Diazepam | Valium
Valium is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the shortterm relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.
In acute alcohol withdrawal, Valium may be useful in the symptomatic relief of acute agitation, tremor, impending or acute delirium tremens and hallucinosis.
Valium is a useful adjunct for the relief of skeletal muscle spasm due to reflex spasm to local pathology (such as inflammation of the muscles or joints, or secondary to trauma), spasticity caused by upper motor neuron disorders (such as cerebral palsy and paraplegia), athetosis, and stiff-man syndrome.
Oral Valium may be used adjunctively in convulsive disorders, although it has not proved useful as the sole therapy.
The effectiveness of Valium in long-term use, that is, more than 4 months, has not been assessed by systematic clinical studies. The physician should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
- Dosage should be individualized for maximum beneficial effect. While the usual daily dosages given below will meet the needs of most patients, there will be some who may require higher doses. In such cases dosage should be increased cautiously to avoid adverse effects.
Diazepam | Valium Prescribing Information Highlights
The following points are shortened, highlighted information from prescribing information for this drug. For the full prescribing information PDF, click the button below to be directed to the FDA PDF label for this drug.
—–INDICATIONS AND USAGE—–
- See description above.
—–DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION—–
- See description above.
- Valium is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to diazepam and, because of lack of sufficient clinical experience, in pediatric patients under 6 months of age. Valium is also contraindicated in patients with myasthenia gravis, severe respiratory insufficiency, severe hepatic insufficiency, and sleep apnea syndrome. It may be used in patients with open-angle glaucoma who are receiving appropriate therapy, but is contraindicated in acute narrow-angle glaucoma.
Concomitant use of benzodiazepiones, including Valium, and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioids alone. If a decision is made to prescribe Valium concomitantly with opioids, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use, and follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of Valium than indicated in the absence of an opioid and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid is initiated in a patient already taking Valium, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid and titrate based upon clinical response.
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when Valium is used with opioids. Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use with the opioid have been determined (see Drug Interactions).
Valium is not recommended in the treatment of psychotic patients and should not be employed instead of appropriate treatment.
Since Valium has a central nervous system depressant effect, patients should be advised against the simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and other CNSdepressant drugs during Valium therapy.
As with other agents that have anticonvulsant activity, when Valium is used as an adjunct in treating convulsive disorders, the possibility of an increase in the frequency and/or severity of grand mal seizures may require an increase in the dosage of standard anticonvulsant medication. Abrupt withdrawal of Valium in such cases may also be associated with a temporary increase in the frequency and/or severity of seizures.
- General: If Valium is to be combined with other psychotropic agents or anticonvulsant drugs, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed – particularly with known compounds that may potentiate the action of diazepam, such as phenothiazines, narcotics, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors and other antidepressants (see Drug Interactions). The usual precautions are indicated for severely depressed patients or those in whom there is any evidence of latent depression or anxiety associated with depression, particularly the recognition that suicidal tendencies may be present and protective measures may be necessary. Psychiatric and paradoxical reactions are known to occur when using benzodiazepines (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Should this occur, use of the drug should be discontinued. These reactions are more likely to occur in children and the elderly. A lower dose is recommended for patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency, due to the risk of respiratory depression. Benzodiazepines should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE). In debilitated patients, it is recommended that the dosage be limited to the smallest effective amount to preclude the development of ataxia or oversedation (2 mg to 2.5 mg once or twice daily, initially, to be increased gradually as needed and tolerated). Some loss of response to the effects of benzodiazepines may develop after repeated use of Valium for a prolonged time.
- Information for Patients: To assure the safe and effective use of benzodiazepines, patients should be informed that, since benzodiazepines may produce psychological and physical dependence, it is advisable that they consult with their physician before either increasing the dose or abruptly discontinuing this drug. The risk of dependence increases with duration of treatment; it is also greater in patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Patients should be advised against the simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and other CNS-depressant drugs during Valium therapy. As is true of most CNSReference ID: 4029651 6 acting drugs, patients receiving Valium should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness, such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle.
Side effects most commonly reported were drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and ataxia. The following have also been reported:
- Central Nervous System: confusion, depression, dysarthria, headache, slurred speech, tremor, vertigo
- Gastrointestinal System: constipation, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances Special Senses: blurred vision, diplopia, dizziness
- Cardiovascular System: hypotension
- Psychiatric and Paradoxical Reactions: stimulation, restlessness, acute hyperexcited states, anxiety, agitation, aggressiveness, irritability, rage, hallucinations, psychoses, delusions, increased muscle spasticity, insomnia, sleep disturbances, and nightmares. Inappropriate behavior and other adverse behavioral effects have been reported when using benzodiazepines. Should these occur, use of the drug should be discontinued. They are more likely to occur in children and in the elderly.
- Urogenital System: incontinence, changes in libido, urinary retention
- Skin and Appendages: skin reactions
- Laboratories: elevated transaminases and alkaline phosphatase
- Other: changes in salivation, including dry mouth, hypersalivation Antegrade amnesia may occur using therapeutic dosages, the risk increasing at higher dosages. Amnestic effects may be associated with inappropriate behavior. Minor changes in EEG patterns, usually low-voltage fast activity, have been observed in patients during and after Valium therapy and are of no known significance. Because of isolated reports of neutropenia and jaundice, periodic blood counts and liver function tests are advisable during long-term therapy.
- Postmarketing Experience: Injury, Poisoning and Procedural Complications: There have been reports of falls and fractures in benzodiazepine users. The risk is increased in those taking concomitant sedatives (including alcohol), and in the elderly.