Diazepam helps relieve anxiety, especially if it is accompanied by problems sleeping also known as insomnia.
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions such as muscle spasms, symptoms caused by alcohol withdrawal and also together with other medicines to treat epilepsy (fits or seizures).
Take Diazepam exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine may be taken with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
If you are taking an oral solution, you may dilute it with water and shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure out your prescribed dose.
Do not take Diazepam for a longer period of time than instructed by your doctor. See your doctor if this medicine does not seem to help you.
If you are taking Diazepam over a certain period of time, do not stop taking this medicine suddenly as this may worsen your condition. Your doctor may want to reduce the dose of Diazepam gradually before stopping it completely. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe liver disease
- severe lung disease
- long-term mood disorder or mental illness
- myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder)
- sleep apnoea (a sleep disorder wherein the person's breathing is interrupted during sleep)
- glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye)
- hyperkinesis (excessive muscle disorder)
- porphyria (suffer from an inherited iron disorder)
as Diazepam may not be suitable for you.
Do not give this medicine to infant below 6 months unless instructed to do so by the doctor.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of drug abuse or alcoholism
- long-term lung disease
- ataxia (difficulty in controlling movements such as unsteadiness in walking)
- mild to moderate liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Individual's genetic traits are unique from each other. Researchers say that certain genetic traits can affect your response to Diazepam. Though not routinely done, but in some exceptional cases, your doctor may advise you to take genetic testing to check if this drug is best suited for you.
Your doctor may need to perform blood tests to make sure that your liver function is normal before you take this medicine and thereafter depending on your doctor’s advice.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
Practise good sleeping habits to reduce reliance on sleeping pills. These are some good sleeping habits which you should follow:
What lifestyle changes should I make to manage my dependence to alcohol?
- Try to relax before bedtime. Do not engage in strenuous activities.
- Try to go to bed at about the same time every night.
- Have a light dinner. A heavy dinner may disturb your sleep.
- Avoid caffeine in the evening. Caffeine-containing food and drinks include coffee, tea, certain soft drinks and even chocolate.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime.
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and airy.
- Avoid taking naps especially in the late afternoon.
Eat a healthy diet and manage your stress through meditation and exercise. Avoid temptations of drinking alcohol by removing all alcohol in your home and office and distancing yourself from people who drink. Keep away from places and situations that encourage drinking. Get help from friends and family to support you in your goal of abstaining from alcohol. Continue to attend counselling while taking this medicine to reach your goal.
Diazepam may cause drowsiness, loss of muscle control, blurred vision or double vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, stomach discomfort, slurred speech, increased salivation, difficulty urinating, involuntary muscle contraction or twitching; difficulty remembering, confusion, double vision, changes in sexual drive, difficulty in controlling movements such as unsteadiness in walking.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- signs and symptoms of paradoxical reactions such as restlessness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, rages, nightmares, delusion
- withdrawal symptoms such as repeated insomnia, anxiety, panic, palpitations, sweating, paranoia, fits or seizures, delirium
- unusual change in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
- desire or physical need to take Diazepam to function normally
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other sleeping pills
- medicines to treat depression e.g. fluvoxamine
- antibiotics e.g. rifampicin, erythromycin
- medicines to treat fungal infections e.g. itraconazole, ketoconazole
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. ritonavir, nelfinavir
- medicines for mood disorders e.g. clozapine
- stomach medicines e.g. omeprazole, cimetidine
- medicines for cold or allergy e.g. hydroxyzine, diphenhydramine
- theophylline (asthma medicine)
- other medicines such as sodium oxybate, lofexidine, nabilone, disulfiram
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Diazepam.
Diazepam should not be taken at the same time as antacids. These may reduce the effectiveness of the medicine. If you must take antacids, there should be at least 2 hours interval between the antacid and Diazepam.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will worsen the dizziness and drowsiness caused by Diazepam.
Avoid caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks.
Avoid excessive consumption (more than 1 litre a day) of grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
Avoid St John’s wort.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.