Diazepam (oral) (di-AZ-e-pam)


Generic Name: Diazepam (oral) (di-AZ-e-pam)

Used to Treat: prolonged or repetitive, cluster seizures

Seizure Type: All seizure types

Forms of the medicine:

0.2mg - 0.5mg

General Info:
What is Valium?
Valium (VAL-I-um) is generically known as diazepam. Valium is one of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zo-di-AZE-i-peens). Valium is used in the treatment of status epilepticus (non-stop seizures). A rectal gel formulation (Diastat) is available on prescription for caregiver use against prolonged bouts of prolonged or repetitive, cluster seizures. Valium is available in tablet, extended-release capsule, and liquid forms.

How do I take Valium?
Valium is habit forming and it is important to avoid developing a tolerance for this medication. It is important to take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

Valium may or may not be taken with food depending on your tendency for upset stomach. However, do try to take in the same manner and at the same time every day. Do not open, chew, or crush the extended-release capsules; swallow them whole. It usually is taken one to four times a day. Shake the liquid well just before measuring a dose. To be sure you ingest the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. Do not use a regular table spoon. Ask your pharmacist to provide you with one if you do not have a dose-measuring device.

Valium should not be taken for more than 4 months. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, and irritability). Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately as these may indicate potentially life threatening problems.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Worsening of seizures
  • Shuffling walk
  • Persistent, fine tremor or inability to sit still
  • Unusual fever
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Severe skin rash
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Irregular heart beat

Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Protect the extended-release capsules and liquid from light. Do not freeze the liquid. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Safety in pregnancy has not been established. Women who are taking this medication and who wish to become pregnant should discuss treatment options with their physicians before the pregnancy begins.

Other helpful information
Not everyone experiences side effects. There may be other side effects not appearing above. For a complete list, consult your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. More detailed sources of information on side effects include the drug's prescribing information sheet, the Physician's Desk Reference, or pharmaceutical company which produces the drug.

Side Effects

Dry mouth, Dizziness, Nausea, Weakness, Drowsiness