What is this medication for?
Diazepam belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines, a class used for its sedative effects. This medication works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA - a nerve messenger) in the brain. When GABA increases, unwanted nerve activity in the brain decreases. Diazepam is used for the short-term relief of symptoms of excessive anxiety or alcohol withdrawal (such as agitation and hallucinations). It is also used for the reduction of muscle spasms. It may also be used to treat seizure disorders in combination with other medications.
The injectable form of this medication is used to control prolonged seizures.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of diazepam by mouth for adults ranges from 2 mg to 10 mg 2 to 4 times daily with or without food. For children older than 6 months, the initial dose of diazepam by mouth usually ranges from 1 mg to 2.5 mg 3 or 4 times daily. Doses of diazepam injection vary depending on the condition being treated and range from 2 mg to 20 mg. It is important that the dose be individualized to your specific needs to avoid excessive drowsiness or loss of coordination.
Diazepam is normally used for a short period of time or as an "as needed" medication. It may be habit-forming when taken for long periods of time.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as you remember and continue with your regular schedule. If your next dose is in less than 6 hours, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to diazepam, any other benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, temazepam), or any of the ingredients of the medication
- are less than 6 months old
- have acute narrow-angle glaucoma
- have myasthenia gravis
- have severe liver impairment
- have severe respiratory insufficiency
- have sleep apnea syndrome