How long does Valium (diazepam) Stay in Your System

What Is Valium?

Valium is a very well-known brand name of Diazepam, which belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drug. Valium is a long-lasting benzodiazepine and stays in the body for a very long time. Valium takes effect in the central nervous system by increasing the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This chemical decreases its function, thus resulting in feeling calm and relaxed.

Similar to other benzodiazepine drugs, Valium also tends to be addictive due to its euphoric effects. The addiction eventually leads to problematic health conditions.

It is prescribed for a range of conditions, including muscle spasms, seizures, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

How long does it take for Valium to work?

Valium and Dosage

Manufacturers report that some people who take Valium have a longer half-life. Roche Products reports that the total half-life of Valium is 48 hours, while the half-life of active ingredients is 100 hours.

The time it takes for Valium to take effect in the body varies according to the method of administration. Valium can be taken by mouth orally as well as administered by injection or rectal gel.

  • For oral administration: Valium, when taken orally, requires 15 to 60 minutes to start showing effects.
  • For administration by injection: it takes Valium 1 to 5 minutes to start showing its effects when taken through an injection.
  • For administration by rectal gel: the rectal gel is used for patients that experience a seizure, and it starts showing its effects almost immediately. 

How Quickly Does Valium Leave the Body?

Valium is a long-lasting benzodiazepine with a long half-life that affects the brain chemistry stays for a considerable amount of time in the body (48 hours). Its metabolites may require an even longer duration.

As the name implies, the half-life of a drug is how long it takes for the concentration of the drug to decrease half in the body. If you take Valium before midnight, the effects begin, but the half-life is the moment when the drug is half as effective as it was at the beginning. On average, Diazepam has a half-life of 4.3 hours, which means that 50% of it is removed from the body in that time. 

When Valium is consumed, our body breaks it down into metabolites. Valium and its metabolites all have a varying half-life. They can also be harder to eliminate from the system due to different hindrances such as age factors, hepatic condition, etc.

The body metabolizes Valium by breaking it down into three metabolites, namely:

  • Oxazepam: possesses a half-life of 4 -15 hours 
  • Temazepam: possesses a half-life of 8 – 22 hours
  • Nordiazepam: possesses a half-life of 40 – 99 hours

When Valium breaks down into these substances, it can be eliminated from the body within 1 to 3 days. However, since nordiazepam possesses a half-life of 40-99 hours, it remains in the body for a more extended period of time.

These metabolites can be more challenging to eliminate from the body. The patient’s age affects this process as a person ages; their liver function deteriorates; therefore, aged adults may have a difficult time eliminating Valium. Liver conditions from hepatitis, alcohol dependence or other conditions will also make the elimination of Valium more difficult. 

What factors determine the half-life of Valium?

Doctors use the term half-life to describe how long the body takes to eliminate half a dose of a drug.

Multiple factors determine the half-life of Valium; some of them are:

  • Liver (Hepatic) functioning and kidney functioning:

Hepatic condition is a prominent point to keep in mind to know how long Valium will be in your system. If you have any liver or kidney impairment due to some injury, disease, or condition like cirrhosis, the elimination process increases five times the normal amount.

  • Metabolism rate:

Although it has not been scientifically proven, It is noticed that your metabolic rate affects how fast or long it takes to eliminate a drug in the body. Therefore, if you have a slow metabolism, stopping the drug will require a more extended time period. If you have a fast metabolism, the eliminating process will be shorter. A person with a low base metabolic rate may take longer to remove Valium from their body than someone with a higher metabolic rate.

  • Age:

Age factor is also responsible for the half-life of Valium. Eliminating the process in a 65+year-old patient will require double the time needed for the elimination process in a teenager or 20+year-old patient.

  • Weight:

Elimination of Valium may take longer in obese individuals. A person’s body mass and fat percentage may fluctuate the time period of the elimination process. If you are considered a large person or have a larger body mass than others, the drug spreads itself in various areas and stays in your body longer. The research noted; nonobese patients took eight days to eliminate Valium from the system, whereas obese patients took 19 days to eliminate Valium from the system.

