Generic Name: diazepam (oral)
- What is diazepam?
- What are the possible side effects of diazepam?
- What is the most important information I should know about diazepam?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking diazepam?
- How should I take diazepam?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while taking diazepam?
- What other drugs will affect diazepam?
- Where can I get more information?
What is diazepam?
Diazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen) that is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms and stiffness. Diazepam is sometimes used with other medications to treat seizures.
Diazepam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
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What are the possible side effects of diazepam?
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:
- 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.
What is the most important information I should know about diazepam?
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.
MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking diazepam?
You should not use diazepam if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder);
- a severe breathing problem;
- sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- untreated or uncontrolled open-angle glaucoma; or
- severe liver disease.
Diazepam should not be given to a child younger than 6 months old. Do not give this medicine to a child without a doctor's advice.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- breathing problems;
- kidney or liver disease;
- seizures (unless you are taking diazepam to treat a seizure disorder);
- a drug or alcohol addiction; or
- depression, a mood disorder, or suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking diazepam. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.
Do not start or stop taking diazepam to treat seizures during pregnancy without your doctor's advice. Having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both mother and baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
When treating anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, or muscle spasms: If you use diazepam while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.
How should I take diazepam?
Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Never use diazepam in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to use more of this medicine.
Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Diazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medicine for longer than 4 months without your doctor's advice.
Do not stop using diazepam suddenly, even if you feel fine. Stopping suddenly may cause increased seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
You will need frequent medical tests.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep track of your medicine. You should be aware if anyone is using it improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of diazepam can be fatal if you take it with alcohol, opioid medicine, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, loss of balance or coordination, limp or weak muscles, slow breathing, or coma.
What should I avoid while taking diazepam?
Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Grapefruit may interact with diazepam and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products.
Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
What other drugs will affect diazepam?
Taking diazepam with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, prescription cough medicine, or medicine for depression or seizures.
Other drugs may affect diazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about diazepam.
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