What is Valium?
Valium is a prescription medication that treats anxiety. The generic equivalent is called diazepam. Some doctors also prescribe it to people who are trying to quit drinking or who suffer from some kinds of seizures. Because of the way that the medicine works, it’s also sometimes prescribed as a muscle relaxer to help treat pain or injury.
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Before Taking Valium
Valium (Diazepam) comes with a black box warning, which means that its use may come with significant risks. Before taking this medicine, you must understand that if you take Valium at the same time as other benzodiazepines or opioids, you massively increase your risk of drowsiness, difficulty breathing, and possibly even coma or death. It’s imperative that you discuss your current medication with your doctor before starting Valium, and never start new medication before checking with your physician.
It should also be noted that Valium is an extremely strong medicine. You should first exhaust all other treatment options before considering its use. If the medicine is prescribed to you, it should be done so at the lowest possible effective dose and for the shortest time possible to minimize the occurrence of serious side effects.
Valium Dosing Instructions
How much Valium (Diazepam) you should take and how often should be determined by your doctor. Every patient is different, and following a different dosage schedule than that which you’ve been prescribed can be dangerous. That said, here’s how the medicine is typically prescribed when being used to treat anxiety:
- Adults (18 to 55 years old) — Valium is usually prescribed at a rate of 2 to 10 mg, 2 to 4 times a day
- Elderly Adults (55 years old and up) — Due to the increased risk of confusion and falls that can result in broken bones, doctors usually start elderly patients with a smaller dose. The normal course of treatment is 2 to 2.5 mg, once or twice a day.
- Children (6 months to 18 years old) — As children’s bodies are constantly changing and growing, a doctor may repeatedly adjust dosage. To start, the physician will usually prescribe 1 to 2.5 mg, 3 to 4 times per day.
Valium is not recommended for children younger than 6 months of age.
What Happens If I Miss a Dose?
If you miss a dose of Valium, take note of the time. If you have some time before your next dose, go ahead and take your medicine right away. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, you should skip the missed dose and wait to take the new one. Under no circumstances should you take two doses at one time.
Valium Side Effects
There is a long list of possible side effects that come along with taking Valium. Some of them are common but still a cause for concern, while others are less common but also not as serious.
These are common side effects, but you should let you doctor know about them any way to rule out more serious issues:
- Loss of coordination
Other common side effects that you should monitor but not be overly concerned about include:
- Dry mouth
- Erectile dysfunction
- Excessive gas
If you take too much of this medication, you may suffer from an overdose. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you must get emergency help immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast or irregular breathing
- Pale lips or fingernails
- Excessive drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Lack of coordination or weakness
Because Valium (Diazepam) can be a dangerous medication, both for those for whom it’s been prescribed and for those who may take it accidentally, take care to keep it in its original packaging for easy identification and keep it out of the reach of children.