Generic name: Diazepam.

Other brand names: Valrelease, Vazepam.

Valium is an anti-anxiety agent, skeletal muscle relaxant, amnesic agent, anticonvulsant, and sedative, as well as a benzodiazepine agent. It is thought to relieve anxiety by depressing the central nervous system. It also reduces the activity of certain chemicals in the brain.

Quick Facts About Valium


Used to treat anxiety disorders and for short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Also used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal; to relax muscles; to relieve uncontrolled muscle movements caused by cerebral palsy and lower-body paralysis; to control involuntary movement of the hands (athetosis); to relax tight, aching muscles; and in combination with other medication to treat convulsive disorders.

Valium Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed. If taking for epilepsy, take at the same time each day. Discontinue medication only under direction of your doctor; otherwise you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

  • Usual adult dose: for anxiety disorders and short-term relief of anxiety — 2 to 10 milligrams taken 2 to 4 times per day. For acute alcohol withdrawal — 10 milligrams taken 3 or 4 times in the first 24 hours, then 5 milligrams taken 3 or 4 times per day as needed. For muscle spasm — 2 to 10 milligrams taken 3 or 4 times per day. For convulsive disorders — 2 to 10 milligrams taken 2 to 4 times per day. Seniors — 2 to 2.5 milligrams taken 1 or 2 times per day. Doctor may increase if needed.
  • Usual child dose: for children 6 months and older — 1 to 2.5 milligrams taken 3 or 4 times per day. Doctor may increase if needed.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Valium Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

coma, confusion, diminished reflexes, sleepiness. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: drowsiness, fatigue, light headedness, loss of muscle coordination.

Less common Valium side effects: anxiety, blurred vision, changes in salivation, changes in sex drive, confusion, constipation, depression, difficulty urinating, dizzness, double vision, hallucinations, headache, inability to hold urine, low blood pressure, nausea, overstimulation, rage, seizures, skin rash, sleep disturbances slow heartbeat, slurred speech and other speech problems, stimulation, tremors, vertigo, yellowing of skin and eyes. Side effects from abrupt decrease or withdrawal: abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, sweating, tremors, vomiting.


Inform your doctor before combining Valium with:

anticonvulsants such as Dilantin, antidepressants such as Elavil and Prozac, barbiturates such as phenobarbital, cimetidine (Tagamet), digoxin (Lanoxin), disulfiram (Antabuse), fluoxetine (Prozac), isoniazid (Nydrazid), levodopa (Larodopa or Sinemet), major tranquilizers such as Mellaril and Thorazine, MAO inhibitors such as Nardil, narcotics such as Percocet, omeprazole (Prilosec), oral contraceptives, propoxyphene (Darvon), ranitidine (Zantac), rifampin (Rifadin).

Do not drink alcohol during Valium therapy.

Special Cautions

Do not take if pregnant or planning to become pregnant Valium increases risk of birth defects.

Seniors are prescribed lower doses to avoid oversedation or incoordination.

Follow doctor’s instructions carefully for children over 6 months of age.

  • Do not take if you have glaucoma.
  • May cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • Can be addictive or habit-forming.
  • Avoid if sensitive to or allergic to Valium.
  • Valium is not for anxiety or tension related to everyday stress or for mental disorders more serious than anxiety.
  • Use with caution if you have kidney or liver problems.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Valium side effects, please contact your healthcare provider