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Generic Name: diazepam (dye AZ e pam)
What is diazepam?
Diazepam is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). Diazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.
Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms.
Diazepam may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about diazepam?Do not use this medication if you are allergic to diazepam or to other benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax). This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use diazepam if you are pregnant.
Before taking diazepam, tell your doctor if you have any breathing problems, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, or a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or addiction to drugs or alcohol.Do not drink alcohol while taking diazepam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.
Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy. They can add to sleepiness caused by diazepam.Diazepam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Diazepam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking diazepam?Do not use this medication if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, or if you are allergic to diazepam or to other benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax).
Before taking diazepam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use diazepam, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.Diazepam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use diazepam without your doctor"s consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. Diazepam may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. 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. Do not give this medication to a child younger than 6 months old.
How should I take diazepam?
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Measure the liquid form of diazepam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.Diazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medication for longer than 4 months without your doctor"s advice. Diazepam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Diazepam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it. Contact your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms. Do not stop using diazepam suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.
Your symptoms may return when you stop using diazepam after using it over a long period of time. You may also have seizures or withdrawal symptoms when you stop using diazepam. Withdrawal symptoms may include tremor, sweating, trouble sleeping, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, unusual thoughts or behavior, and seizure (convulsions).
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood and liver function may need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.Store diazepam at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Benzodiazepines are drugs of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of diazepam can be fatal.
Symptoms of a diazepam overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, fainting, or coma.
What should I avoid while taking diazepam?Do not drink alcohol while taking diazepam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol. Diazepam can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety). They can increase some of the side effects of diazepam.
Diazepam side effectsGet emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
What other drugs will affect diazepam?
Before taking diazepam, tell your doctor if you take any other seizure medications, or if you are using any of the following drugs:
If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use diazepam, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.
There may be other drugs not listed that can affect diazepam. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
What does my medication look like?
Diazepam is available with a prescription under the brand name Valium. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.
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