What is the most important information I should know about diazepam (Valium)?

diazepam

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to diazepam or similar medicines (Klonopin, Xanax, and others), or if you have myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease, narrow-angle glaucoma, a severe breathing problem, or Sleeping Disorder.

You should not use diazepam if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder);
  • a severe breathing problem;
  • sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • untreated or uncontrolled open-angle glaucoma; or
  • severe liver disease.

Diazepam should not be given to a child younger than 6 months old. Do not give this medicine to a child without a doctor’s advice.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • breathing problems;
  • glaucoma;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • seizures (unless you are taking diazepam to treat a seizure disorder);
  • a drug or alcohol addiction; or
  • depression, a mood disorder, or suicidal thoughts or behavior.

How should I take diazepam?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Diazepam may be habit-forming. Misuse can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Diazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medicine for longer than 4 months without your doctor’s advice.

Do not stop using diazepam suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions about tapering your dose.

Call your doctor at once if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if you think you need to use more than usual.

You will need frequent medical tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of your medicine. Diazepam is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Do not keep leftover diazepam. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

SIDE EFFECTS

What are the side effects of Diazepam (Valium)?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication, alcohol, or other drugs that can slow your breathing. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have weak or shallow breathing, if you are hard to wake up, or if you stop breathing.

  • severe drowsiness or dizziness;
  • unusual changes in mood or behavior;
  • new or worsening symptoms of depression or anxiety;
  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
  • confusion, hallucinations, sleep problems; or
  • new or worsening seizures.

The sedative effects of diazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking diazepam.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • feeling tired;
  • muscle weakness; or
  • problems with balance or muscle movement.

PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING

Can I take Diazepam (Valium) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Do not start or stop taking diazepam to treat seizures during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

When treating anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, or muscle spasms: If you use diazepam while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks.

What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Diazepam (Valium)?

Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Grapefruit may interact with diazepam and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

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