Diazepam – Uses, Side Effects, and More

What Is Diazepam?

Diazepam is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. This drug increases the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain, promoting sedation and sleep. Diazepam comes in tablets, an oral solution, and an injection to administer by IV or IM.

What Are the Uses of Diazepam?

Diazepam can help relieve anxiety, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. It is also used as a pre-anesthesia medication and antidote to treat cardiac arrest (a serious condition in which the heart stops beating). Diazepam may be prescribed to treat Depression, panic disorders, seizures, insomnia, and other sleep disorders.

What Are Some Side Effects of Diazepam?

Diazepam can cause mild or severe side effects, depending on the dose. Mild effects include sleepiness, tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, headaches, and changes in mood or behavior. These side effects are generally mild to moderate in severity and tend to go away within a few days. 

Severe Side Effects Are Rare and Include:

Seizures are getting Worse

Among the symptoms include an increase in frequency and escalation in severity.

Changes to your thinking or Brain Chemistry

Some symptoms include Depression, blurry or blurred vision, slurred or delayed speech, Suicidal ideas, and Memory loss.

Unanticipated Outcomes

Symptoms include Extreme excitement, anxiety, hallucinations, more frequent muscular spasms, sleep issues, and agitation.

Liver Issues

Some symptoms include skin, or the whites of the eyes become yellow (jaundice). 

Bladder Issues

Some symptoms include being unable to urinate and not being able to contain urine.

A Rise or Fall in Sexual Desire

Some symptoms include: a loss of feeling in the genital area, changes in sexual desire and performance.

Withdrawal

Some symptoms include tremors, spasms in the stomach or muscles, sweating, and convulsions.

How Should I Take Diazepam?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than your doctor recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Diazepam can be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share diazepam with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Inform your doctor if you feel the medication is not working properly after taking it for several weeks. Do not stop taking diazepam without first talking to your doctor, as sudden withdrawal symptoms can occur.

What If I Miss a Dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

What Happens If I Overdose?

Overdose symptoms may include muscle weakness, extreme drowsiness, confusion, unresponsiveness, and breathing problems. When diazepam is mixed with other depressants, such as alcohol, the effects can be more severe.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Diazepam?

Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Diazepam may impair your thinking or reactions. Do not drink alcohol in large amounts while taking this medication. Avoid other medications that may interact with diazepam. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over the counter, vitamin, and herbal products.

Diazepam May Interact with Other Medications.

Diazepam can interact with many other drugs. Different interactions can cause different side effects. Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with diazepam are:

Acid-Suppressing Drugs

These medications hamper diazepam absorption. You might not receive the full dose of diazepam if you take them simultaneously, and it might not work either. These medications consist of famotidine, omeprazole, and pantoprazole

Allergy Or Cold Drugs

Some medications for allergies or colds can make you more drowsy or sleepy when used with diazepam. Your breathing could also become erratic or cease altogether. These medications include diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, promethazine, and hydroxyzine.

Antidepressants

Your risk of tiredness or sleepiness can rise if you combine certain antidepressants with diazepam. Your breathing could also become erratic or cease altogether. These medicines include amitriptyline, nortriptyline, doxepin, mirtazapine, and trazodone.

Antifungal Drugs

These medications prevent the enzyme from breaking down diazepam. This may raise the amounts of diazepam in your body, increasing your vulnerability to negative effects like sleepiness. These medications include ketoconazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole

Antipsychotic Drugs

You run a higher risk of feeling sleepy or tired if you combine certain antipsychotic medications with diazepam. Your breathing could also become erratic or cease altogether. These medications include haloperidol, chlorpromazine, quetiapine, risperidone, olanzapine, and clozapine

Anxiety Drugs

Your risk for sleepiness or drowsiness can increase if you combine certain anti-anxiety medications with diazepam. Your breathing could also become erratic or cease altogether. These medications include lorazepam, clonazepam, and alprazolam.

Tuberculosis Drugs

Your body will metabolize diazepam more quickly thanks to these medications, resulting in lower amounts of the substance in your system. It might not function as effectively if you take them along with diazepam. These medications include rifampin, rifabutin, and rifapentine.

Pain Drugs

Your risk of drowsiness or sleepiness can rise if you combine certain painkillers with diazepam. Your breathing could also become erratic or cease altogether. These medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, hydromorphone, and codeine.

Diazepam and Pregnancy

While taking diazepam, remember that it is a pregnancy category D drug. Diazepam may cause harm to a developing baby if the medicine is used during the first three months of pregnancy. Use an effective form of birth control while taking this medication and for at least one month after your treatment. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant while treated with diazepam. If you have recently had a baby, wait until your baby is at least 3 months old before taking diazepam.

Diazepam and Breastfeeding

Diazepam passes into breast milk and may cause drowsiness, trouble with feeding, or breathing problems in the nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby.

What Should I Know About the Storage of This Medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture. Do not allow the liquid form of this medication to freeze.

Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Diazepam is a drug of abuse, and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Who should not take this medication?

Do not use diazepam: if you are allergic to any of its ingredients or if you have: glaucoma, a history of alcohol or drug abuse or addiction, trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland, or kidney disease. 

Special Warnings

Discuss your medical history with your doctor. You may not be able to take diazepam, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have: liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, congenital heart defects, difficulty breathing when lying down (sleep apnea), or snoring, slow breathing (respiratory Depression), sleep apnea (breathing stops while sleeping), a history of Depression or suicidal ideation.

 

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