Valium® Drug Interactions: Risks and Dangers

Valium® Drug Interactions: Risks and Dangers

Substance Use Disorder Resources and Treatment

Get Help Today
Written by:

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Medical Review by:

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., M.S.

Medically Reviewed On: May 26, 2024

Valium® (diazepam) is a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety and sedative medication. It is safe when used as prescribed, but many dangerous side effects and health risks can arise when mixed with other substances.

Valium® Drug Facts

Valium® is a benzodiazepine, a drug class popular and effective for treating anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Some call them “downers,” especially on the street, due to their tranquilizing effects. The active ingredient in Valium® is diazepam which specifically treats anxiety, muscle spasms from neurological disorders, and seizures.[1]

There are 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg tablets. There is also a 1 mg/1 mL oral solution. The dosage must be adjusted depending on what condition is being treated. Valium® is a Schedule IV drug, meaning it has a low to moderate potential for dependence and addiction. You may be more likely to become dependent and addicted when you misuse the drug.

Is Valium® Safe, and How Does It Work?

Valium® enhances the effects of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the central nervous system (CNS).[2] This causes its “downer” effects by slowing down the CNS, ultimately relaxing the muscles and reducing anxiety symptoms. Swallowing the drug breaks it down slowly in your stomach over several hours. This ensures it doesn’t overwhelm your system, and its effects will last longer.

Valium® is a safe drug for most people when taken as prescribed. It has few side effects, and most of those associated with the sedative are minor. But it can become dangerous when misused or mixed with other substances.

Can you mix Valium® with other drugs?

Mixing Valium® with certain substances can cause serious drug interactions. Consider Valium® and alcohol, both of which slow the central nervous system (CNS) responsible for critical functions like breathing. If taken together, the effects will intensify and can be increasingly dangerous. Always talk to your doctor before you take any medication with this drug.

Side Effects of Valium®

Common side effects include drowsiness, breathing problems, confusion, dizziness, muscle weakness, headache, and nausea. Some people may not develop any side effects. Serious side effects may include respiratory depression, dependence, fainting, heart changes, and withdrawal symptoms.[3]

While side effects are generally not life-threatening, they can be if severe, particularly respiratory depression. Always talk to your prescribing doctor if you have side effects that don’t go away naturally.

Valium® Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms cause cravings, sweating, chills, and worsened anxiety. Some people who experience withdrawal from Valium® may also develop pain and fatigue. It takes a few weeks to get through the complete timeline of withdrawal symptoms. Cravings can be strong enough to influence further misuse. Professional substance abuse treatment is a great way to avoid that path.

Valium® Drug Interactions

Certain drugs may interact with Valium®, causing potentially severe effects. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking Valium® or any other medication. Some interactions can be especially dangerous and may cause severe side effects, including respiratory depression and other critical health issues.

Opioids

You should avoid taking Valium® and hydrocodone together, along with codeine and many other opioids.[4] Opioids treat moderate to severe pain and can interact badly with benzodiazepines like Valium®. Taking both drugs at once may strengthen their effects.

This can lead to extreme CNS depression and decreased alertness. This may cause fainting, respiratory depression, slow heartbeat, and death. These risks become more common when misusing drugs. Taking more than what is prescribed can be fatal. It can also cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and brain damage.

Oxycodone and methadone are common examples of opioids. If you struggle to stop using opioids, you may have an opioid use disorder and require treatment.

Learn More About Opioid Use Disorder

Other Central Nervous System Drugs

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants slow your nervous system response and induce a sense of calm. Mixing Valium® with other benzodiazepines or CNS depressants can cause increased respiratory depression and potentially life-threatening heart and respiratory issues.[5] Other benzos include lorazepam and alprazolam. Barbiturates affect the CNS in the same way. Those who mix these drugs may feel very fatigued and nauseous.

They may pass out, and it may be impossible to wake them. Their breathing may become so depressed that their body can’t receive enough oxygen to survive. This causes damage throughout the body, especially the brain. Death can occur without treatment.

Alcohol

Like Valium®, alcohol also depresses the central nervous system. Mixing Valium® and alcohol can lead to adverse health outcomes and even overdose or death.[6] Alcohol alone can be fatal when taken in high quantities. It causes respiratory depression, slow heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, and fatigue.

