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    Information about Diazepam

    Diazepam uses

    Diazepam is used in the treatment of short term anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, muscle spasm and epilepsy.

    How diazepam works

    Diazepam is a benzodiazepine. It works by increasing the action of a chemical messenger (GABA) which suppresses the abnormal and excessive activity of the nerve cells in the brain.

    Common side effects of diazepam

    Coordination impaired, Drowsiness, Fatigue, Muscle weakness
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Khushbu Goel
    DM, MD
    Last updated on:
    08 Jan 2020 | 12:19 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Diazepam

    • Diazepam helps treat short term anxiety.
    • Safety of this medicine is not established for long-term use. Do not use it for more than 4 weeks. 
    • The addiction / habit-forming potential of this medicine is very high. Take it only as per the dose and duration advised by your doctor
    • It may cause dizziness. Do not drive or do anything that requires mental focus until you know how this medicine affects you.
    • Avoid consuming alcohol as it may increase dizziness and drowsiness.
    • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to conceive or breastfeeding.
    • Do not stop taking medication suddenly without talking to your doctor as that may lead to nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, sweating, tremor, and confusion.

    Frequently asked questions for Diazepam


    Q. Is Diazepam an antidepressant? What is it used for?

    Diazepam is not an antidepressant and belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepine. It is used to treat severe anxiety (an emotional state where you may sweat, tremble, feel anxious and have a fast heartbeat) or agitation. It is also used to treat trembling, muscle spasm due to tetanus or poisoning, seizures or fits, confusional states or anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal. It also helps in relaxing patients before minor operations or procedures.

    Q. How long does it take for Diazepam to start working?

    It depends on what you are taking Diazepam for. If you are taking it to treat anxiety, you should start feeling better within a few hours, but it may take a week or two before the full benefits become evident. Similarly, if you are taking it to relieve muscle spasm you may notice a difference after 15 minutes. Your muscles will start relaxing when you keep taking Diazepam regularly for a few days.

    Q. Does Diazepam cause sleepiness? If yes, then should I stop driving while taking Diazepam?

    Yes, Diazepam causes drowsiness very commonly. It also causes forgetfulness and affects muscular function which may adversely affect your ability to drive. Sometimes, drowsiness persists even on the following day. So, in case Diazepam makes you sleepy and affects your alertness, you should avoid driving.

    Q. Is it safe to take Diazepam and alcohol together?

    No, it is not at all recommended to take alcohol with Diazepam since it can cause breathing problems, sleepiness and heart problems. Taking Diazepam with alcohol may make you sleepy and your breathing may become so shallow that you may not wake up. This may even lead to death.

    Q. Is Diazepam addictive?

    People taking Diazepam in high doses or for a long term may become addicted to it. Also, people with a history of alcoholism and drug abuse are more likely to become addicted to Diazepam. Therefore, Diazepam should be taken for the shortest possible time and in the lowest effective dose.

    Q. Can I stop taking Diazepam if I start feeling better?

    No, do not stop taking Diazepam suddenly as you may experience withdrawal effects like depression, nervousness, difficulty in sleeping, irritability, sweating, upset stomach or diarrhea. Stopping it suddenly may even bring back the symptoms and make them harder to treat. You may also experience mood changes, anxiety, restlessness and changes in sleep patterns. These effects may occur even after taking low doses for a short period of time.

    Q. For how long should I take Diazepam?

    The duration of treatment with Diazepam is mainly as short as possible. Your doctor will evaluate you after 4 weeks of treatment in order to assess the need of continuation of treatment, especially if you do not have any symptoms. In general, the treatment does not last any longer than 8-12 weeks which includes the gradual reduction of dose process.

    Q. Does Diazepam have any effect on contraception?

    Diazepam does not affect the functioning of any type of contraception including the birth control pills and emergency contraception. Birth control pills can keep Diazepam in your body for a long time and increase its effect. You can also experience bleeding in between your periods if you take Diazepam and birth control pills together. But your contraceptive method will still work.

    Q. Is it safe to take clozapine and Diazepam together?

    No, it is not recommended to take clozapine and Diazepam together because the effects of both medicines may get added together. This can result in severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems (respiratory depression) and can even stop your heart which can lead to death.

    Q. Is Diazepam safe to be used in elderly patients?

    The dose in elderly is generally half of the dose recommended to young people. This is because Diazepam causes muscle relaxation which can make the patient fall down, which may further lead to fractures.

    Content on this page was last updated on 08 January, 2020, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)