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Diazepam is an anti-anxiety drug. It is one of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative that are used for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Diazepam can also be used to treat symptoms of other conditions, such as convulsions (seizures) or muscle spasms. However, it is prescribed by us to treat generalised anxiety disorder.
Diazepam is more commonly known under the brand name Valium, although generic Diazepam is also available. Diazepam is prescribed as tablets, injections, liquid or a rectal gel. You must have a prescription from a GP before you buy Diazepam. Alternatively, we’re able to prescribe it to you following a brief online assessment.
For further information on Diazepam, consult the patient information leaflet.
Diazepam, much like other benzodiazepines, works by boosting the effect of neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system that have a calming effect. As a result, the effects of anxiety are reduced.
Diazepam begins to relieve your symptoms of anxiety within 30 to 90 minutes. Diazepam comes in 2 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg tablet strengths.
It is not safe to take Valium or Diazepam for a long time. Diazepam should be taken for no longer than four weeks unless specifically advised to by your doctor. Around 4 in 10 patients will develop a dependency to Diazepam after taking it for more than four weeks, so you should use Diazepam only in the short term. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using this medication.
Because Diazepam is a nervous system depressant, it can affect your concentration. You must avoid driving, operating heavy machinery or doing anything that may require your full concentration unless you have spoken to your doctor and are fully aware of how Diazepam affects you. It is illegal to drive while taking this medication if its effects make you unfit to drive.
Do not take Diazepam if you are allergic to Diazepam or any of the other inactive ingredients in this medicine.
Diazepam may blur your vision. This will be made worse by drinking alcohol or consuming drugs such as cannabis. You must inform your doctor before you start taking Diazepam if this applies to you, and consider alcohol withdrawal while you are taking this medicine. If you have a history of drug abuse or addiction to drugs, you may be more likely to develop a dependency to Diazepam.
In children, Diazepam can have the opposite intended effect, causing side effects such as agitation or aggression. Do not give Diazepam to a child unless it has been specifically prescribed to them. We do not prescribe medication to under 18s.
Diazepam tablets contain lactose. If you are lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting some types of sugar, speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Diazepam.
If you suffer from myasthenia gravis, you have liver or kidney problems or have a history of heart problems, speak with your doctor before taking Diazepam.
Diazepam is unsuitable for you if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. There is a small risk of harm to your unborn baby if you take Diazepam during pregnancy. Additionally, Diazepam passes into breast milk, so it is unsuitable for use while breastfeeding.
Diazepam may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following before you take Diazepam:
This is not an exhaustive list of warnings and interactions. For a full list, you must consult the patient information leaflet.
You must take Diazepam exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has prescribed. Make sure you follow the correct dose - taking too much can be very harmful. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
To treat anxiety, the usual dose is between 5 mg - 30 mg per day, in divided doses. Your doctor will advise you how many doses to take and when to take them.
If you are elderly or frail, or have liver or kidney problems, your doctor will prescribe you a lower dose. The usual adult dose may be harmful to you, so you must always follow your doctor’s instructions.
Swallow the tablets whole, with a glass of water. Do not crush, chew or suck on them. Diazepam can be taken with or without food.
Store Diazepam tablets at room temperature, away from light and moisture. Keep them out of the reach of children and pets.
Diazepam, like most other medication, carries a risk of side effects. Typically mild to moderate in nature, they should disappear when your body becomes used to the medication. However, if they concern you or they are persistent, you should seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist. Possible side effects include:
Diazepam can also cause more serious side effects in some people. These are rare, but you must stop taking Diazepam and contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
This drug also has the potential to cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction.) This is extremely rare, but any type of allergic reaction to Diazepam is an emergency and you should seek medical help right away. Symptoms include:
This is not a full list of side effects. A complete list is available in the patient information leaflet.
If you take Diazepam for more than 4 weeks, it’s possible that you may develop dependency. If you’re struggling with a dependency or addiction to Diazepam, you can get help by visiting our addiction support page here.Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Diazepam may be prescribed by your doctor to treat symptoms of anxiety or restlessness in your child. However, we do not prescribe any medication to under 18s.
Diazepam has been linked with a small risk of problems for your unborn baby. You must talk to your doctor before taking Diazepam while pregnant, as they may decide an alternative treatment is more appropriate.
Your contraception should still be effective while taking Diazepam. However, there have been studies that suggest that taking oral contraceptives with Diazepam can cause you to become heavily sedated. Speak with your doctor for more advice.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue taking Diazepam as normal. Never double up to make up for a missed dose.
A Diazepam overdose may have adverse effects that may be detrimental to your health. Symptoms of an overdose can include reflex problems, breathing difficulties, speech problems, clumsiness, loss of coordination and sleepiness. If you suspect you or anyone else has overdosed on Diazepam, consult your local A&E department or hospital casualty department immediately.