How Effective is Diazepam & What are Its Side Effects?

Diazepam is a kind of benzodiazepine. Diazepam is used to maintain the chemical balance of the brain which if misbalanced can cause anxiety attacks. Not only is it used to treat patients with anxiety attacks, diazepam is also used to treat alcoholism, muscle spasms and seizures. Sometimes it can be used to treat cases of illness which is not mentioned in the medical guide.

How Does Diazepam Work?

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine (type of medicine used to calm and sedate) used for the short-term treatment of anxiety and seizure disorders.

How Does Diazepam Work?

How Effective is Diazepam?

For an effective short term relief from alcohol consumption, muscle spasms and anxiety, diazepam can be used. Along with anti-seizure medications, diazepam can be used to treat a prolonged case of seizures.

  • One must not any kind of machinery or drive while consuming diazepam.
  • Avoid consuming grape juice and its products since it can increase blood level of diazepam.
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol.
  • It is suggested that diazepam is consumed in split doses, the largest being before bed time.
  • You can drink it is the form of concentrated oral solution (diazepam intensol) mixing it with liquid or semi-solid food.
  • If you are consuming diazepam for a long duration of time and then stop of suddenly, the withdrawal symptoms like seizures, cramps, convulsions and insomnia may occur.
  • Always taper off slowly after consulting the doctor.
  • Over excitement, anxiety, hallucinations rage or any kind of paradoxical reaction if noticed should be reported to the doctor immediately.

The response and effectiveness of diazepam is excellent. Effects of diazepam can be noticed within 1 to 1.5 hours of consuming it. Diazepam gets converted into active metabolites and therefore the effect of it can stay for 24 hours and if you take it regularly, it can form depositions in your body.

Caution of Diazepam Use

If you are allergic to any medicine like Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax and Restoril you should definitely not take diazepam.

Before you start taking Diazepam you should get a checkup for having asthma, glaucoma and breathlessness. If you are already a patient of these diseases or you have sleep apnea, narrow angle glaucoma, myasthenia gravis or liver related problems then this medicine shouldn’t be taken.

The other symptoms or illness which when noticed should be consulted with the doctor on continuing diazepam. If you have a seizure or you are pregnant then inform the doctor.

If Diazepam is misused then the misuse will lead to drug addiction, overdose or death. This medicine is strictly prohibited for babies below 6 months.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Diazepam?

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for Anxiety:

2 to 10 mg for 4 times a day if taken orally.

In the form of IV or IM, take 2 to 5 mg for moderate anxiety levels and up to 10 mg for high anxiety levels. The dosage can be repeated every 3 to 4 hours.

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for Alcohol Withdrawal:

Oral Intake of 10 mg for the first 24 hours and then taking in 5 mg 3 or 4 times a days.

In the form of IV or IM, take 1 mg in the first 24 hours and repeat 3 to 4 times a days in needed.

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for ICU Agitation:

Initial dosage: 0.02 to 0.08 mg/kg consumes over 2 to 5 minutes of every 0.5 to 2 hours to treat severe agitation.

Maintenance dosage: by continuous IV infusion, in taking 0.02 to 0.08 mg/kg/hr.

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for Muscle Spasm:

When taken orally, take in 10 mg 3 to 4 times a day.

In the form of IV or IM, take in 5 to 10 mg in 3 to 4 hours when necessary. Larger doses may be required for tetanus purposes.

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for Seizures:

Oral: 4 times a day, take in 2 to 10 mg.

Rectal gel: for the nearest available unit dose, take in 0.2 mg/kg. 2.5 mg of supplemental dose for titration purpose if the first dose was expelled/ such can be repeated every 4 to 12 hours making it a maximum of 1 episode in 5 days and 5 episodes in a month.

General Adult Dose of diazepam for Radiology Premedication or Endoscopy:

IV: adequate level in 10 mg, can be extended up to 20 mg for required and desired sedation.

IM: 30 minutes prior to the procedure if IV is not an option, intake of 5 to 10 mg. narcotic dosage should be reduced by 33.33 % and should be eliminated if possible.

General Adult Dose of diazepam for Status Epilepticus:

IV or IM: initial dosage of 5 to 10 mg, IV being preferable. It can be repeated every 10 to 15 minutes keeping in mind the maximum dosage to be 30 mg. only if utterly required, the same be repeated every 2 to 4 hours.

General Adult Dose of Diazepam for Light Anesthesia:

When used as premedication for anesthesia, then 10 mg, IM is given to the patient 1 to 2 hours before the surgery.

What are the Side Effects of Diazepam?

The common side effects of diazepam are:

  • Feeling tired daily.
  • Pain and weakness in the body especially the muscles.
  • Feeling giddy and drowsy.

You can develop an allergic reaction to diazepam anytime. You should consult a doctor immediately. The symptoms that you may notice in the patient which calls for immediate medical attention are:

  • Rashes and hives on skin.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Swelling on body parts like face, tongue, throat and lips.
  • Developing unusual behavior and hallucinations.
  • Trying out something dangerous without fear and developing a behavior which shall be risky for the patient.
  • Depression, mood swings, agitation and irritation.
  • Develop a hyperactive r a hostile nature.
  • Exposing of old seizures or development of new.
  • Tremor and twitching of muscles.
  • Loss of control over the bladder. Urinating very less or not at all.

Diazepam can be prescribed to anyone between 18 and 60 only when the person is not under any other medication. The following are the side effects of diazepam:

  • Feeling too much weak in the muscles as if you will fail to stand and instead risk falling.
  • You can undergo dizziness, drowsiness, confusion depression, severe headache, vomiting. Disturbances in the gastrointestinal areas, blurry vision and fall in the blood pressure.
  • May lead to amnesia or antisocial behavioral symptoms in a person is the dosage is high.
  • The reaction skills of a person and his or her ability to use heavy machines can be impaired.
  • Developing dependence emotionally and physically and can lead to growth of an abusive nature.
  • Developing tremors, cramps, convulsions, insomnia and other kinds of withdrawal symptoms. Such things can occur if the consumption of the medicine s stopped rapidly without consulting a doctor. Therefore one must taper off slowly after the doctor says.


Improper tapering off of diazepam can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms even if it helps to effectively treat anxiety and long or short term seizures. Diazepam can also lead to addiction.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 10, 2017

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