Valium Warnings and Precautions
Before taking Valium, tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking. Other Valium warnings and precautions relate to issues such as the safety of taking Valium during pregnancy, the risk of psychological and physical dependence in some people who take Valium, and being aware of those who shouldn't take the medicine at all (such as those who are allergic to any component used to make Valium).
Valium: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Valium® (diazepam) if you have:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse (see Valium and Alcohol)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Valium Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Valium include:
- Valium is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing Valium. Valium is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Valium Addiction).
- Valium should not replace more appropriate treatment for calming agitated psychotic patients.
- Valium can cause psychological and physical dependence and is often abused. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking higher Valium doses for long periods of time (more than a few weeks). Because Valium can cause dependence, you should not stop taking Valium suddenly without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Valium Withdrawal).
- Valium can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life-threatening. This risk is increased when Valium is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Valium Drug Interactions for more information). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Valium affects you.
- Valium may cause depression or worsen preexisting depression. Prior to treatment with Valium, make sure your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of depression. People with depression should take Valium only if they are also taking an antidepressant.
- Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of Valium and should be started with a low Valium dosage. Valium may increase the risk of falling, which is especially dangerous in elderly people (who often have weak or brittle bones).
- Sometimes, people react to Valium in a way that is the opposite of what is usually expected. That is, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these effects.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, as your body may not handle Valium as well as it should.
- Valium is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Valium and Pregnancy).
- Valium passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Valium and Breastfeeding).