Diazepam: how to use? Check indications and side effects

There are many medications for controlled use, that is, those that do not need a prescription for their purchase – so they cannot be administered without professional guidance.

This regulation can be made for different reasons, but the focus is not to cause damage to the patient’s health, which could occur if the medicine were used on its own.

As an example, we can highlight the drugs that treat psychic disorders. This is the case of the remedy Diazepam , indicated mainly in the care of anxiety disorder

What is Diazepam?

Diazepam is a medicinal substance that is the active ingredient of some remedies used mainly in the symptomatic treatment of anxiety disorder. However, in addition to this indication, it can also be prescribed to treat other conditions.

In this sense, care is included in cases of muscle spasms or spasticity (changes in muscle tone). In addition, the injectable version of this medication can be used for sedative purposes before performing diagnostic (invasive), therapeutic or interventions – such as endoscopy, minor surgery, biopsies, etc.

It is important to highlight that it is not an anesthetic. The drug can be used in such conditions to “sedate” the patient and relieve tensions such as anxiety and stress .

Therefore, the injectable version must be administered in a hospital environment and with the help of a professional. The other presentation of the medicine, the compressed version, can be used at home – but a prescription is required, as Diazepam is for controlled use.

It is worth remembering that this drug substance has contraindications, such as for children under 12 and people with apnea (a breathing disorder). And it can also cause side effects (like drowsiness, for example).

What is Diazepam indicated for?

According to the information in the package leaflet, the drug substance Diazepam has as its main indication the use for the symptomatic relief of anxiety , tension and other somatic (physical) or psychological complaints associated with this disorder.

Still, it is indicated that it can be prescribed as an adjunct (complementary) in the treatment of anxiety or agitation when associated with psychiatric disorders.

Also, the package insert informs that this medication is useful in relieving muscle spasms , when they are a reflection of local trauma (injury, inflammation).

In addition to previous uses, Diazepam can be used to treat spasticity (changes in muscle tone that cause muscle stiffness) due to injury to the spinal and supraspinal interneurons. As, for example, in cases of cerebral palsy and paraplegia.

Therefore, the information in the package insert is reinforced that benzodiazepines , a class of remedies such as Diazepam, are used for cases of severe, disabling disorders or when there is extreme pain.

Need a prescription to buy?

-Yeah . Drugs that have Diazepam as an active ingredient need a prescription for their purchase, since it is a controlled drug substance.

The medical prescription, in this case, is blue . What applies to remedies classified as B (B1 and B2), to those that have psychotropic substances (act mainly on the central nervous system) in their composition.

What differs from the B1 and B2 classifications is the expiration time and the posology that can be prescribed in the medication. In the case of Diazepam, it is a B1 medication .

In practice, this means that the prescription is valid for 30 days and the quantities indicated in the dosage must be compatible with a maximum of 60 days of treatment.

How to use the medicine?

The medicines based on Diazepam can be found in two presentations. They are the compressed or injectable version.

The form of use of the tablets is from the oral route and they can be broken to facilitate administration. As for ingesting with water or before / after meals, the package insert of the drug substance does not contain any information – therefore, follow medical advice.

In the case of injectable drugs, which have Diazepam as PA (active ingredient), the use is restricted to the hospital environment . So, it can be done through intramuscular (IM) or intravenous (IV).

When intramuscular administration is done, the medication is inserted into the muscle tissue, which is why it is common to apply it to parts such as the buttocks, thighs and arms.

In the case of intravenous use, the medicine is diluted and dripped into the patient’s vein. The package insert recommends, in this sense, a slow administration (approximately 0.5 to 1 mL / minute), in order to avoid complications such as apnea (reduced respiratory flow).

Dosage

The dosage of Diazepam may vary depending on the condition being treated and its severity, as well as factors such as the patient’s weight and age. It is also important to consider the two presentations of the medication: compressed and injectable.

The pills, as mentioned, are for oral use and the package insert guides how to do the administration at home – under medical prescription. The injectable version, on the other hand, lacks a health professional in both directions (dosage and use).

In the sequence, better understand the information about the doses for the two presentations:

Injectable

The administration of Diazepam should always be done in a hospital environment, which means that the patient cannot use it alone at home and without the assistance of trained professionals.

As for the dosage, the package insert brings as a dose commonly indicated for adults and adolescents the amount of 2mg to 20mg daily – to be administered intramuscularly (inside the muscle) or intravenously (medication in the vein).

