What is Diazepam?
Diazepam belongs to the family of drugs called benzodiazepines. It increases the functioning of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is responsible for sending signals throughout the central nervous system. If an individual has an insufficient quantity of GABA in their body, it will keep them unstable, resulting in anxiety. When someone starts this medication, it will increase the amount of GABA in the body and decrease stress, seizures, and muscle spasms. The doctors prescribe diazepam to treat the following conditions.
- Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol
- skeletal muscle spasms
- certain types of seizures
Doctors may prescribe this medication as part of combination therapy, i.e., you may require to take it with other medicines.
What to know before taking diazepam?
You should not take diazepam if you are allergic to diazepam or a similar drug such as Klonopin, Xanax, or have the following health issues.
- Severe breathing problem
- Sleep apnea
- Severe lung infection
- myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder)
- Addiction to any drugs.
To ensure that diazepam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you ever faced the following:
- Kidney or liver infections
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), Asthma, or other breathing issues.
- Mental illness
- Drugs or alcohol addiction
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
Expecting women should not take diazepam as it may impact the unborn child.
A breastfeeding mother should not use this medication. It is important to note that doctors should not recommend it to children below six months of age.
How to take diazepam?
You must follow the directions specified on the prescription. If any of the points regarding this medication are not clear to you, do ask your doctor. Please don’t take this medication for a longer time than the doctors recommended it. Diazepam is a habit-forming drug, and misuse or excessive use of this medication can lead to addiction. It is essential to know that buying and selling diazepam is an offense under the law.
Doctors recommend the use of diazepam should be for a short time. Do not take this medicine for more than four months without the doctor’s advice. You should consult the doctor if you are not getting satisfactory results after taking this medication. You should not suddenly stop taking diazepam as it may result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. It would be best if you take frequent blood tests while you are on this medication.
You should keep diazepam very safely and out of the reach of children because taking only one dose of this drug accidentally or improperly may cause death. After completion of the meditation course, you should dispose of the leftover medicine properly.
The dose of diazepam will vary from patient to patient. You should follow the doctor’s advice or the instruction on the label of the medicine. The following information includes the average doses of diazepam. If your dose is slightly different, do not change it unless your doctor advises you to do so.
- Dosage for anxiety
For older adults: 2-2.5 mg, once or twice a day. Doctors may increase or decrease the dosages if they think fit.
For adults: 2-10 mg, two to four times a day.
For children (above six months): 1-2.5 mg, thrice, or Quadruple in a day. The doctor may increase the dosage accordingly.
Doctors do not recommend diazepam for children below six months
- Dosage for alcohol withdrawal
For older adults: 2 to 2.5 mg once or twice a day. If required, doctors can increase or decrease the dosage.
For adults: 10 mg thrice or Quadruple for the first 24 hours, then 5 mg thrice to Quadruple per day as required.
Doctors do not recommend diazepam for children of any age group
- Dosage for muscles spasm
For older adults: 2 to 2.5 mg 1 or 2 times a day. The doctor may increase the dose if required.
For adults: 2 to 10 mg 3 or 4 times a day
For children (above six months): 1 to 2.5 mg 3 or 4 times daily. Doctors may further increase or decrease the dose.
Doctors do not recommend diazepam for children below six months
- Dosage for seizure
For older adults: 2 to 2.5 mg once or twice a day. The doctor may increase the dose if required.
For adults: 2 to 10 mg 2 to 4 times a day.
For children (above six months):1 to 2.5 mg 3 or 4 times per day.
Doctors do not recommend diazepam for children below six months.
If you feel any symptoms of an overdose of this medication, seek medical help immediately as the overdose of diazepam can be fatal.
The following are some symptoms of diazepam overdose.
- Diminished reflexes
- Respiratory depression
The patient may experience any other overdose symptoms. Therefore it is recommended by the doctors to monitor the patient on this medication closely.
What to avoid while using diazepam?
You must avoid alcohol until the time you are on this medication as diazepam and alcohol interaction can be hazardous. You should avoid all the activities that require alertness, as dizziness and drowsiness are the common side effects of taking this medication, causing a severe injury or accident.
You should also avoid grapefruit because its interaction with diazepam may lead to unpleasant and unwanted side effects.
Diazepam side effects
Diazepam can slow down the brain’s functioning and can have an adverse impact on motor skill, thinking, and judgment capability. The following are some common side effects of using diazepam as medication.
- Muscle weakness
- Inability to control muscle movements (ataxia)
- Dry mouth or excessive saliva
- Fatigue or tiredness
It is ok to have these mild symptoms during this medication. However, if you experience these more severely, it is recommended that you consult your doctor.
You may also experience some severe side effects; in that case, you should seek medical help immediately. The following are some severe side effects of taking diazepam.
- Worsening of seizures
- Changes in the brain or how you think
- Unexpected reactions
- Liver problems
- Bladder problems
- Increase or decrease in sex drive
The list mentioned above of the symptoms is inclusive. The patient may experience any severe symptoms as well.
What drugs can interact with diazepam?
Diazepam can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you may be taking. It can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To avoid these interactions, you should tell your doctor all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell the doctor about all medicines, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. Some of the following drugs which may interact with diazepam are:
- Acid-suppressing drugs (omeprazole, ranitidine, etc.)
- Allergy or cold drug (promethazine, hydroxyzine, etc.)
- Antidepressants (such as doxepin, amitriptyline)
- Antifungal drugs(fluconazole, ketoconazole, etc.)
- Antipsychotic drugs (for example, clozapine, quetiapine)
- Anti-anxiety drugs (for example, clonazepam, alprazolam)
- Motion sickness drugs (such as meclizine, dimenhydrinate)
- Anti-seizure drugs (carbamazepine, topiramate, etc.)
- Pain killers (morphine, hydromorphone, etc.)
- Sleeping pills (for example, suvorexant, temazepam)
- Tuberculosis drugs (such as rifampin, rifabutin)