Diazepam is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. It is available as the brand-name drug Valium. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. This drug is also used to relieve muscle spasms and to provide sedation before medical procedures. This medication works by calming the brain and nerves. Diazepam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.
How Diazepam is used
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking diazepam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are using the concentrated solution, use the medicine dropper provided and mix the measured dose with a small amount of liquid or soft food (such as applesauce, pudding). Take all of the mixture right away. Do not store the mixture for later use.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as shaking, abdominal/muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, restlessness, seizures). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used diazepam for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.
What Are Side Effects of Diazepam(Valium)?
Common side effects of diazepam include:
- tired feeling,
- spinning sensation,
- ataxia (loss of balance),
- memory problems,
- muscle weakness,
- dry mouth,
- slurred speech,
- blurred or double vision,
- skin rash,
- itching, or
- loss of interest in sex.
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Diazepam (Valium)?
Drug interactions with Valium include alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics, cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral), omeprazole (Prilosec), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
Diazepam During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Valium use during pregnancy may cause adverse effects in the fetus and it is secreted in breast milk so it should be avoided while breastfeeding. If Valium is discontinued abruptly after long term use, it may lead to seizures, insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. If directed by your doctor, take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
FDA warning: Dangerous effects with opioid use.
This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
Using diazepam with opioid drugs can cause dangerous effects. These can include severe drowsiness, slowed breathing, coma, and death. If your doctor prescribes diazepam with an opioid, they will monitor you closely. Examples of opioids include hydrocodone, codeine, and tramadol.
Sedation warning: This drug can slow down your brain’s activity and interfere with your judgment, thinking, and motor skills. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or use other drugs that can also slow down your brain’s activity while you’re on diazepam. You also shouldn’t drive, operate machinery, or do other tasks that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you. SEE: Can Phenibut Get You High?
Increased seizures warning: If you are on diazepam as an add-on therapy for treating seizures, you may need a higher dose of your other seizure medications. This drug may cause more frequent and more severe seizures. If you suddenly stop taking diazepam, you may temporarily have more seizures.
How to Spot Fake Diazepam (Valium) Pills
Fake Valium has been implicated in the deaths of those who buy pills online. According to a study in Lancet Global Health, eleven people died in Congo, five of them children after they took an anti-psychotic drug falsely labeled as diazepam or Valium. In Uganda, a medicine supplier in Kampala, was found to be shipping fake diazepam pills. The Daily Record reports that of the 1187 deaths in Scotland in 2018, 675 were from counterfeit Valium or diazepam.
According to drug law enforcement officer’s in the United Kingdom, criminal gangs are selling fake Valium online at a fraction of the cost of genuine tablets, leading people to take potentially lethal doses of illicitly-produced drugs.
The fake ‘Blue Valium’ tablets looks like genuine 10mg diazepam doses but are in fact fakes made overseas and have been known to turn victim’s lips blue. The streets are flooded with fake Teva diazepam, Actavis diazepam 5mg fakes, and fake crescent pharma diazepam.
The European Pharmaceutical Review reports that seizures of counterfeit Valium, or diazepam tablets more than doubled in one year. In 2017, 545,000 of the fake pills were seized, and that number rose to 1.3 million in 2018. Some of the pills tested contained flualprazolam or fentanyl (a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine) instead of the genuine ingredient. Much of the deadly fake diazepam confiscated in UK contains etilozam, a much stronger analogue that can be ordered in bulk online from China. Apart from the blue lips you can also spot a fake fentanyl laced diazepam pill by using a simple rapid fentanyl test kit. Here is how to do it ;