Diazepam belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines.
It’s used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and fits (seizures). It’s also used in hospital to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating or difficulty sleeping.
It can also be taken to help you relax before an operation or other medical or dental treatments. This is known as a “pre-med”.
Diazepam is available on prescription only.
Who can and can’t take diazepam?
Diazepam tablets and liquid can be taken by adults aged 18 years and over.
It can also be taken by children aged 1 month or older for muscle spasms.
Diazepam rectal tubes can be used by adults and children.
It’s not suitable for everyone. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor before starting diazepam if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to diazepam or any other medicine in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have (myasthenia gravis), a condition that causes muscle weakness
- have (sleep apnoea), a condition that causes breathing problems when you’re asleep
- have depression or thoughts of harming yourself or suicide
- have been diagnosed with personality disorder
- have (or have had) problems with alcohol or drugs
- have recently had a loss or bereavement
- have (arteriosclerosis), a condition that affects the blood flow to your brain
- have low levels of a protein called albumin in your blood
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding
- are over 65
- are going to be put to sleep (have a general anaesthetic) for an operation or other medical treatment
Like all medicines, diazepam can cause side effects in some people, but many people have no side effects or only minor ones.
Common side effects
These common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people.
If you get these side effects, keep taking the medicine and speak to your doctor:
- feeling sleepy or drowsy
- problems with your co-ordination or controlling your movements
- shaky hands (tremors)