Fears, restlessness and sleep disturbances can occur in many mental illnesses and in acute stress situations. The active substance diazepam serves as a sedative for the short-term relief of these complaints. Side effects of diazepam are usually rare and dependent on the dosage.
Diazepam not over the counter
The active substance diazepam belongs to the group of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a class of anxiolytic (anxiolytic) and sleep-inducing medicines (hypnotics) that have been on the market since the mid-1950s. Diazepam has an anxiolytic, soothing and relaxing effect.
Diazepam is mainly known to laymen as Valium®. Other drugs with the active ingredient diazepam include, for example, Faustan®, Valocordin-Diazepam®, Stesolid® or Valiquid®. Diazepam is available in tablet form, as a suppository or as a drop. In acute emergencies, diazepam is also injected as an injection. It is a pharmacy and prescription drug in Germany. Therefore, getting diazepam without prescription is not legal.
Diazepam: effect and application
Diazepam enhances the action of an inhibitory messenger in the brain (gamma-amino-butyric acid, or GABA for short), which reduces the activity of nerve cells in the central nervous system. This diazepam achieved an anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, soothing and sleep-inducing effect, which occurs relatively quickly after ingestion. Doctors prescribe diazepam for the treatment of acute anxiety and tension and sleep.
In psychiatry diazepam is mainly prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. But it is also used in the treatment of increased states of excitement. These conditions may be present in some other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Due to its anticonvulsant effect, diazepam is a valuable drug in neurology for the treatment of epileptic seizures. Because of its soothing and relaxing properties, diazepam is also given prior to surgery or extensive examinations.
Side effects of Diazepam
Overall, diazepam has rather minor side effects and is usually well tolerated. Because of these rather minor side effects, however, it also causes an increased dependence potential. Side effects of Diazepam, especially at higher doses, may be marked fatigue and daytime sleepiness, limited attention and lack of concentration. These side effects may decrease your ability to drive.
Older persons and high doses may also cause muscle ataxia and movement disorders (ataxia), which significantly increases the risk of falling. Occasionally, a paradoxical effect may occur in the elderly: instead of a sedative effect, diazepam then leads to increased drive and increased restlessness.
The combination of diazepam and alcohol enhances the side effects mentioned. Therefore, when consuming diazepam it is essential to abstain from consuming alcohol. Diazepam should not be taken during pregnancy.
Instructions for taking diazepam
When taking Diazepam, the following points must be observed:
- Diazepam does not treat the causes but only the symptoms of anxiety. It does not replace the treatment of possible underlying mental health problems.
- Diazepam should not be taken for longer than four to six weeks. An additional intake may only be made in consultation with the attending physician.
- With prolonged ingestion there is a risk of a tolerance development, that is, in order to achieve a constant effect over a longer period, a steadily increasing dosage is needed.
- Diazepam withdrawal may cause mental and physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea, restlessness, increased anxiety, and insomnia.
- In addition, rebound effects may occur at weaning, meaning that the original symptoms are more pronounced than before.
- The effect of other drugs that act on the central nervous system (CNS) (eg neuroleptics, antidepressants) is enhanced by diazepam.