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Valium, which is the first brand name for the benzodiazepine drug diazepam, is prescribed to patients for its sedating and calming effect. The medication is used to manage conditions such as:

  • Acute anxiety.
  • Severe muscle spasms.
  • Insomnia.
  • Seizures.
  • Symptoms associated with alcohol or even benzodiazepine withdrawal.
  • Restless leg syndrome.
  • Sedation for performing certain medical procedures.
  • Retrograde amnesia in those undergoing medical procedures so that they don't remember any discomfort or pain. 

Side Effects

It's important for patients who use Valium to be aware of the possible side effects associated with the medication as these will usually occur if the dosage or frequency of the drug is increased for whatever reason.

Common side effects may include agitation, increased excitement, increased sleepiness, and problems concentrating properly. Serious side effects rarely occur but they may include decreased breathing, an increased risk of developing a seizure if the drug is used too frequently to help manage epilepsy, and suicide ideation. 

Long-term issues associated with Valium may include tolerance to the drug which causes the user to take more of it to experience the effect of the medication. This can lead to dependence where trying to stop using Valium may lead to withdrawal symptoms and this can be followed by addiction to the drug.


Tolerance, dependence, and addiction are mentioned because these can lead to an individual on Valium taking more of the medication than what is prescribed by the patient's physician.

Overdose on Valium can be suspected in those who exhibit the following signs and symptoms around four hours after using the medication: drowsiness, decreased blood pressure (hypotension), confusion, dizziness, impaired reflexes, imbalance, and decreased coordination. In severe cases, the user may go into a coma.

If any of these signs and symptoms, or the mentioned side effects, occur in those who use Valium then it is suggested that these individuals present to an emergency room to receive immediate medical attention.

A Valium overdose is not usually fatal but it is considered a medical emergency requiring treatment with an antidote such as flumazenil to reverse the effects of the drug and is used in cases where the user experiences problems such as respiratory depression or severe hypotension. The patient may need to be intubated and receive artificial respiration since the effects of the Valium can last for days.

Lethal Dosage

The lethal dose of Valium in 50 percent of the population is 720mg per kilogram in mice and 1240mg per kilogram in rats. A human being would have to ingest a massive amount of Valium or any other benzodiazepine alone for the drug to cause a fatality in humans. There have been cases where patients ingested between 500 and 2000mg of the drug, 50 to 200 times the maximum prescribed dosage, and they were discharged within 48 hours of being taken to an emergency room without experiencing any major complications.

With that being said, it is important to mention that an overdose of Valium taken together with other products and medications such as alcohol, central nervous system depressants, and narcotics increase the risk of a fatality.  

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