Diazepam

Diazepam
(dye-AZ-e-pam)

Valium

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Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, acute alcohol withdrawal, and seizures. It is also used to relieve muscle spasms and to provide sedation before medical procedures. This medication belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA). This medication may also be used to prevent extremely bad nightmares (night terrors).

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy. If you are taking a liquid form of this medication, use a medication measuring device to carefully measure out the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you are using the oral concentrate solution, use the dropper provided to carefully measure out the dose and mix it in liquid or soft food (e.g., applesauce, pudding) just before taking.

Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently or use it for a longer period of time than prescribed because this drug can be habit-forming. Also, if used for an extended period of time or for seizure control, do not suddenly stop using this drug without your doctor's approval. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.

When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while being treated with this medication unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Grapefruit juice can increase the amount of certain medications in your bloodstream. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

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Some products that may interact with this drug include: certain anti-depressants (e.g., fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, nefazodone), cimetidine, clozapine, digoxin, disulfiram, kava, ketoconazole, levodopa, omeprazole, phenytoin, sodium oxybate.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: antihistamines that cause drowsiness (e.g., diphenhydramine), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), medicine for sleep (e.g., sedatives), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine, or tricyclics such as amitriptyline), tranquilizers.

Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain drowsiness-causing ingredients. Ask your pharmacist about the safe use of those products.

This product can affect the results of certain lab tests. Make sure laboratory personnel and your doctors know you use this drug.

Smoking can decrease the effectiveness of this drug (through liver enzyme induction). Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking because your dose may need to be adjusted.

Common side effects of Diazepam include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache

If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (e.g., memory problems, agitation, hallucinations), slurred speech, clumsiness, trouble walking, decreased/increased interest in sex, tremor, trouble urinating, sleep disturbances.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea, vomiting, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, persistent sore throat or fever.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

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