Valium is used for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety.
Valium is also used as an adjunct for the relief of muscle spasms and chronic pain in joints, spasticity caused by upper motor neuron disorders such as cerebral palsy.
The effects of Valium are felt within thirty minutes after oral ingestion and one to five minutes after injection. Valium is eliminated slowly with a half-life of up to 200 hours. For this reason, it is sometimes used for withdrawing off of shorter-acting benzodiazepines such as Xanax.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome—often abbreviated to benzo withdrawal—is the cluster of symptoms which appear when a person who has taken benzodiazepines long term and has developed benzodiazepine dependence, stops taking benzodiazepine drug(s) or during dosage reductions. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is similar to alcohol withdrawal syndrome and barbiturate withdrawal syndrome and can in severe cases provoke life threatening withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. Severe and life threatening symptoms are mostly limited to abrupt or over-rapid dosage reduction from high doses. A protracted withdrawal syndrome may develop in a proportion of individuals with symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia and sensory disturbances. In a small number of people it can be severe and resemble serious psychiatric and medical conditions such as schizophrenia and seizure disorders. A serious side effect of benzodiazepine withdrawal is suicide.
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