The official medical term for Valium is Diazepam, and it's a derivative of benzodiazepines. Valium's primary focus is to help mitigate anxiety symptoms, and the drug comes with hypnotic, sedative, and anti-convulsant properties.
It treats a number of other health conditions outside of anxiety, and its efficacy has made it one of the most well-known prescription drugs in healthcare. Aside from the fact that many people use Valium, it's essential to understand its benefits, use cases, and potential risk factors.
How Valium works
Through binding to the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor in the hypothalamus and limbic system, Valium is able to work its magic. The drug is able to create membrane hyperpolarization by increasing the frequency of opening the chloride channel. What this does is it allows chloride ions to flow into the neuron. It also decreases neuronal excitability.
It sounds complex, but the patients who take Valium aren’t much concerned with this process, as they simply know that it works. Valium is available in multiple forms, such as extended-release capsules, tablets, as well as injection solutions.
Valium is much more than just an anti-anxiety medication, as it comes with numerous use cases. It’s also a great medication for health complications such as seizures, muscle spasms, and even symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
You’ll also find Valium used as a premedication for certain medical or surgical procedures. In specific cases, doctors may prescribe Valium in conjunction with other benzodiazepines, opioids, or antihistamines.
However, it’s vital to understand that patients should only take the prescribed amount, and tapering off the medication may be difficult for some people.
From an overhead perspective, Valium is utilized for symptomatic management of multiple angles. Mild to severe issues with anxiety and other health complications can benefit from a Valium prescription.
Other effective aspects of Valium include:
- Inflammation relief
- Spasticity caused by cerebral palsy paraplegia, and more
- Skeletal muscle spasms
- Acute agitation
The list goes on from here, and Valium is seen as a highly adaptable solution for many common medical issues. Although the drug has proven to be extremely helpful for many people, it does come with age-specific indications for adults regarding its efficacy.
When it comes to children, the drug is mainly looked at as a solution for irritability and general tension. Valium is a drug that has been utilized and studied for decades and is a widely trusted prescription medication.
Dosage and metabolization
The efficacy of Valium isn't argued for the most part, as doctors and patients alike are pretty familiar with the drug. However, dosage and metabolization are a bit less understood by everyday people, which is why it's vital to listen to a doctor's recommendations.
This may vary between each patient, but Valium tends to metabolize in the liver within 24 to 48 hours of ingestion. However, the effects of Valium are felt much quicker, as it only takes about 30 minutes for the onset of action to occur. How you take the drug also plays a part in how fast you feel its effects.
Valium can be taken in a variety of ways, such as pills, rectal gel, nasal spray, and oral solution. The dosages that doctors prescribe aren’t universal, as each patient's needs are unique to their situation. Following the directions of your prescription are crucial, as the incorrect dose can lead to many adverse health problems.
It should also be noted that it isn’t uncommon for doctors to change the dosage for a patient’s prescription over time. This should be done carefully, as tapering off Valim is known to be challenging for individuals who are used to high doses.
Discontinuing the medication in an abrupt manner can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common include irritability, agitation, anxiety, and potentially seizures.
Aside from withdrawal symptoms, like any other drug, Valium comes with its own set of risks that range from mild to much more severe.
What are the risks?
There’s no guarantee that a patient will experience any side effects from taking Valium. Regardless, it’s a good idea to understand the potential risks so they don’t come as a surprise if they do occur. Most of the side effects people encounter, if any at all, are quite minor.
On the other end, there’s always a chance that more severe side effects arise, which are generally caused by a clash with some other aspect of a person’s health.
Common risk factors include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Muscle weakness
Most of these are pretty manageable and may not stick around for too long. Nevertheless, patients should always consult with their doctor if any side effects occur at all. As mentioned earlier, there's a slight possibility that some patients encounter more serious side effects that shouldn't be ignored.
Severe side effects associated with Valium include:
- Slurred speech
- Slowed heartbeat
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Random and uncontrollable bodily movements
If a patient experiences any of these side effects, their doctor may decide to start a schedule to taper off the drug. Patients may want to stop taking the drug immediately, but due to withdrawal symptoms, this simply isn’t a good idea.
Withdrawal and addiction
The potential to encounter withdrawal or addiction symptoms when taking Valium should be taken seriously. Drugs like Valium that act as depressants on the central nervous system, and alcohol should be avoided when taking Valium.
There’s plenty of information on how people commonly abuse or become dependent on benzodiazepines. In many cases, doctors may not prescribe Valium to patients who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
On the other hand, these individuals may simply require much stricter surveillance regarding their prescription and dosage.
If a patient goes through withdrawal, the following symptoms may occur:
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme anxiety
Withdrawal symptoms are bound to be even worse for individuals who are used to excessive doses of Valium for an extended period of time. Many people feel like they can quit Valium whenever they like, which simply isn’t the case.
The only course of action to taper off Valium would be to consult with a healthcare professional that can provide a schedule for discontinuation.
Each patient is different when it comes to managing their Valium prescription, and the various symptoms, risks, and potential health concerns aren't guaranteed by any means. Nevertheless, Valium isn't the right solution for everyone, and it could be worth exploring potential alternatives.
There are many other medications on the market that offer similar results to what Valium is capable of. Whether it’s due to the needs of the patient or if the doctor can’t warrant prescribing Valium, other drugs may be able to fit the bill.
Well-known alternative medications to Valium include Xanax, Klonopin, Zoloft, and Prozac, to name a few. However, they can’t be looked at universally, as each of these drugs is designed for a specific use case.
Nevertheless, if you’re suffering from symptoms that don’t exactly meet the criteria Valium requires, you won’t be left without alternative solutions.
The symptoms that Valium treats are experienced by people all over the world, and Valium isn't the only answer regarding short and long-term treatment. To generate the best results for each patient, it's essential to discuss all the ins and outs with a healthcare professional.
For most people, handling Valium is no issue, as doses can be monitored and changed to fit the needs of each individual's health needs. However, it should always be noted that each person's experience with the drug may vary, with some results being more positive than others.
Valium isn't new to the healthcare market by any means, but it should still be approached with the pros and cons kept in mind.
Valium has offered immense relief for many people all over the world for decades. Doctors don’t simply hand it out to anyone who asks for it, as it’s known to cause dependency with long-term use.
With the right dosage and schedule, patients can gain control over their symptoms while keeping their health intact.