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Diazepam is available by prescription and is used to treat a number of conditions as prescribed by the doctor, including seizures, muscle spasms, anxiety and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Your dosage of diazepam will depend on a number of factors that your doctor will take into consideration, including your age, the condition you are being treated for (the dosages and schedule of taking diazepam are different in case you suffer from seizures or have alcohol withdrawal symptoms), the drugs you are using and the health conditions you have or had in the past and that can interfere with your treatment. The regular dosage for the treatment of seizures and muscle spasms starts from 2 mg and can reach 10 mg in some patients, it is taken 2 to 4 times daily. In case of taking diazepam for the treatment or alcohol withdrawal symptoms you will be probably recommended to take this medication up to four times a day, and the dosage will start from 10 mg. Your doctor may later adjust your dose based on the way your body responds to the treatment, but make sure you do not adjust the dose your self based on your own perceptions.
If you have been diagnosed with any of the following, your doctor needs to know about it:
- Parkinson’s disease,
- other mental health condition,
- bipolar disorder,
- seizures or a history of seizures,
- lung or breathing disease,
- suicidal thoughts,
- an allergic reaction to valium or other products,
- myasthenia gravis,
- kidney disease,
- an alcohol or drug abuse history,
- or liver disease.
You may need a dose adjustment or some other changes will need to be made.
Taking valium during pregnancy is not safe for the health of the unborn baby as diazepam has been reported to cause birth defects. This is why this medicine has been classified as FDA pregnancy category D – unless there is no alternative to taking diazepam you will not be given a prescription for it. Diazepam can also pass into breast milk and cause harm to a nursing baby. During the entire period of taking valium (4 months maximum) you will need to use a reliable method of birth control to avoid getting pregnant. If you think you may have gotten pregnant anyway, talk to your health care provider right away to learn more about your options.
Taking too much of diazepam is not recommended as sometimes an overdose can result in a fatal outcome. There are also a number of symptoms associated with overdosing.
- extreme drowsiness,
- limp or weak muscles,
- shallow breathing,
- breathing that stops,
- and confusion.
You need to seek emergency medical assistance in case of taking too much of this medicine.
Some medicines have been reported to add to sleepiness diazepam can cause.
You are therefore recommended to avoid combining diazepam with
- sleeping pills,
- depression or anxiety meds,
- muscle relaxers,
- narcotic pain medicine,
- medicine for seizures,
- and cold or allergy medicine.
Other drugs if combined with diazepam can make it less efficient or add to the drowsiness you may experience.
- prescription pain medicines,
- other medicines for anxiety,
- medicines for HIV/AIDS,
- medicines for depression or mental problems,
- some herbal or dietary supplements,
- insomnia medicines,
- seizure medications,
- and cimetidine.
If you need to start taking any new medications inform your health care provider of this fact and only then combine the drugs.
If you experience mild side effects just make sure you watch them closely to make sure they are gone. Mild side effects are most likely to stop very soon, as your body adjusts to the dosage prescribed.
The following ones are considered to be mild:
- unusual weakness,
- problems with balance,
- allergic reactions,
- difficulty sleeping,
- muscle cramps,
- mood changes,
- change in the amount of urine,
- and drowsiness.
In some rare cases people taking diazepam also report serious side effects that cannot be foreseen and include the following symptoms:
- risk-taking behavior,
- suicidal thoughts,
- urinating less than usual,
- muscle twitching,
- double vision,
- depressed mood,
- unusual thoughts and behavior,
- body aches,
- flu symptoms,
- weak or shallow breathing,
- and hallucinations.
The serious side effects have to be reported to your health care provider as soon as possible.
Gradual withdrawal is recommended in case of valium, as otherwise a number of withdrawal symptoms are possible:
- trouble sleeping,
- stomach pain,
- unusual thoughts,
- unusual behavior,
- and muscle cramps.