Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). Diazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety.
Valium is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms.
Valium is sometimes used with other medications to treat seizures.
You should not use Valium if you are allergic to diazepam or similar medicines (Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Xanax, and others), or if you have myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease, narrow-angle glaucoma, a severe breathing problem, or sleep apnea.
Before you take Valium, tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, asthma or other breathing problems, kidney or liver disease, seizures, or a history of drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
Do not start or stop taking Valium during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice. Diazepam 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 diazepam for seizures.
Valium may be habit-forming. Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death.
Do not give this medication to a child younger than 6 months old.
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; or
- if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.
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.