  • The total dosage of medication consumed:

If greater doses of Valium are consumed, the accumulation of Valium in the body will affect the system and prolong its half-life. If the duration of intaking is greater, then it will take time to excrete Valium efficiently.

  • Consumption of Valium with other drugs:

Valium can have dangerous interactions with other drugs and substances. It may also affect the half-life of the metabolites in the system.

How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?

Although Valium is quick in presenting its effects in the body, it is quite persistent and requires a longer duration of time to leave the body.

How long the effect of Valium lasts depends on the dose, method of administration, frequency of use, individual and biological factors.

Drug screening tests are designed to detect the presence of substances such as Valium. As a long-acting benzodiazepine, Valium can stay in a system of people long enough to trigger effects that last longer than any drug in this class. This means that Early detection tests can detect Valium for a very long time. 

Valium possesses a long half time; it requires at least ten days for total elimination from the system.

Urine test

Valium and its metabolites can be detected in the body with a urine test for up to 1-6 weeks. The most common method of early drug detection is the urine test, but it is more expensive and less reliable than other tests. Urine tests are the most frequently used method to determine whether a person has used Valium in the recent past. Since Valium does not even appear in a drug test, its metabolites (the constituents of Valium broken down in the can) do. 

Blood test

Valium and its metabolites can be detected in the body with a blood test for 6-48 hours. A blood test is considered more effective and could be better for long-term users. It is a less conducted test due to its shorter detection window and invasive nature.

Saliva test

Valium and its metabolites can be detected in the body with a saliva test within 1 to 10 days. The rate at which an average saliva test can detect Valium and its metabolites is approximately 7 to 9 days after the last intake of Valium. It is a very less intrusive test when compared to other tests like blood or urine tests. It has a long detection window. Some side effects of Valium are dry mouth and excessive salivating that affects the ability to collect accurate samples and dilute detectable substances.

Hair follicle test

Valium and its metabolites can be detected in the body for up to 90 days. The hair follicle test is considered to be not so accurate. Valium can be found more easily in hair follicles of people who have abused Valium for a week or more than a person who has used Valium only twice or thrice.

When people undergo a drug test for Valium as part of a pre-employment agreement, potential employers hope to spot drug addiction problems before they are hired. 

It takes time for a substance to appear in urine, hair, blood, or saliva, and since it does not remain in these substances for very long, it is possible to achieve a negative result if a person is suspected of drug abuse. 

Valium (Diazepam) and pregnancy

Professional physicians do not advise the consumption of Valium during pregnancy. It might affect the fetus and cause various health risks or defects. Discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Also, discuss if the usage of Valium is necessary and if any other nonharmful medication can replace it.

Valium (Diazepam) and breastfeeding

Valium holds the tendency to get excreted in breast milk. Exposure to Valium or any other benzodiazepines while breastfeeding may cause harm to the baby, and Valium can get transferred into the baby’s system through breast milk. Maternal dosages won’t cause much harm, but it is recommended to avoid this medication.

Conclusion

Valium (Diazepam) is a long-lasting benzodiazepine that plays its part in the central nervous system by reducing GABA secretion (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain to induce calmness and euphoric feelings in the mind. Valium’s half-life is 48 hours, and it may vary according to its other metabolites and various factors that affect the half-life. 

Valium has addictive qualities, and people tend to misuse it for personal pleasure, which is highly risky, and it poses harmful threats to their health such as chances of an overdose, addiction, future health complications, which could eventually lead to death.  

If people who have been abusing Valium for a long duration and suddenly decide to stop, they experience severe withdrawals symptoms like:

  • Depression 
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations 
  • Vomiting
  • Fever 
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiousness
  • Fast heart rate 

When a person who misuses Valium stops taking the drug, they reduce the amount of medication they take, and their body goes through withdrawal. The duration of withdrawal and severity of symptoms may vary depending on the person taking the drug and how high the dose is. 

For individuals who use Valium without a prescription, it is critical to understand how long Valium remains in your system and what factors affect its release by the body. 

Valium poses a risk of dependence and addiction, which will cause severe withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking them. Therefore, seeking professional medical help is the best solution for a smooth recovery from Valium addiction or withdrawal. Your doctor shall put you in therapy or a detox treatment to start your recovery towards a healthy life.

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