Why is this medicine prescribed?
Diazepam is a potent benzodiazepine given to treat anxiety and seizures associated with certain conditions (such as fever in children). It comes in tablets, oral solution, rectal solution or injection, depending on the condition you are being treated for.
Dosage you may be prescribed
Diazepam comes in a variety of dosages to suit the needs of most patients.
If you are taking diazepam for seizures or muscle spasms your dosing range will be from 2 to 10 mg of the active ingredient, while diazepam for alcohol withdrawal symptoms relief is taken in higher amounts – starting from 10 mg of the active ingredient.
Depending on the condition you are being treated for you can be expected to take diazepam from 2 to 4 times a day. It’s very important that you follow the recommendations provided by your health care provider and do not take this medicine more often or in larger doses than prescribed.
When you miss a dose you can take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time to take another one. In that case you can just skip the dose you missed and go back to the regular dosing schedule.
Taking a double dose will not help you to make up for the dose missed and can worsen some of the side effects.
Diazepam, pregnancy and breastfeeding
Diazepam cannot be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women as it can cause harm to unborn and nursing babies. Diazepam can pass into breast milk and it has been classified as FDA pregnancy category D.
Every woman that is pregnant or breastfeeding should first consult her doctor and see if taking this drug is absolutely necessary.
The use of diazepam in pregnant women is justified very rarely, so you will be most likely recommended to resort to some other method of treatment for your condition.
Diazepam addiction and withdrawal
Diazepam has been reported to cause physical and psychological addiction, especially in people who have a history of similar problems.
If you stop taking diazepam suddenly the following symptoms can display:
- stomach pain,
- trouble sleeping,
- unusual behavior,
- unusual thoughts,
- and muscle cramps.
Gradual withdrawal is the best way to stop your treatment – you will be required to reduce your dosage every several days until it becomes so small you can discontinue the use of diazepam without any serious health consequences.
Taking diazepam in excess
Do not take more of this drug than recommended as an overdose is possible.
Besides causing such unpleasant symptoms as
- extreme drowsiness,
- shallow breathing,
- limp or weak muscles,
- breathing that stops,
- and confusion,
an overdose of diazepam can have lethal consequences.
Seek emergency medical assistance and tell your doctor how much of this medicine you have taken.
What to do if I get diazepam side effects?
If you get mild side effects of diazepam (upset stomach, weakness, drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, changes in appetite, dizziness, and tiredness) you do not need to worry and report them to your health care provider unless they become particularly bothersome.
More serious side effects can include agitation, flu symptoms, hyperactivity, body aches, tremor, weak or shallow breathing, chills, hostility, muscle twitching, depressed mood, urinating less than usual, jaundice, double vision, fever, risk-taking behavior, confusion, anxiety, hallucinations, unusual thoughts and behavior, and suicidal thoughts.
The serious side effects must be reported to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent them from getting even worse.