Diazepam, known as Valium, is used to treat various anxiety problems. Since the FDA approved Valium in 1963, doctors have been using it to treat many conditions, such as insomnia, seizure disorders, muscular spasms, alcohol withdrawal, and more.
Diazepam induces relaxation and a sense of calmness by influencing some distinct brain chemicals. It primarily affects the GABA receptors and lessens your brain's sensitivity to external stimulation.
This article delves into how Valium functions and how long it takes to start working. In addition, we also talk about how long Valium stays in the body.
What is Valium?
Diazepam (Valium) has been one of the most popular medications since the start of the psychopharmacological revolution in the 1950s.
It established the benchmark for pharmacotherapy in terms of potency, the time it takes to take effect, and safety. It was effective in treating a variety of CNS disorders, including Anxiety and epilepsy.
Uses of Valium
- As a helpful adjunct in endoscopic procedures
- For the treatment of acute Anxiety
- In acute alcohol withdrawal, skeletal muscle spasms, cerebral palsy, athetosis, stiff-man
- syndrome, tetanus, status epilepticus, and severe recurrent convulsive seizures.
- As a premedication for patients having cardioversion and surgery
- It is used off-label for various conditions, such as pre-and post-operative sedation, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. It is a controlled substance listed on Schedule IV.
- Depending on the indication and severity, the usual dose for older children and adults is 2 mg to 20 mg IM or IV.
- Elderly or debilitated individuals should receive lower doses (often 2 mg to 5 mg) and gradual dosage increments.
- For pediatric use, administer the medication gradually over three minutes in a dosage that does not exceed 0.25 mg/kg. Repeat the initial dose can after a break of 15 to 30 minutes.
How Does Valium Work?
Diazepam produces calming effects by acting on the thalamus, hypothalamus, and limbic system. The activity of diazepam is that of a voltage-gated calcium channel blocker in neurons.
Most of its pharmacological effects seem to be mediated via the GABAA chloride channel. GABA reduces activity in several brain areas, including those responsible for emotion, thought, memory, and autonomic functions like breathing.
Valium amplifies the effects of this brain, which helps to lower anxiety, relax the muscles, and promote sleep.
How Long Does it Take for Valium to Kick In?
How long Valium takes to start working depends on the method of administration.
Valium comes in oral, rectal gel, and injectable forms. Valium takes 1 to 5 minutes to start working when given by injection.
The rectal gel is helpful for those experiencing seizures and starts working shortly after administration. It can take 5 to 10 minutes for rectal Valium to begin working.
The effects start 15 to 60 minutes after ingesting oral doses.
Peak plasma levels are attained 30–90 min after oral administration, 30–60 min following intramuscular injection, and 10–45 min following rectal administration. It takes 5 to 14 days to attain steady-state values following chronic dosage.
An oral dose of valium produces sedative effects within 15 minutes. Valium can relieve anxiety symptoms in less than an hour. However, it may take up to two weeks to get all of this medication's benefits.
How Long Does Valium Work For?
With certain exceptions, the effects of valium often last 4-5 hours. The oral dose starts working within 15 minutes due to its rapid onset of action.
Although the physiological effects of valium only last 4-5 hours, its lingering effects can endure for days.
The half-life of valium is about 50 hours, which means it takes roughly 50 hours for half of the first dose to leave your body.
How Long Does Valium Stay In Your System?
Drug tests vary in their ability to identify Valium and its metabolites. Although valium can remain in the bloodstream for a long time, its metabolites can do so for considerably longer.
How long the valium stays in the system depends on the dose, method of administration, frequency of use, and individual and biological factors.
From one to ten days after taking the dose, a saliva drug test can identify Valium use.
Blood tests for valium can reveal positive results for 6 to 2 days after the last intake.
The most popular drug test is a urine test, identifying Valium metabolites for weeks after the last dose. Valium is detectable in urine for one to six weeks.
A hair test for Valium gives positive results for up to 90 days.
Valium has been found in breast milk up to six days after consumption due to its long half-life.
How Long Does Valium Last?
After taking an oral dose of Valium, users begin to feel its effects within 15 minutes. One hour after eating, it will be at its strongest. After 4 to 6 hours, Valium's effects start to fade.
Valium has a long half-life and remains in your system for a considerably long period. Valium has a half-life of 48 hours. Half of the drug's effect gradually disappears in 20 to 54 hours.
The effects of valium may also vary according to circumstances, including your age, kidney and liver condition, alcohol intake or other drugs, and many more.
What Are The Risks Associated With Taking Valium?
Serious adverse effects can occur if you take too much Valium at once. These include drowsiness, confusion, unsteadiness, shortness of breath, and perhaps even unresponsiveness.
Valium has a high potential for addiction. Over time, it's possible to develop a tolerance to Valium. You might have to use higher doses as a result. Notably, using Valium excessively can have some concerning effects.
For instance, research has shown that long-term use of Valium and other anxiety-relieving medications may cause an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions
Diazepam (Valium) is a fast-acting anxiolytic that has gained popularity because of its wide therapeutic range, low toxicity, and enhanced safety profile. When taken as directed, the medicine is generally safe.
The effects of diazepam on anxiety or insomnia start to take effect a few hours or days after the initial dose. The effects of Diazepam also depend on how long they stay in your system after you take it. It is a long-acting benzodiazepine; therefore, it will linger in the body longer. The half-life of benzodiazepines is around 48 hours.
The length of time diazepam stays in the body can vary significantly depending on many variables, including age, body fat percentage, metabolic rate, dosage, general health, kidney and liver function, and whether or not you use several drugs.
A dependence risk always exists with benzodiazepines. Stopping the medicine abruptly may result in withdrawal symptoms. As a result, never use Diazepam without first checking with a doctor. Seek emergency medical treatment if you overdose on diazepam.
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