Diazepam is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines.
Diazepam is used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and fits (seizures). It’s also used in hospital to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating or difficulty sleeping.
It is often taken to help you relax before an operation or other medical or dental treatments. This is commonly known as a “pre-med”.
It comes as tablets, a liquid that you swallow, or in a rectal tube (medicine that’s squeezed into your anus). It can also be given as an injection.
- A common side effect is feeling drowsy.
- It’s not recommended to use diazepam for longer than a 4 week period.
- If you take diazepam, you should not drive or use tools or machines.
- Avoid alcohol while taking diazepam. Diazepam makes sleep very deeply. You may have breathing problems and difficulty waking up.
- Diazepam is known by other brand names Diazemuls, Stesolid Rectal tubes, Diazepam Rectubes & Diazepam Desitin. Valium is also another name, but this brand is not available in the UK anymore.
Who Should & Shouldn’t Take Diazepam
Diazepam tablets and liquid can be taken by adults aged 18 years and over.
It can also be taken by children aged 1 month or older for muscle spasms.
Diazepam rectal tubes can be used by adults and children.
It’s not suitable for everyone. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor before starting diazepam if you:
- have an allergic reaction to diazepam or any other medicine in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have (myasthenia gravis), a condition that causes muscle weakness
- have (sleep apnoea), a condition that causes breathing problems when you’re asleep
- have depression or thoughts of harming yourself or suicide
- have been diagnosed with personality disorder
- have (or have had) problems with alcohol or drugs
- have recently had a loss or bereavement
- have (arteriosclerosis), a condition that affects the blood flow to your brain
- have low levels of a protein called albumin in your blood
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding
- are over 65
- are going to be put to sleep (have a general anaesthetic) for an operation or other medical treatment