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Drugs reference index «Diazepam»



Pronunciation: (DIE-aze-uh-pam)Class: Benzodiazepine, Centrally acting muscle relaxant

Trade Names:Diastat- Gel, rectal 2.5 mg (pediatric)- Gel, rectal 10 mg- Gel, rectal 15 mg (adult)- Gel, rectal 20 mg (adult)

Trade Names:Diazepam- Solution, oral 1 mg/mL- Injection 5 mg/mL

Trade Names:Diazepam Intensol- Solution (intensol) 5 mg/mL

Trade Names:Valium- Tablets 2 mg- Tablets 5 mg- Tablets 10 mg

Apo-Diazepam (Canada)Diazemuls (Canada)Valium Roche Oral (Canada)


Potentiates action of GABA, inhibitory neurotransmitter, resulting in increased neural inhibition and CNS depression, especially in limbic system and reticular formation.




Slow and erratic absorption unless administered in the deltoid muscle; C max is lower than oral or IV administration.


T max is 1.5 h. Bioavailability is 90%.


T max is 0.5 to 2 h.


95% to 98% protein bound. Highly lipophilic. Crosses the placenta and is excreted in breast milk.


Metabolized in the liver (involving CYP2C19 and CYP3A4) to desmethyldiazepam (active) and 2 minor active metabolites.


The t ½ is 20 to 80 h.



Special Populations

Hepatic Function Impairment

The t ½ is prolonged and Cl decreased in those with alcoholic cirrhosis.


The t ½ is increased and Cl is decreased.


The t ½ is longer in neonates and children younger than 2 yr of age; t ½ is shorter in children 2 to 16 yr of age.

Indications and Usage

Management of anxiety disorders; relief of acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms; relief of preoperative apprehension and anxiety and reduction of memory recall; treatment of muscle spasms, convulsive disorders (used adjunctively), and status epilepticus.

Unlabeled Uses

Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome; relief of panic attack.


Hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines; psychoses; acute narrow-angle glaucoma; use in children younger than 6 mo of age; lactation.

Dosage and Administration

Individualize dosage; increase cautiously.

Adults and Children

Usual recommended dose IM/IV 2 to 20 mg, depending on indication and severity. In acute conditions injection may be repeated within 1 h, but every 3 to 4 h is usually satisfactory. Dosage and route vary with indication and age.

Children 6 mo of age and older

Usual daily dose PO 1 to 2.5 mg 3 or 4 times daily initially; increase gradually as needed and tolerated.

Acute Alcohol WithdrawalAdults

PO 10 mg 3 to 4 times daily first 24 h, then 5 mg 3 to 4 times daily as needed. IM/IV 10 mg initially, then 5 to 10 mg in 3 to 4 h if needed.

Anticonvulsant AdjunctAdults

PO 2 to 10 mg 2 to 4 times daily.

Elderly or Debilitated Patients

PO Initial dose 2 to 2.5 mg once to twice daily; increase gradually.


PO 2 to 10 mg 2 to 4 times daily. IM/IV 2 to 10 mg; repeat in 3 to 4 h if needed.

Cardioversion (Anxiety and Tension)Adults

IM/IV 5 to 15 mg 5 to 10  min before procedure.

Endoscopic Procedures

IM/IV 10 to 20 mg IV or 5 to 10 mg IM approximately 30 min prior to procedure.

Preoperative (Anxiety and Tension)Adults

IM 10 mg before surgery.

Sedation/Muscle RelaxationAdults

IM/IV 2 to 10 mg/dose every 3 to 4 h as needed.

Children 6 mo of age and older

PO 0.12 to 0.8 mg/kg/day in divided doses. IM/IV 0.04 to 0.2 mg/kg/dose every 2 to 4 h (max, 0.6 mg/kg in 8-h period).

Skeletal Muscle SpasmAdults

PO 2 to 10 mg 3 to 4 times daily. IM/IV 5 to 10 mg initially, then 5 to 10 mg in 3 to 4 h if needed. Larger doses may be necessary in tetanus.

Status Epilepticus and Severe Recurrent Convulsive DisordersAdults

IM/IV (IV preferred) 5 to 10 mg initially; then 5 to 10 mg at 10 to 15 min intervals (max total dose, 30 mg). If needed, repeat in 2 to 4 h.

Children 5 yr of age and older

IM/IV 1 mg every 2 to 5 min (max total dose, 10 mg). If needed, repeat in 2 to 4 h.

Infants and Children 1 mo to 5 yr of age

IM/IV 0.2 to 0.5 mg slowly every 2 to 5 min (max total dose, 5 mg).

TetanusChildren 5 yr of age and older

IM/IV 5 to 10 mg; repeat every 3 to 4 h as needed.

Infants and Children 1 mo to 5 yr of age

IM/IV 1 to 2 mg slowly; repeat every 3 to 4 h as needed.

Rectal GelChildren 2 to 5 yr of age

Rectal 0.5 mg/kg.

Children 6 to 11 yr of age

Rectal 0.3 mg/kg.

Adults and Children 12 yr of age and older

Rectal 0.2 mg/kg.

A second dose, when required, may be given 4 to 12 h after the first dose.

General Advice

  • Oral Solution
  • Use calibrated dropper to measure prescribed dose of concentrated oral solution. Add prescribed dose to a liquid (eg, juice, water, soda) or semisolid food (eg, applesauce, pudding); stir for a few seconds then immediately administer entire amount of mixture. Do not prepare and store doses for future use.
  • Injection
  • For IM or IV administration only.
  • Do not administer if particulate matter, cloudiness, or discoloration is noted.
  • For IM administration, inject deeply into muscle.
  • To reduce risk of IV injection-site reactions (eg, venous thrombosis, phlebitis, local irritation) administer IV injection slowly (no more than 5 mg/min) directly into large vein. Do not administer using small veins (eg, dorsum of hand, wrist).
  • To reduce risk of apnea and hypersomnolence in children, administer prescribed IV dose over 3 min.


