Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
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. Common side effects of Valium include:
- tired feeling,
- spinning sensation,
- ataxia (loss of balance),
- memory problems,
- muscle weakness,
- dry mouth,
- slurred speech,
- blurred or double vision,
- skin rash,
- itching, or
- loss of interest in sex.
Valium usual oral dose is 2-10 mg given 2-4 times daily. Drug interactions with Valium include alcohol, barbiturates, and narcotics, cimetidine (Tagamet), ketoconazole (Nizoral), omeprazole (Prilosec) fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac). 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.
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.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger;
- depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
- hyperactivity, agitation, aggression, hostility;
- new or worsening seizures;
- weak or shallow breathing;
- a feeling like you might pass out;
- muscle twitching, tremor;
- loss of bladder control; or
- little or no urinating.
Common side effects may include:
- memory problems;
- drowsiness, tired feeling;
- dizziness, spinning sensation;
- feeling restless or irritable;
- muscle weakness;
- nausea, constipation;
- drooling or dry mouth, slurred speech;
- blurred vision, double vision;
- mild skin rash, itching; or
- loss of interest in sex.
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. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Valium (Diazepam Tablets)
Side effects most commonly reported were drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and ataxia. The following have also been reported:
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.
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.
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.