Valium is classified as a benzodiazepine. Like other drugs under this classification, Valium is known for its sedative qualities. What makes it different from other benzodiazepines is that it tends to last longer than the other drugs under this classification. In fact, this can also cause some serious problems down the line, especially for people suffering from Valium addiction.
If you have been taking this medication for some time now, you may be wondering how long does Valium last? What are its side effects? And how different is Valium from other benzodiazepines? If you want to know the answer to these questions, read on as we discuss everything you need to know about Valium.
Learn the Side Effects
What makes this drug so dangerous is that people who are suffering from Valium addiction may not immediately realize that something is wrong. This is because the drug’s more severe side effects include derealization and depersonalization. Couple this with the fact that taking Valium for longer than 4-6 weeks significantly increases the likelihood of addiction and it’ll be easy to see why overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines have been steadily on the rise.
Valium’s propensity for spiraling out of control all stems from how long the drug’s effects last and how easy it is for people abusing the drug to build a tolerance to it. If you or anyone you know is suffering from Valium addiction, it would be best to find an addiction treatment program near you.
Even when used properly, it has some worrisome side effects that you’ll have to watch out for if you are prescribed the medication in question. Here is a list of the side effects that you must take note of:
- Memory Loss
- Double Vision
- Slurred Speech
- Muscle Weakness
At the same time, keep in mind that the length of time that the effects and side effects stay in one’s body wholly depends on how well the person’s body can break down the drug.
What is Valium’s Half-Life
Valium takes effect rather quickly. When taken orally, the effects can be felt as soon as 15 minutes after ingestion. This is especially true if it is injected, as it only takes 1 to 5 minutes for the drug to take effect.
The drug has a half-life of around 48 hours. As you may or may not know, a half-life is the amount of time for half of the time it takes for half of a dose of a drug to be expelled from the body. Now, you may be thinking that Valium only lasts for that set amount of time, but this just isn’t the case.
The metabolites that are produced when the body breaks down the medication stay in the body for much longer than even the drug itself. Take note that Valium’s common metabolites are nordiazepam, temazepam, and oxazepam. These metabolites can cause effects, such as drowsiness and dizziness, to manifest for much longer.
Another issue with the drug in question is that it accumulates when people take multiple doses of it over a stretch of time. This is what can significantly prolong its half-life.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
It’s important to note that Valium can stay in the body even when the effects have subsided. It’s also vital to note that there are several factors that affect how long it stays in the body, such as the following:
- Body Fat Content
- Amount of Valium Taken
- Drugs Taken Alongside Valium
- Liver Health
- Kidney Health
- Method of Ingestion
- Metabolism Rate
Keep in mind that how long the drug stays in the body also differs depending on the different ways it can be detected. It is only detectable in blood tests for around 6 to 48 hours after initial ingestion. The short detection window is why blood tests aren’t really used to test for Valium. On the other hand, the medication is detectable in urine for around one to six weeks after it has been taken, which is why it’s the most common way to test for Valium.
Valium is present in saliva for around one to ten days, which makes it a good alternative for urine tests. However, one problem with this test is that the drug can sometimes cause dry mouth or hypersalivation. Both of these things can affect the results of a test as the amount of saliva or lack thereof can skew the test and make it inaccurate.
What is it Used For?
Despite the information stated above, Valium should not be demonized as it does have useful effects especially for individuals dealing with anxiety, pain, and insomnia. Take note of the following information:
One of Valium’s most common uses is for managing general anxiety disorder and short-term anxiety symptoms. The reason for this is simple: diazepam slows down the brain. This is why people often feel foggy or slow when they take the medication.
One application for Valium that’s been on the rise in recent years is for pain relief. In fact, studies have found that the drug has been used more and more as a treatment for back pain and other chronic pain. This is because more doctors are exploring Valium and other benzodiazepines as a safer and more reliable alternative to opioids.
The medication in question can also be used to treat insomnia. However, it’s important to note that it isn’t a reliable long-term solution for sleeping problems because the body tends to build up a tolerance against the drug after prolonged use.
Valium vs Other Drugs
Valium vs Xanax
If you’re taking Valium for anxiety, it’s important that you explore your options when it comes to medication. Xanax or alprazolam is also commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Like Valium, Xanax takes effect almost immediately and lasts for about one to two hours.
However, unlike Valium, Xanax’s half-life is much shorter at 6-20 hours. This means that its side effects don’t last as long as Valium. This is something that you must consider when it comes to treatment.
But like Valium, Xanax is also addictive. In fact, it’s considered one of the most addictive benzodiazepines out on the market today.
Valium vs Ativan
Ativan or lorazepam is another drug that’s used to treat anxiety. Ativan is sometimes used to treat sleeping disorders and anxiety as well, which is why it can be used for sedation before certain surgeries or procedures. Ativan has an extremely short half-life at 18 hours.
One advantage that Ativan has over Valium is that it has fewer drug interactions. This is because it is metabolized in the liver via glucuronidation. This is significant as Valium tends to have negative drug interactions when used alongside other medication that can alter the drug’s effectiveness and cause side effects to worsen.
With that being said, Ativan has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Small doses of Ativan can cause dependence and addiction even when taken as advised by your doctor.
We hope this article has shed some light on the uses and effects of Valium. It’s important to keep all of these things in mind when using Valium, as the drug can be easily misused. Misuse of the drug can lead to addiction. Overusing the drug can also lead to adverse mental and physical complications, and this is why it’s important that you take Valium exactly as your doctor has prescribed.