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diazepam





A long-acting benzodiazepine used mainly to treat acute anxiety and insomnia. It is also used as a muscle-relaxant (for example, to treat spasm of the back muscles), a premedication, an anticonvulsant drug in the emergency treatment of epilepsy, and to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, notably delirium tremens. Diazepam is administered by mouth, injection, or rectally and can cause dependence.


Possible adverse effects

Diazepam may cause drowsiness, lethargy, dizziness, confusion, and muscle weakness; driving and hazardous work should therefore be avoided. Alcohol increases the sedative effect of the drug, and should be avoided during the use of diazepam.

Like other drugs in this group, diazepam can be habit-forming if taken regularly, and its effect may diminish with prolonged use. Individuals who have taken diazepam regularly for more than two weeks should never stop their treatment suddenly. Instead, they should gradually decrease the dose under medical supervision to avoid withdrawal symptoms (which may include anxiety, sweating, and, in rare circumstances following large doses, fits).


Related category

   • HEALTH AND DISEASE