Store tablets, oral solution, and injection at controlled room temperature (59° to 86°F). Protect from light. Protect tablets from moisture.

Drug Interactions

Azole antifungal agents (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), diltiazem, fluvoxamine, isoniazid, macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), nefazodone, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (eg, delavirdine, efavirenz), protease inhibitors (eg, indinavir)

May increase diazepam plasma concentrations.

Cimetidine, oral contraceptives, disulfiram

May increase effects of diazepam with excessive sedation and impaired psychomotor function.


May increase serum digoxin concentrations.


May increase diazepam levels and enhance effects.


May decrease diazepam plasma concentrations.


May antagonize sedative effects of diazepam.


Diazepam interacts with plastic containers and IV tubing, significantly decreasing availability of drug delivered. Do not mix or dilute with other solutions or drugs in a syringe or infusion container.

Laboratory Test Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions


CV collapse; bradycardia; tachycardia; hypertension; palpitations; edema; hypotension; phlebitis or thrombosis at IV sites.


Drowsiness; confusion; ataxia; dizziness; lethargy; fatigue; apathy; memory impairment; disorientation; anterograde amnesia; restlessness; headache; slurred speech; loss of voice; stupor; coma; euphoria; irritability; vivid dreams; psychomotor retardation; paradoxical reactions (eg, anger, hostility, mania, insomnia, muscle spasms); depression; dysarthria; hypoactivity; tremor; vertigo.


Urticaria; skin rash.


Visual or auditory disturbances; depressed hearing; blurred vision; diplopia; nystagmus.


Constipation; diarrhea; dry mouth; coated tongue; nausea; anorexia; vomiting.


Incontinence; changes in libido; urinary retention.


Blood dyscrasias including agranulocytosis, anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia.


Hepatic dysfunction including hepatitis and jaundice; abnormal LFTs.


Dependency/withdrawal symptoms.



Ensure that CBC with differential and liver enzymes are evaluated periodically in patient on prolonged therapy.


Category D . Avoid drug especially during first trimester because of possible increased risk of congenital malformations.


Excreted in breast milk.


Oral form not recommended in patients younger than 6 mo of age; parenteral form not recommended in infants younger than 30 days of age.


Initial dose should be small and gradually increased. Give with extreme care to elderly patients with limited pulmonary reserve.

Renal Function

Observe caution to avoid accumulation of drug.

Hepatic Function

Observe caution to avoid accumulation of drug.


Prolonged use can lead to dependency. Withdrawal syndrome has occurred within 4 to 6 wk of treatment, especially if abruptly discontinued. For discontinuation after long-term treatment, use caution and taper dosage.

Parenteral administration

Reserved primarily for acute states.

Psychiatric disorders

Not intended for use in patients with primary depressive disorder, psychosis, or disorders in which anxiety is not prominent.


Tonic status epilepticus has been precipitated in patients treated with IV for petit mal or variant status.


Use drug with caution in patients with suicidal tendencies; do not allow access to large quantities of drug.



Hypotension, respiratory or cardiac arrest, drowsiness, confusion, somnolence, impaired coordination, diminished reflexes, lethargy, ataxia, hypotonia, hypnosis, coma, death.

Patient Information

  • Advise patient or caregiver to read the patient information leaflet before starting therapy and with each refill.
  • Advise patient that medication is usually started at a low dose and then gradually increased until maximum benefit is obtained.
  • Caution patient that medication may be habit forming, to take as prescribed, and not to stop taking or change the dose unless advised by health care provider.
  • Advise patient to take each dose without regard to meals but to take with food if stomach upset occurs.
  • Advise patient or caregiver using concentrated oral solution to measure prescribed dose using calibrated dropper and then add solution to a liquid (eg, juice, water, soda) or semisolid food (eg, applesauce, pudding); stir for a few seconds then immediately take (give) the entire mixture. Caution patient or caregiver not to prepare mixtures ahead of time and store.
  • Advise patient that if a dose is missed to skip that dose and take the next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Caution patient to never take 2 doses at the same time.
  • Advise patient if medication needs to be discontinued, it will be slowly withdrawn unless safety concerns (eg, rash) require a more rapid withdrawal.
  • Instruct patient to avoid alcoholic beverages and other depressants while taking this medication.
  • Advise patient with anxiety to take medication as needed and to seek alternative methods for controlling or preventing anxiety (eg, stress reduction, counseling).
  • Instruct patient to contact health care provider if symptoms (eg, anxiety, panic attacks, seizures) do not appear to be getting better, are getting worse, or if bothersome adverse reactions (eg, drowsiness, memory impairment) occur.
  • Advise patient that drug may cause drowsiness or impair judgment, thinking, or reflexes and to use caution while driving or performing other tasks requiring mental alertness until tolerance is determined.
  • Encourage patient with seizure disorder to carry identification (eg, card, bracelet) indicating condition and medication being used to treat.
  • Injection
  • Advise patient or caregiver that medication will be prepared by a health care provider and administered in a health care setting under close observation, when oral therapy is not feasible.
  • Caution patient who receives parenteral therapy as an outpatient (eg, outpatient surgery) to use caution while ambulating, avoid ingestion of alcohol or other sedatives, and avoid driving or other hazardous activities for 24 to 48 h.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health.

  • Diazepam Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)
  • Diazepam MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • diazepam Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Diastat Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Diastat Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Diastat Gel MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Diastat AcuDial Gel MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Valium Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Valium MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Valium Consumer Overview

See Also...

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