Valium (diazepam)

Antianxiety Medication

When Is It Prescribed?

Valium (diazepam), is a medication that is used to relieve anxiety, nervousness and tension associated with anxiety disorders.

It is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines and affects chemicals in your brain that may become imbalanced and cause anxiety, seizures, and/or muscle spasms.

This medication may also be prescribed for purposes other than what’s listed above.

When Will My Medication Start to Work?

You should start feeling the effects of Valium (diazepam) within 30 minutes after taking it orally and one to five minutes after receiving it intravenously. The time it takes to experience the full effects of this medication depends on dosage and varies from person to person. Effects typically persist for three to eight hours after oral dose and 15 minutes to one hour after intravenous injection. Do not stop taking Valium (diazepam) suddenly if you have been taking it for several weeks since this may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and could even cause seizures. Talk to your prescribing doctor or therapist if you need to stop treatment with Valium (diazepam).

Are There Any Drug Interactions?

Before taking this medication, tell your prescribing doctor or therapist if you are taking any of the following drugs:

  • antihistamines such as Dimetane (brompheniramine), Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine), Optimine (azatadine), Tavist (clemastine), and many others
  • narcotics (pain killers) such as Demerol (meperidine), MS Contin (morphine), Darvon (propoxyphene), Lorcet (hydrocodone), Percocet (oxycodone), Duragesic (fentanyl), and Fiorinal (codeine)
  • other sedatives such as Solfoton (phenobarbital), Amytal (amobarbital), and Seconal (secobarbital)
  • phenothiazines such as Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Serentil (mesoridazine), Trilafon (perphenazine), Compazine (prochlorperazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Stelazine (trifluoperazine)
  • antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline), Sinequan (doxepin), Tofranil (imipramine), Pamelor (nortriptyline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine)

Dangerous sedation, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur if Valium (diazepam) is taken with any of the medications listed above.

The effects of blood pressure medications may be increased while taking Valium (diazepam), and very low blood pressure may result. Be alert for signs of low blood pressure (weakness, dizziness, fatigue) and talk to your doctor or therapist about your medication.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Issues

Valium (diazepam) is in the FDA pregnancy category D which means that this medication is known to harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your prescribing doctor or therapist, if you are pregnant.

Other Important Information and Precautions

Before taking Valium (diazepam) tell your prescribing doctor or therapist if you have :

  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • asthma, brochitis, emphysema, or another respiratory disease
  • symptoms of depression
  • suicidal thoughts

You may not be able to take Valium (diazepam), or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of these conditions.

Do not take this medication if you have narrow-angle glaucoma since it could worsen this condition.

Use alcohol cautiously since it can increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking Valium (diazepam). Alcohol along with this medication could also increase your risk of having a seizure.

If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience side effects from Valium (diazepam) and may require a lower dose of this medication.

Valium (diazepam) is not approved for use in children younger than one month old.

In addition to the information listed above, there may be other important issues or precautions related to this medication. For further information, you can ask your prescribing doctor or therapist.

Side-Effect Information

Only some people will experience side-effects, and no one experiences them in exactly the same way. If you experience any side-effects, contact your prescribing doctor or therapist right away. The following list may not contain all of the side-effects associated with this medication:

Most Common Side-Effect drowsiness
Infrequent Side-Effects slurred speech, tremor, fatigue, headache, insomnia, hypotension, blurred vision, nausea, incontinence, rash, respiratory depression
Risks cardiovascular collapse

Side-effects and risks other than those listed above may also occur. Talk to your prescribing doctor or therapist about any potential or existing side-effects that you’re concerned about.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is made to that effect.’s medication information is a reference resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge, and judgment of healthcare practitioners in patient care. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information provides.