It is worth mentioning that, since the injectable medication can be used for sedative purposes before therapeutic procedures, diagnostics or other interventions, in order to calm and sedate the patient, in these cases the dose can reach 30mg (intravenously) .

In general, therefore, dose variations occur due to the desired effects, body weight, severity of symptoms and the condition being treated.

Pills

Regarding the posology of the tablets version, the package insert indicates first that the initial dose should be the lowest possible (according to the case) and that the treatment should not be too extensive – so that it needs periodic reassessment.

In this sense, it is indicated as a dosage usually prescribed: 5mg to 10mg per day. It can reach 20mg daily in more severe cases, but without exceeding 10mg in each dose.

What are the contraindications for Diazepam?

The drug substance Diazepam should not be administered to people who are sensitive to this active ingredient, other components of the formula or benzodiazepines (class of drugs in which it is included).

It should also not be used by children under 12, except under medical prescription.

There is information in the package insert for the contraindication of this medication for people dependent on other drugs, including alcohol – except, in this case, when used to treat withdrawal symptoms, which may include anxiety.

Diazepam is also contraindicated for people who suffer from conditions such as:

  • Acute angle glaucoma (high eye pressure);
  • Severe respiratory failure;
  • Severe liver failure (kidneys);
  • Sleep apnea syndrome;
  • Myasthenia gravis (inflammatory muscle disease).

Finally, it should be noted that elderly patients need even more caution when they need to use this medication, considering its strong effects on the body. Still, in all cases, medical advice should always be followed in order to avoid complications.

What are the side effects of Diazepam?

Side effects may arise as a result of the administration of any drug substance, however, some people may not present any changes. In the case of Diazepam, the package insert cites as the most common reactions :

  • Tiredness;
  • Somnolence;
  • Muscle relaxation.

However, he points out that these effects usually appear at the beginning of therapy – so, with prolonged use, they tend to disappear. In addition to these, there are also other adverse reactions that can affect those who use (continuous or not) this medication:

  • Nervous system disorders – imbalances, slurred speech (or difficulty speaking), headache, tremors, dizziness, decreased alertness, amnesic effects (recent or general memory loss) may occur;
  • Psychiatric disorders – the possibility of agitation, irritability, disorientation, aggression, greater anxiety, delusions, anger, nightmares, hallucinations, psychoses, inappropriate behavior, depression, changes in libido etc;
  • Disorders of other organs and systems – the person may experience nausea, dry mouth or excess of saliva, gastrointestinal disorders (such as constipation), blurred vision, low blood pressure, urinary incontinence or retention, skin reactions, among others.

The package insert also reinforces the need for care after taking the medication in order to avoid falls, since side effects such as vertigo ( dizziness ) can favor incidents.

If the patient experiences one or more adverse effects after taking Diazepam, he should seek medical help – in order to diagnose whether the problem is (or not) related to the medicine and to take the necessary measures.

Do you sleep?

-Yeah . The use of Diazepam commonly causes drowsiness, tiredness and a feeling of intense relaxation, which is mainly associated with the beginning of treatment, so it tends to decrease with continuous use.

If you feel excessive changes, such as to the point of preventing or intensely hampering the performance of daily tasks, seek the doctor (a) responsible. This also applies when the effects do not subside even after a period of continuous treatment.

Finally, it should be noted that although this is a common adverse reaction, there is no guarantee that it will occur – it may be that the drug does not cause any changes in this regard.

Price and where to buy

Considering that Diazepam is a controlled substance, it is only possible to buy in physical stores (pharmacies), as it is necessary to present and retain a prescription.

However, to compare the price of medicines and find the best value, you can use the Consultation Remedies platform , which makes it possible to see the price of the same product or medicine in different establishments in your region.

See some of the remedies that have Diazepam as an active ingredient and the price range *:

  • Diazepam Neo Química (30 tablets of 5mg) – R $ 4 to R $ 12;
  • Diazepam Germed Pharma (20 tablets of 5mg) – around R $ 5;
  • Valium (30 tablets of 10mg) – around R $ 20;
  • Diazepam NQ (30 tablets of 10mg) – R $ 15;
  • Relapax (20 tablets of 10mg) – R $ 10.

* Prices consulted in September 2020. Prices may change.


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