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Valium (injection)

Generic name: diazepam (injection) [ dye-AZ-e-pam ]
Brand names: Valium, Zetran
Drug classes: Benzodiazepine anticonvulsants, Benzodiazepines

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 19, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is diazepam?

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen) that is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. Diazepam injection is also used to treat a seizure emergency called status epilepticus.

Diazepam injection is sometimes used as a sedative to help you relax before having surgery or other medical procedure.

Diazepam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Warnings

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication or alcohol.

If you receive diazepam during an emergency, make sure any follow-up doctor knows you received this medicine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with diazepam if you are allergic to it. You may not be able to receive a diazepam injection if you have glaucoma.

If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you've ever had:

  • glaucoma;

  • asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;

  • kidney or liver disease;

  • mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior;

  • heart disease; or

  • if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or opioid medications.

Diazepam may harm an unborn baby, and generally should not be used during pregnancy. However, status epilepticus is a life-threatening condition and the benefit of receiving this medicine to treat it may outweigh any risk to the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using this medicine.

If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is diazepam injection given?

Diazepam is injected into a muscle or into a vein.

A healthcare provider will give you this injection. Diazepam injection is for short-term use only.

Diazepam injection is usually given as a single dose just before a surgery or medical procedure. For other conditions, this medicine is usually given until you are able to take medicine by mouth.

When injected into a vein, diazepam must be given slowly. Tell your medical caregivers if you feel any burning or pain when diazepam is injected.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are in surgery.

Diazepam can make you very drowsy, dizzy, or light-headed. You may need help getting out of bed for at least the first several hours.

Drowsiness or dizziness may last longer in older adults. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury.

What happens if I miss a dose?

In a medical setting you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

In a medical setting an overdose would be treated quickly.

What should I avoid after receiving diazepam?

Do not drink alcohol shortly after receiving diazepam injection. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Diazepam injection can cause extreme drowsiness that may last for several hours after you have received the medicine. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Diazepam side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication or alcohol. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Tell your medical caregivers right away if you have:

  • severe drowsiness;

  • unusual thoughts; or

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

Common side effects of Valium may include:

  • drowsiness;

  • tired feeling;

  • muscle weakness; or

  • problems with balance or muscle movement.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect diazepam?

Shortly after you are treated with this medicine, taking other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect diazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.