Valium Anxiety Medication Dosage and Risks

Valium is a type of anxiety medication.
Valium is used in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Johanna Parkin / Getty Images

Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and short-term anxiety relief.

How to Take Valium

Valium is available in tablet form.

Dosage Guidelines

Daily doses of Valium for the management of anxiety disorders and symptoms can vary. A typical dose range is from 2 to 20 mg in divided dosages. If you are taking Valium for social anxiety disorder (SAD), your doctor should initially prescribe a low dose for a limited period of time (such as one week) and then follow-up with an evaluation of its effectiveness, side effects, and dosage adjustment.

Who Shouldn’t Take Valium

You should not take Valium if you have a known hypersensitivity to diazepam, myasthenia gravis, severe respiratory insufficiency, severe hepatic insufficiency, sleep apnea syndrome, or acute narrow-angle glaucoma. Use of Valium while pregnant or breastfeeding is not advised. Valium should not be given to infants under 6 months.

Medication Interactions

Valium should be used with caution in combination with several other medications including: phenothiazines, antipsychotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, hypnotics, anticonvulsants, narcotic analgesics, anesthetics, sedative antihistamines, narcotics, barbituates, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and other antidepressants. In addition, the effects of Valium may be intensified if combined with alcohol. It is important that your doctor is aware of all medications that you are currently taking.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of taking Valium are drowsiness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and ataxia.

Associated Risks

In general, there is some risk of physical and psychological dependence when taking Valium. If you stop taking Valium suddenly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Be sure to follow your doctor's directions for discontinuing this medication or changing your dose.

The consequences of overdose are not life threatening unless combined with other drugs or alcohol.

Driving, operating dangerous machinery, and participating in hazardous activities should not be undertaken until you know how you will react to Valium.

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