How should I take Valium?
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Valium if you are allergic to diazepam or similar drugs (Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Xanax, and others), or if you have:
- myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder);
- severe liver disease;
- a severe breathing problem;
- sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep); or
- alcoholism, or addiction to drugs similar to diazepam.
To make sure Valium is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions:
- asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;
- kidney or liver disease;
- epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
- a history of mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior;
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction;
When treating seizures, do not start or stop taking Valium during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice. Valium may cause harm to an unborn baby, but having a seizure during pregnancy could harm both the mother and the baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking Valium for seizures.
When treating anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, or muscle spasms: If you take Valium while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Diazepam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
The sedative effects of Valium 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 Valium.
Valium is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 months old. Do not give this medicine to a child without a doctor’s advice.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Valium should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medicine for longer than 4 months without your doctor’s advice.
Do not stop using Valium suddenly, or you could have increased seizures or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using diazepam.
Call your doctor at once if you feel that this medicine is not working as well as usual, or if you think you need to use more than usual.
While using Valium, you may need frequent blood tests at your doctor’s office.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. After you have stopped using this medicine, flush any unused pills down the toilet.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of diazepam can be fatal.
Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, loss of balance or coordination, limp or weak muscles, or fainting.
What should I avoid while taking Valium?
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with diazepam and lead to unwanted side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
Taking Valium with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects or death. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
- disulfiram (Antabuse);
- an antibiotic–clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin;
- an antidepressant such as fluoxetine and others;
- antifungal medicine–itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole;
- heart or blood pressure medication such as diltiazem, nicardipine, quinidine, verapamil, and others; or
- HIV/AIDS medicine–atazanavir, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, or ritonavir.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with diazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.