Valium is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms.It is also used to relieve muscle spasms and to provide sedation before medical procedures. Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine. Diazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety. Valium may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
How should this medicine be used?
Diazepam comes as a tablet, extended-release (long-acting) capsule, and concentrate (liquid) to take by mouth. Do not open, chew, or crush the extended-release capsules; swallow them whole. It is usually taken 1 to 4 times a day and may be taken with or without food. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take diazepam exactly as directed.
Diazepam concentrate (liquid) comes with a specially marked dropper for measuring the dose. Ask your pharmacist to show you how to use the dropper. Dilute the concentrate in water, juice, or carbonated beverages just before taking it. It also may be mixed with applesauce or pudding just before taking the dose.
Diazepam can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tolerance may develop with long-term or excessive use, making the drug less effective. This medication must be taken regularly to be effective. Do not skip doses even if you feel that you do not need them. Do not take diazepam for more than 4 months or stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability). Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.
Before taking Valium
Valium may be habit forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share Valium with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. You should not use Valium if you are allergic to diazepam or similar drugs (Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Xanax, and others), or if you have:
- myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder);
- severe liver disease;
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- a severe breathing problem; or
- sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep).
Pregnancy and Valium
Valium is not safe to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Taking Valium during pregnancy may lead to birth defects and withdrawal symptoms in newborns. Because Valium passes into breast milk, you should not breastfeed while on Valium. Before taking Valium, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking Valium, tell your doctor right away.
Children younger than 6 months should not take Valium.