Diazepam belongs to a group of drugs known as benzodiazepines which work by having a calming effect on various functions of the brain. Diazepam is used to treat a number of conditions including the following:
- short-term relief of severe anxiety (an emotional state where you may sweat, tremble, feel anxious and have a fast heartbeat); this may occur alone or with difficulty in sleeping or mental health problems
- severe insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- muscle spasms due to cerebral palsy or tetanus
- symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
- with other medicines to treat epilepsy (fits) or for convulsions caused by fever or poisoning
- helping patients relax before surgery or dental procedures.
This medicine can also be used for children to treat night terrors (where they wake up screaming, crying and very upset), sleepwalking, to help them relax before surgery, to control muscle spasms/twitching as in tetanus and controlling tension and irritability in cerebral spasticity.
This medicine should be used for as short a time as possible and should not be used for more than four weeks. If used for too long without a break, there is a risk of becoming dependent or of having problems when stopping it.
When taking this medicine there is a risk of dependence (a need to keep taking the medicine). The risk increases with the dose and length of treatment period. The risk is greater if you have ever had a history of alcohol or drug abuse.