Diazepam: What is it? Uses, precautions and side effects

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Anxiety, muscle spasms, whether due to stress or otherwise, have been a cause of great discomfort for decades. But, with the discovery of benzodiazepines it has been possible to mitigate their effects. Among its derivatives we can find Diazepam.

what is diazepam? What is the correct way to use it? Is there any risk in its use? In this article we will answer these questions.

Diazepam
Diazepam Formula

what is Diazepam?

  • Formula: C16H13ClN2O
  • Molar mass: 284.7 g/mol
  • CAS Number: 439-14-5
  • Boiling point: 497,4 °C
  • Trade name: Valium
  • Half-life: 20-100 hours (36-200 hours for its main active metabolite, desmethyldiazepam)
  • Metabolism: Hepatic, CYP2C19 pathway

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine-derived drug. Despite this, it has come to be considered by medical experts as a benzodiazepine itself. It is separated from the latter to fulfill a specific function in the organism. It is the most widely administered drug in its class, thanks to its effectiveness

It was separated from the other components in 1950. It is obtained by combining the following chemical elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and chlorine. It is one of the drugs with the highest bioavailability, reaching 100% orally and 90% rectally. This means that its effect is almost immediate in the body.

Diazepam can remain in the body up to 100 hours after ingestion. It is then naturally eliminated by the body itself. It is also known as Valium

How is Diazepam used?

Diazepam comes in tablet and liquid form. The liquid form can be in solution or concentrated form

Depending on the form prescribed by the doctor, he should give further instructions on how to use this drug

The most common way to introduce it into the body is orally, although it could also be rectally if circumstances require it

The Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products points out the effects that the consumption of Diazepam produces in the body. According to this agency, it can be used as a sedative, tranquilizer and muscle relaxant. However, it must always be prescribed by a medical specialist.

When a person presents muscle spasms, originated due to a serious illness or a high degree of stress, diazepam works as a muscle relaxant that acts immediately on the affected area.

According to the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products and the National Library of Medicine of the United States, Diazepam also contributes to improve the health of people suffering from epilepsies

However, it should not be used as the sole treatment for this disease. Rather, this drug would be the secondary treatment that allows to potentiate the components of the main one.

In summary, diazepam helps regulate brain activity, allowing the body to reach the required state of relaxation. This helps the whole organism as it regulates its functioning, bringing it to the required levels of normality.

Precautions when using Diazepam

There are some precautions to be taken into account when using diazepam. The Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products prepared a list of the most important ones.

Intensity of the disease

This drug is prescribed mainly for those who are severely affected by psychoneurotic disorders. It is a drug with a strong impact on the organism. Only if the problem is severe should diazepam be prescribed.

Allergies and combinations

This drug contains many components. It is necessary to confirm that you are not allergic to any of them, so that neither its effect nor the patient’s health is harmed. In the same way, alcohol should not be consumed during the treatment. This avoids limiting the effect of diazepam.

Patient’s health condition

The patient’s health condition is of utmost importance. If the patient has suffered from any mental illness, the physician should be informed. The same applies to eye or heart conditions. After the respective evaluation, he will determine the best treatment to follow.

Dosage

Depending on the age of the person and the disease he/she has, the daily amount to be consumed will be decided. For example, an adult person suffering from anxiety can take up to 40 mg in the most severe cases

But this amount could be reduced by half on the second day of treatment. It will always be the doctor who decides the dose to use.

Side effects and contraindications of Diazepam

After consuming diazepam it is possible to experience some symptoms typical of its intake. As experts point out, the pros and cons should always be evaluated before taking it. These are some of the side effects.

  • Fatigue. It can be mild or moderate tiredness and drowsiness.
  • Ataxia. Occurs when coordination between the muscles and the brain fails, preventing the desired movements from being performed
  • Speech disorders. This point is related to the previous one. The person may have episodes in which he/she is unable to express words, only babbling.
  • Vision problems. It may be blurred or double.
  • Skin conditions. There are symptoms of allergy to the drug, such as itching, swelling and the like.
  • General discomfort. There may be headaches, nausea or dizziness.
  • Mental problems. Although rare, some people have had hallucinations, confusion and others of greater severity.

When presenting one or more of these symptoms, it is necessary to see a doctor. Especially in the case of the last point. On the other hand, some people should not consume diazepam at any time. These are:

  • Allergy sufferers. It is already a risk to suffer from symptoms related to allergic reactions when consuming Diazepam. It should not be administered.
  • People with ADHD. It may increase the symptoms of the disease, which is counterproductive.
  • Pregnant women. It is better not to use this medicine, this applies for pregnant women as well as for those who are breastfeeding.
  • Newborns. Due to its potent effect, it could affect the body’s organs. It can only be used after 6 months after birth and under strict medical supervision.
  • Older than 65 years old. Although in some cases it could be used, experts recommend using other options. It can considerably affect your health.

This potent drug was discovered many decades ago. Using Diazepam well, many benefits can be obtained, both for mental and physical health.

Carlos José Belmonte López
Carlos José Belmonte Lópezhttps://www.google.com/search?kgmid=/g/11rcl91syn
Degree in Pharmacy from the University CEU San Pablo and Master's Degree from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid. Doctorate and committed to Human Health

Aunque pueda contener afirmaciones, datos o apuntes procedentes de instituciones o profesionales sanitarios y la información contenida en PharmaSalud esté redactada por profesionales en medicina, recomendamos al lector que cualquier duda relacionada con la salud sea consultada con un profesional del ámbito sanitario.

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