Valium is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1963. In cases of epilepsy, Valium is used in combination with other drugs to treat prolonged, repetitive, and cluster seizures. Valium should not be used for extended periods of time. Valium is also known by its drug name, Diazepam.
Valium should not be used by people with narrow-angle glaucoma, psychosis, respiratory insufficiency, myasthenia gravis, sleep apnea, serious liver problems, or by children under the age of six months. Valium is not appropriate for use in people with a history of hypersensitivity to Valium. Valium should be used with caution in people with respiratory problems, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Valium is not be suitable for use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Valium is a member of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Benzodiazepines are used to treat seizures, anxiety, and muscle spasms, and as a premedication for anesthesia. It is believed that Valium works in cases of epilepsy by inhibiting nerve signals.
How do I take it?
Valium can be taken orally as a tablet, capsule, or liquid. Valium is also available as a formulation for rectal use. Valium is sometimes injected to stop prolonged or repeated seizures. Valium is taken two to four times a day. If you are taking an extended-release version of Valium, always swallow it whole without crushing or chewing it. Valium may be taken with or without food, but it should be taken consistently one way or the other each time.
Avoid driving or operating machinery until you are certain you understand how Valium affects you.
Drinking alcohol while taking Valium can intensify some side effects.
If you smoke while taking Valium, it can decrease the effectiveness of the drug.
Do not suddenly stop taking Valium. If you decide to stop taking Valium, consult your doctor for a plan to taper off your dose gradually.
Do not take Valium for more than four months.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Valium.
In one clinical trial, 47 children and 44 adults with epilepsy were either given a dose of Diazepam (Valium) or a placebo at the onset of a seizure. Children were observed for 12 hours; adults were observed for 24 hours. The children who received Diazepam were given a second dose four hours later, and the adults who received Diazepam were given a second dose after four hours and a third dose after 12 hours. Those who received Diazepam had a median seizure frequency of zero per hour, compared with .3 seizures per hour for those who took the placebo. Of those who took Diazepam, 62 percent did not have any seizures during the observation period, compared with 20 percent of those who received the placebo.
In a similar study, 53 children and 61 adults were either given Diazepam or a placebo at the onset of a seizure, then observed for 12 hours. Those who received Diazepam had a median seizure frequency of zero per hour, compared with .03 seizures per hour for those who took the placebo. Researchers also concluded that Diazepam significantly delayed the onset of additional seizures compared to the placebo.
Valium is habit-forming.
Older adults may experience some side effects of Valium more intensely.
Common side effects of Valium include sleepiness, dizziness, headache, blurry vision, and constipation.
Call your doctor if you experience abdominal pain, yellowing of the eyes or skin, slurred speech, memory problems, hallucinations, mood shifts, trouble urinating, muscle tremors, sleep disruptions, or difficulty walking while taking Valium.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.