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diazepam (injection)

Pronunciation: dye AZ e pam

Brand: Valium, Zetran

What is the most important information I should know about diazepam?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using. Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication, alcohol, or other drugs that can slow your breathing.

You should not receive this medicine if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, or untreated open-angle glaucoma.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you received this medicine.

What is diazepam?

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen) that is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms. Diazepam injection is also used to treat a seizure emergency called status epilepticus.

Diazepam injection is sometimes used as a sedative to help you relax before having surgery or other medical procedure.

Diazepam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving diazepam?

You should not be treated with diazepam if you are allergic to it. You may not be able to use diazepam if you have glaucoma.

If possible before you receive diazepam, tell your caregivers if you have ever had:

  • glaucoma;
  • asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior;
  • heart disease; or
  • if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or opioid medications.

Diazepam may harm an unborn baby, and generally should not be used during pregnancy. However, status epilepticus is a life-threatening condition and the benefit of receiving this medicine to treat it may outweigh any risk to the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received this medicine.

How is diazepam injection given?

Diazepam is injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a medical or surgical setting. Diazepam injection is for short-term use only.

Diazepam injection is usually given as a single dose just before a surgery or medical procedure. For other conditions, this medicine is usually given until you are able to take medicine by mouth.

You may need to receive only one dose of diazepam if your condition improves after the medicine is given.

When injected into a vein, diazepam must be given slowly. Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when this medicine is injected.

After treatment with diazepam injection, you will be watched to make sure the medication is working and does not cause harmful side effects.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are in surgery.

Diazepam can make you very drowsy, dizzy, or light-headed. These effects may last longer in older adults. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury after you have received diazepam injection. You may need help getting out of bed for at least the first several hours.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because you will receive diazepam in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving diazepam?

Do not drink alcohol shortly after receiving diazepam injection. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Diazepam injection can cause extreme drowsiness that may last for several hours after you have received the medicine. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

What are the possible side effects of diazepam?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Diazepam can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication, alcohol, or other drugs that can slow your breathing. Your caregivers will watch you for symptoms such as weak or shallow breathing.

Tell your caregivers right away if you have:

  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • severe drowsiness;
  • new or worsening seizures;
  • unusual thoughts, hallucinations; or
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

The sedative effects of diazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who use benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury shortly after receiving diazepam injection.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;
  • tired feeling;
  • muscle weakness; or
  • problems with balance or muscle movement.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect diazepam?

Shortly after you are treated with this medicine, taking other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects. Tell your doctor if you regularly use a sleeping pill, opoid medication, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • any other benzodiazepines (alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others);
  • medicine to treat mental illness; or
  • an MAO inhibitor--isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect diazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about diazepam.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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