Diazepam - Interactions | Side Effects
This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.
Diazepam belongs to the family of medicines called benzodiazepines. It relieves anxiety symptoms and insomnia. Diazepam is also used to relax muscles and it has anticonvulsant properties (prevents seizures).
Because of these effects, this medication is used to treat following conditions:
- Muscle cramps (spasms)
- Epileptic seizures (including "status epileptucus")
- Delirium tremens
It is also used for surgical preparation.
Diazepam should not be used for more than 3 months, because prolonged use can lead to dependence!
Do not suddenly stop taking Diazepam because if you do, you may experience so-called withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms of a withdrawal syndrome include: headache, agitation, confusion and irritability.
You should gradually reduce the dose of Diazepam, before stopping it completely.
If you have been taking 10 mg of Diazepam per day, the following next 5 - 7 days take reduced dose (5 mg per day), then the following next 5 - 7 days take 2.5 mg per day, and then you can completely stop Diazepam.
Diazepam should be avoided in patients allergic to Diazepam or other similar medicines, such as:
- Alprazolam and other benzodiazepines.
Diazepam should be avoided in patients suffering from myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disease) because this medication can make myasthenia gravis worse.
Diazapam should be avoided in patients with hepatic impairment and patients with respiratory diseases.
Avoid alcoholic beverages while using Diazepam, because alcohol can increase the effect of this medicine and cause serious side effects.
Diazepam can cause anterograde amnesia (cannot remember the events happened while under the influence of this medicine). If you want to avoid this side effect, make sure you have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Avoid driving a car or operating machinery while using Diazepam, because this medicine may cause drowsiness and can affect your ability to drive!
Use of Diazepam during pregnancy and breastfeeding
According to the FDA, Diazepam belongs to the group D (FDA: Group D). This means that Diazepam is harmful to developing a fetus, therefore it should be avoided during the pregnancy.
Diazepam passes into breast milk and may harm your baby. It should not be used during breastfeeding.
How to use
The usual dose to treat muscle spasm is 2 - 15 mg, 2 - 3 times per day.
The usual dose to treat anxiety is 2-10 mg, 2-3 times per day.
The usual dose to treat epileptic seizure is 10 mg, 3-4 times a day.
The dose should be reduced in children and elderly patients.
Therapy should always be started at a low dose. Dose may be gradually increased until the desired effect is achieved.
Diazepam dosage forms include: tablets and injections. Injections can be diluted with normal saline (0.9% NaCl) and administered by slow intravenous infusion.
If you are using Diazepam to treat insomnia, you should take the tablet in the evening, an hour before bedtime.
It should not be used for more than 3 months because it can cause physical and psychological dependence!
Use with other medicines (Interactions)
Diazepam should be avoided in combination with the following medicines:
- Other medications used in the treatment of depression and anxiety, such as:
- citalopram, and others.
- Hypnotics and sedatives.
- Narcotic analgesics, such as:
- tramadol, and others.
- Medicines used to treat epilepsy, such as:
- phenytoin and others.
- Antibiotics, such as:
- Medications used to treat HIV infection, such as:
- indinavir, and others.
- Medicines used to treat fungal infections, such as:
- ketoconazole and others.
- Omeprazole, used to treat heartburn and gastric ulcer.
- Oral contraceptives.
- Levodopa, used for Parkinson's disease treatment.
- Digoxin, used to treat heart failure.
- Medicines used to treat heart disorders, such as:
- amiodarone, and others.
Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal medicines you are taking.
Diazepam can cause following side effects:
- Anterograde amnesia (loss of memory while you were under the influence of this medicine)
- Gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men)
- Blurred vision
- Ataxia (presence of abnormal movements)
- Diplopia (double vision)
- Low blood pressure
- Allergy and others.
Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects.
Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.