Mixing diazepam and alcohol will worsen these symptoms. Some people mix alcohol and Valium® because they have an alcohol use disorder. They may go through alcohol withdrawal if they try to stop. If you think you have a physical alcohol dependence, consider seeking professional treatment.

Learn More About Alcohol Use Disorder

Antacids

Millions of people take antacids like omeprazole, but some can lower diazepam’s peak concentrations, reducing its effectiveness.[7] Antacids do this by reducing the body’s ability to absorb Valium®. This will prevent the medication from effectively treating anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures.

Treatment For Valium® Misuse and Addiction

Misusing Valium® by taking too much or taking it with other substances can have serious consequences. If you have a Valium® addiction or dependence, it might be hard to stop. Detox and treatment can help.

Valium Medical Detox
icon
01

Medical Detox

icon
Valium Medical Detox

Detox is the hardest but most essential part of overcoming drug addiction. Many start using Valium® to treat anxiety disorders or muscle spasms but then become dependent. Dependence can develop even after short-term use. Dependence changes how the receptors in your nervous system work, making it difficult to function without the drug.

Detoxing weans you off the drug until it is out of your system. This requires you to go through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as cravings. Medical professionals monitor detox, so if anything goes wrong, you’ll be safe. After the drug is out of your system, you’ll have a good foundation to continue your recovery journey.

Valium Inpatient Treatment
icon
02

Inpatient Treatment

icon
Valium Inpatient Treatment

An inpatient program is ideal for balancing your daily life with treatment. Inpatient treatment focuses on therapy and support. Therapy is a great way to think differently about your thoughts and behaviors concerning drug abuse. You can also talk with others suffering from the same problem and see how they cope.

Inpatient treatment lets you feel supported as you go through your recovery journey. It also gives you the resources to rise above your addiction. This may reduce the risk of relapsing in the future.

icon
03

Holistic Therapies

icon

Holistic therapies focus on the entire person rather than one part. Instead of focusing only on mental aspects, they also cover emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects. Through holistic therapy and reflection, you will better understand yourself.

Mind-body, spiritual, and somatic therapies are all great options. Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation are also helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions About Valium® Use and Valium® Drug Interactions

01

What is the difference between Valium® and Xanax?

icon

Xanax treats anxiety and panic disorders. Valium® treats various conditions, including anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures.

02

Does Valium® interact with antidepressants?

icon

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are generally safe to take with Valium®. However, the antidepressant fluoxetine can interact with Valium® and cause sedation and confusion.

03

Does Valium® affect blood pressure?

icon

Valium® lowers blood pressure because of how it depresses the CNS. This blood pressure drop can sometimes be fatal due to overdoses or drug interactions.

04

Can I take Valium® with ibuprofen?

icon

Many over-the-counter medications, including ibuprofen, are safe to take with Valium®. However, you should still talk to your doctor before you take Valium® with anything else.

Begin Valium® Misuse Recovery

Suffering from a Valium® addiction can feel hopeless, but you don’t have to be trapped. Getting drug treatment will help you put your drug use disorder behind you so you can get back on your feet.

Sources
icon
[01]

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.-a). Diazepam: Medlineplus drug information. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682047.html on 2023, July 4.

[02]

Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.-b). Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/013263s094lbl.pdf on 2023, July 4.

[03]

Dhaliwal JS, Rosani A, Saadabadi A. Diazepam. [Updated 2022 Sep 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537022/ on 2023, July 4.

[04]

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2023a, June 1). Diazepam (oral route) precautions. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/diazepam-oral-route/precautions/drg-20072333?p=1 on 2023, July 4.

[05]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, February 23). Polysubstance use facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose/polysubstance-use/index.html on 2023, July 4.

[06]

Hirschtritt, M. E., Palzes, V. A., Kline-Simon, A. H., Kroenke, K., Campbell, C. I., & Sterling, S. A. (2019, December 1). Benzodiazepine and unhealthy alcohol use among adult outpatients. The American journal of managed care. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7217068/ on 2023, July 4.

[07]

Greenblatt , D. J., Shader, R. I., Harmatz , J. S., MacLaughlin , D. S., & Allen , M. D. (n.d.). Diazepam absorption: Effect of antacids and food. American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics! Retrieved from https://ascpt.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpt1978245600 on 2023, July 4.

Begin Your Recovery Journey Today