Valium is one of the best-known benzodiazepine medications used in the therapy of anxiety, seizures, and other medical conditions that need CNS sedation. Get to know more about the uses of the drug and its effects.
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Valium – the Two Sides of One Drug
Valium has been used in medical practice since 1963. This medication is known as a potent treatment for anxiety disorders, yet this is not the only medical issue this drug can help. The FDA approval for Valium also allows its use for relieving the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. Besides, this medication is considered effective in adjunct therapy of convulsive disorders and skeletal muscle spasms.
There’s no way you can buy Valium over-the-counter as the active component of this drug, diazepam, is on the list of controlled substances. It got there due to its habit-forming potential. Long-term intake of Valium usually results in tolerance and bears serious risks of dependence. So if you ever think that Valium can help you cope with the anxiety of other diseases, you should make an appointment with a doctor and get a prescription.
What Are the Effects of Valium? How Does It Affect Your Body?
Valium is a benzodiazepine. The medicines of this family affect GABA-A receptors, enhancing their activity, which causes sedative, anxiolytic, and muscle-relaxant effects. This medication is effective not only in anxiety patients but also in people suffering from restless leg syndrome, muscle spasms, seizures, and panic attacks. It’s not rare that Valium is used as a sleeping pill as it can help fall asleep faster and have an overall better sleep.
The effectiveness of the therapy depends on many factors, including your health condition, the intake of other medicines, response to the treatment, dosages applied, and so on. The tactics of treatment with Valium should be chosen individually for every patient. As such, a consultation with a doctor is a must for anyone planning to take Valium.
Why Should I Avoid Taking Valium?
The intake of diazepam may exacerbate the symptoms of some chronic conditions a person may suffer. It’s not unique for this drug but is typical of any medication. People having the so-called contraindications to the intake of Valium are at high risk of severe adverse reactions and should therefore avoid using this drug. Among the contraindications to Valium, there are:
– known hypersensitivity to diazepam or other medicines of the benzos family;
– myasthenia gravis;
– severe liver impairment;
– sleep apnea syndrome;
– narrow-angle glaucoma;
– severe respiratory diseases, including COPD.
Valium is also not safe for unborn babies, which is why pregnant women are not recommended taking this drug. The drug also passes into breast milk, so you have to stop breastfeeding when on Valium or choose some other treatment.
Beware of Dangerous Interactions
The intake of Valium requires special caution in terms of its interaction with other medications. Working as a CNS depressant, Valium can interact with other drugs producing similar effects. Working in synergy, they can cause respiratory depression, coma, and even death. For this reason, you have to keep an eye on every medication you use together with Valium. The most dangerous is its interaction with opioid medications, like codeine, naloxone, oxycodone, methadone, and others. Some cough medicines may also contain opioids, so make sure you inform your doctor about taking Valium any time you get a prescription for another medication.
Valium Dependence. Is It Real?
While every patient gets advice concerning the intake of Valium, not everyone actually follows it. By violating the recommendations of your doctor or pharmacist, you put yourself at a higher risk of building up tolerance and dependence on Valium. Moreover, according to Addiction Center, even if you take the drug as prescribed, the intake of Valium for longer than 4 – 6 weeks enhances the risks for dependence.
How to recognize the first signs of dependence on the drug?
– You’ll feel cravings for another pill.
– Isolation from family and friends is another symptom.
– You continue taking the medication despite the unwanted reactions you experience.
– You violate the prescribed dosing regimen, increasing your daily dose of the drug.
If any of these symptoms are familiar to you, contact your healthcare provider for advice.
Valium is a medication that is important in healthcare. When used appropriately, it is tolerated well and doesn’t cause any significant unwanted reactions. However, this drug is one of those requiring responsible use. Every time you step off the prescribed dosing regimen, you put yourself at risk of side effects and dependence. Use Valium responsibly, and it will definitely help you cope with your disease.