Valium

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 10/13/2021
Valium Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

What Is Valium?

Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Valium is available as a generic drug.

What Are Side Effects of Valium?

Common side effects of Valium include:

  • drowsiness,
  • tired feeling,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation,
  • fatigue,
  • constipation,
  • ataxia (loss of balance),
  • memory problems,
  • restlessness,
  • irritability,
  • muscle weakness,
  • nausea,
  • drooling,
  • dry mouth,
  • slurred speech,
  • blurred or double vision,
  • skin rash,
  • itching, or
  • loss of interest in sex.

Dosage for Valium

Valium usual oral dose is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Valium?

Drug interactions with Valium include alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics, cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral), omeprazole (Prilosec) fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac).

Valium During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Valium use during pregnancy may cause adverse effects in the fetus and it is secreted in breast milk so it should be avoided while breastfeeding. If Valium is discontinued abruptly after long term use, it may lead to seizures, insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, sweating, anxiety, and fatigue.

Additional Information

Our Valium Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

QUESTION

Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes. See Answer
Valium Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication, alcohol, or other drugs that can slow your breathing. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have weak or shallow breathing, if you are hard to wake up, or if you stop breathing.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe drowsiness or dizziness;
  • unusual changes in mood or behavior;
  • new or worsening symptoms of depression or anxiety;
  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
  • confusion, hallucinations, sleep problems; or
  • new or worsening seizures.

The sedative effects of diazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking diazepam.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • feeling tired;
  • muscle weakness; or
  • problems with balance or muscle movement.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Valium (Diazepam Tablets)

SLIDESHOW

Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures See Slideshow
Valium Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

Side effects most commonly reported were drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and ataxia. The following have also been reported:

Central Nervous System: confusion, depression, dysarthria, headache, slurred speech, tremor, vertigo

Gastrointestinal System: constipation, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances

Special Senses: blurred vision, diplopia, dizziness

Cardiovascular System: hypotension

Psychiatric and Paradoxical Reactions: stimulation, restlessness, acute hyperexcited states, anxiety, agitation, aggressiveness, irritability, rage, hallucinations, psychoses, delusions, increased muscle spasticity, insomnia, sleep disturbances, and nightmares. Inappropriate behavior and other adverse behavioral effects have been reported when using benzodiazepines. Should these occur, use of the drug should be discontinued. They are more likely to occur in children and in the elderly.

Urogenital System: incontinence, changes in libido, urinary retention

Skin and Appendages: skin reactions

Laboratories: elevated transaminases and alkaline phosphatase

Other: changes in salivation, including dry mouth, hypersalivation

Antegrade amnesia may occur using therapeutic dosages, the risk increasing at higher dosages. Amnestic effects may be associated with inappropriate behavior.

Minor changes in EEG patterns, usually low-voltage fast activity, have been observed in patients during and after Valium therapy and are of no known significance.

Because of isolated reports of neutropenia and jaundice, periodic blood counts and liver function tests are advisable during long-term therapy.

Postmarketing Experience

Injury, Poisoning and Procedural Complications: There have been reports of falls and fractures in benzodiazepine users. The risk is increased in those taking concomitant sedatives (including alcohol), and in the elderly.

Drug Abuse And Dependence

Diazepam is subject to Schedule IV control under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Abuse and dependence of benzodiazepines have been reported. Addiction-prone individuals (such as drug addicts or alcoholics) should be under careful surveillance when receiving diazepam or other psychotropic agents because of the predisposition of such patients to habituation and dependence. Once physical dependence to benzodiazepines has developed, termination of treatment will be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. The risk is more pronounced in patients on long-term therapy.

Withdrawal symptoms, similar in character to those noted with barbiturates and alcohol have occurred following abrupt discontinuance of diazepam. These withdrawal symptoms may consist of tremor, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, headache, muscle pain, extreme anxiety, tension, restlessness, confusion and irritability. In severe cases, the following symptoms may occur: derealization, depersonalization, hyperacusis, numbness and tingling of the extremities, hypersensitivity to light, noise and physical contact, hallucinations or epileptic seizures. The more severe withdrawal symptoms have usually been limited to those patients who had received excessive doses over an extended period of time. Generally milder withdrawal symptoms (e.g., dysphoria and insomnia) have been reported following abrupt discontinuance of benzodiazepines taken continuously at therapeutic levels for several months. Consequently, after extended therapy, abrupt discontinuation should generally be avoided and a gradual dosage tapering schedule followed.

Chronic use (even at therapeutic doses) may lead to the development of physical dependence: discontinuation of the therapy may result in withdrawal or rebound phenomena.

Rebound Anxiety: A transient syndrome whereby the symptoms that led to treatment with Valium recur in an enhanced form. This may occur upon discontinuation of treatment. It may be accompanied by other reactions including mood changes, anxiety, and restlessness. Since the risk of withdrawal phenomena and rebound phenomena is greater after abrupt discontinuation of treatment, it is recommended that the dosage be decreased gradually.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Valium (Diazepam Tablets)

© Valium Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Valium Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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