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Valium: drug review

What is Valium (Diazepam)?

Valium is the brand name for diazepam, a prescription drug used to treat symptoms of:

  • anxiety,

  • muscle spasms,

  • alcohol withdrawal,

  • and also as a premedication for sedation,

Anxiolysis or amnesia before certain medical procedures or operations.

More recently, Valium (Diazepam) was approved as a nasal spray to interrupt seizure activity in patients with epilepsy.

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Valium (Diazepam) is a Schedule IV controlled substance.

general information


Valium (Diazepam) is classified as a benzodiazepine drug. It works by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This drug helps activate gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that transmits signals throughout the body. Decreased GABA presence is thought to cause anxiety, so Valium (Diazepam) counteracts these sensations by stimulating the release of this important neurotransmitter.


Active ingredient: Diazepam.

Inactive Ingredients: Lactose anhydrous, corn starch, pregelatinized starch and calcium stearate.

Common Forms of Valium

Valium is available as tablets, oral solution, intravenous injection, and liquid nasal spray. There are also rectal gels that are primarily used in children, but are also available in adult dosages.

How should I use Valium (Diazepam)?


Valium should be taken exactly as directed on the prescription drug label or as directed by your doctor. Ultimately, doctors will prescribe the lowest dosage that produces the desired effect, which will be determined by adjusting low doses over time after consultation with the patient.

Valium (Diazepam) tablets are available in 2 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg doses.

Valium oral solution is available in doses of 1 mg/1 ml and 5 mg/ml.

An injection solution of the drug is available in a dose of 5 mg/ml.

The dosage of Valium (Diazepam) depends entirely on its purpose and the condition(s) it is prescribed to treat.

All in all:

  • For anxiety: 2–10 mg PO every 5–11 hours or 2–10 mg IV/IM every 5–11 hours; no more than 30 mg/7 hours.

  • For the treatment of alcohol withdrawal: 10 mg orally every 5-7 hours for the first 24 hours; if necessary, reduce to 5 mg orally every 6 to 8 hours.

  • Preoperative sedation: 10 mg intramuscularly before surgery.

  • Sedation in the intensive care unit: 5–10 mg IV 1–2 hours before surgery; 0.03-0.1 mg/kg every 30 minutes-6 hours.

  • For the treatment of seizure disorders: 2 to 10 mg orally every 6 to 12 hours as an adjunct or 0.2 mg/kg rectally, repeated after 4 to 12 hours as needed.

Patients with epilepsy:
  • Adults: Adults: 5–10 mg IV/IM every 5–10 minutes; do not exceed 30 mg or 0.5 mg/kg rectally (using parenteral solution), then 0.25 mg/kg after 10 minutes as needed

  • Pediatric patients: Potentially toxic dose for patients under 6 years of age: more than 0.5 mg/kg;

  • 2–6 years: 0.5 mg/kg; if necessary, can be repeated after 4–12 hours

  • 6–12 years: 0.3 mg/kg; if necessary, can be repeated after 4–12 hours

  • Over 12 years: 0.2 mg/kg; if necessary, can be repeated after 4–12 hours

  • Children 6 months to 6 years: Initially, 0.2–0.5 mg IV, repeat every 2–5 minutes; do not exceed 5 mg; if necessary, can be repeated after 2-4 hours

  • Children over 6 years: 1 mg IV slowly every 2–5 minutes; do not exceed a total dose of 10 mg; if necessary, can be repeated after 2-4 hours

Taking Valium

Oral tablets are most often taken two to four times daily. These tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed, chewed, or broken.

To take Valium (Diazepam) oral solution:

  • Pipette the required amount of drug for one dose.

  • Squeeze the entire contents of the dropper into liquid or semi-solid food, such as water, juice, yogurt, or pudding.

  • Stir liquid or stir food gently. The concentrated liquid must be completely mixed with the food.

  • Drink or eat the entire mixture immediately.

Valium (Diazepam) may be addictive. Do not take a large dose of the drug, take it more often (extra doses) or for longer than prescribed by your doctor.

Do not stop taking Valium or reduce your dose without talking to your doctor. Stopping this drug suddenly may cause discomfort or mood changes, and you may experience other withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • convulsions,

  • uncontrolled shaking of a body part,

  • headache

  • blurred vision

  • increased sensitivity to noise or light

  • changes in sense of smell

  • sweating

  • difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • difficulty concentrating

  • nervousness

  • depression

  • irritability

  • aggressive behavior

  • muscle twitching or cramps

  • diarrhea

  • vomit

  • pain

  • burning

  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs

  • decreased appetite, or weight loss.

Missed dose

Take any missed dose of Valium (Diazepam) as soon as you remember, unless it is near the time of your next dose; in this case, you should skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not double your medication dose to make up for a missed dose.

What should I do before and while taking Valium?

Before taking Valium (Diazepam):

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any other prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking. Be specific about the following types of medications you take, for example:

  • Neuroleptics

  • Antidepressants

  • Anticonvulsants

  • Sleeping pills

  • Strong painkillers such as codeine, oxycodone, methadone, etc.

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Medicines for alcohol addiction, tuberculosis or bacterial infections.

  • Any medications to treat asthma or other breathing problems.

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Do not take Valium if you are breastfeeding, as Valium passes into breast milk and may be harmful to your baby.

  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any of the following.

  • an allergic reaction to diazepam or any other medicine in the past.

  • liver or kidney problems

  • myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes muscle weakness.

  • sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing problems during sleep

  • depression, thoughts of self-harm or suicide

  • you have been diagnosed with a personality disorder

  • problems with alcohol or drugs

  • atherosclerosis, a disease that affects blood flow to the brain.

  • low level of albumin in the blood

  • over 64 years old

When taking Valium (Diazepam):

  • If you become pregnant while taking Valium, call your doctor because Valium may harm the fetus.

  • People are not usually prescribed Valium for more than four weeks because users can become dependent on it if they take it for longer.

  • Your doctor will help you develop a plan to gradually taper your dose of Valium over several days after a short course of treatment. Follow your administrative plan as directed.

  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or get worse during treatment.

Possible side effects of Valium (Diazepam)

The most common side effects of using the drug are:

  • Drowsiness

  • Loss of coordination.

  • Muscle weakness.

Serious side effects of using the drug include:

  • Weak, shallow breathing.

  • Severe drowsiness.

  • Depressed mood.

  • Hallucinations

  • Anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Sleep problems.

  • Hyperactivity

  • Agitation and aggression

  • New or worsening symptoms.

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side effects.


Taking Valium (Diazepam) in combination with other drugs such as opioids, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, and prescription cough medications may cause drowsiness and shallow breathing, with other potential side effects. Talk to your doctor about any use of these types of medications while taking Valium (Diazepam).

Drinking alcohol while taking Valium may increase its sedative effects. Because Valium (Diazepam) has a central nervous system depressant effect, patients should be advised to avoid alcohol and other CNS depressants while using Valium.

Valium (Diazepam) is contraindicated in patients who:

  • you are allergic to diazepam or any of the ingredients in Valium.

  • you have myasthenia gravis, a disease that can cause muscle weakness.

  • have severe breathing problems or severe respiratory failure.

  • have serious liver problems.

  • have sleep apnea syndrome.


Signs and symptoms of Valium (Diazepam) overdose include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Confusion

  • Problems with coordination.

  • Loss of consciousness

If you take too much Valium 10mg or overdose, call your doctor and poison control immediately. Respiratory and cardiac depression resulting from a Valium overdose can lead to loss of consciousness, stupor, coma, and death.


Store Valium at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep out of the reach of children.