should refrain from using this drug.
The drug is also known to have certain side effects such as dizziness, forgetfulness, dry mouth, rashes on the skin, nausea, constipation etc. However, in certain cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as incontinence, depression, tremors, seizures, hallucination and confusion. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- Consumption of alcohol should be avoided while on Valium.
- Valium is known to cause dizziness. Thus, dangerous tasks which require concentration such as driving or working on heavy machinery should be avoided while taking Valium.
- The drug is known to have addictive properties. Thus, patients with a history of drug or alcohol abuse should stay away from Valium.
Dosage of Valium
Valium is available as 2 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg tablets. The usual dosage of the drug for treating anxiety disorders is 2 to 4 mg two to four times daily. The usual prescribed dose of the drug for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms is 10 mg 4 times a day for 3-4 days followed by 5 mg 3-4 times a day afterwards. The actual dosage may vary depending on the response of the patient.
The drug can be taken with or without food. However, taking the drug with food is recommended for preventing stomach upsets. Overdose of the drug should be avoided at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be had as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can lead to severe symptoms such as seizures, tremors, hallucination etc. which need immediate medical attention.
Valium should not be used for more than 3 months at one stretch. When stopping the usage of the drug, the dosage should be reduced slowly. Stopping the dosage of the drug abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.
Storage of Valium
Valium should be stored at room temperature, in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It should be stored out of reach of children and pets at all times. A track of the tablets should be kept to prevent unauthorized use of the drug, since the drug is known to have addictive properties.