Diazepam is used to treat anxiety and muscle spasms. The injection form is used when the medication cannot be taken by mouth. It is also used in patients with alcohol withdrawal to prevent seizures and treat other symptoms (e.g., agitation, anxiety, hallucinations).
This medication is also used for short-term treatment of serious seizures that do not stop (status epilepticus). It is not for ongoing daily use to prevent seizures.
It is also used before surgeries or procedures to cause drowsiness, decrease anxiety, and cause forgetfulness about the procedure or surgery.
This medication belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA) that causes calm.
This medication is given by injection into a vein or deep into a muscle as directed by your doctor. Giving the medication too fast can cause heart problems. If giving this medication into a vein, inject it slowly into a large vein because the medication is very irritating to the vein. Do not inject this medication into an artery or into the skin.
This medication may be available in a vial, ampule, pre-filled syringe, or pre-filled syringe with autoinjector. The autoinjector automatically delivers a dose of 10 milligrams deep into the muscle. It cannot be used when a lower dose is needed. Do not use the autoinjector for injecting into a vein.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. You will be closely monitored for several hours after receiving this medication. If your doctor orders you to continue to receive this medication, you should be switched to a form that can be taken by mouth as soon as possible.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as shakiness, trouble sleeping, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, seizures, mental/mood changes such as anxiety/agitation) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
Rarely, abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction) is possible with this medication. Do not increase your dose, take it more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
When used for an extended time, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, depression, strange thoughts), muscle weakness, pain/swelling/signs of infection at the injection site, vision changes (e.g., blurred/double vision), slow/shallow breathing, easy bleeding/bruising, chest pain, loss of consciousness, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), slurred speech, severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual tiredness, dark urine, difficulty walking, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using diazepam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzodiazepines (e.g., chlordiazepoxide); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: breathing trouble during sleep (sleep apnea), severe breathing problems (except in patients who are breathing with help from a machine), certain blood disorder (porphyria), certain eye problem (glaucoma), a certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (e.g., asthma), brain problems that could affect breathing (e.g., decreased consciousness, head injury), depression, history of drug/alcohol abuse, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression), certain type of seizure (petit mal).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. For at least 3 hours after receiving this drug, you should not get out of bed without help. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until the effects of the medication wear off (at least 24 hours). Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Get up slowly to avoid dizziness and lightheadedness when rising from a sitting or lying position. Alcoholic beverages will increase these effects.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children because it may affect children differently, causing restlessness or mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations) instead of calm.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness and loss of coordination. These side effects can increase the risk of falling. This medication may also affect the elderly differently, causing restlessness or mental/mood changes (such as agitation, hallucinations) instead of calm.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Consult your doctor before using this medication.
This drug may pass into breast milk and have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breast-feeding while using this medication is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: fluvoxamine, kava, phenytoin, sodium oxybate.
Other medications can affect the removal of diazepam from your body, which may affect how diazepam works. Examples include cimetidine, ketoconazole, omeprazole, among others.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), medicine for sleep or anxiety (e.g., alprazolam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone, MAO inhibitors such as phenelzine). Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that may cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This medication contains a small amount of alcohol. Tell your doctor if you are taking drugs such as disulfiram or metronidazole that can cause an unpleasant reaction when combined with alcohol.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: extreme drowsiness/dizziness, confusion, slow/shallow breathing, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, liver function tests) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Not applicable. This medication is not usually given on a regular schedule.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised November 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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