Minor and Serious Valium Side Effects Explained

Last Updated: July 6, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Valium is a prescription-only drug, and it contains Diazepam. Thus, we use it to treat anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, and symptoms that occur due to alcohol withdrawal. Also, it may be used in combo with other drugs to treat seizures. So, knowing about the Valium side effects can help one optimize the therapy.
Diazepam belongs to a class of drugs called Benzodiazepines. Valium increases the power of an inhibitory brain chemical called Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Therefore, using this drug calms down the jittery nerves and causes sedation.

What are the Common Valium Side Effects?

Speaking about side effects, they are an integral part of any drug therapy. As such, it can occur as an extended form of the desired results. While there are some strange feelings with using this drug, it cannot be related to any known information about the drug. Maybe, these strange side effects are linked to one’s genetics.
In any case, side effects are always unintended and unpleasant in nature. Luckily, not all of them are harmful. Thus, some effects wear off as the body becomes used to the drug, but also some effects can persist.
For this reason, patients need to talk to a doctor and get a clear view of the side effects. Overall, some of the side effects may be the sign of addiction, dependency or something severe.
The following Valium side effects are not serious in nature and tend to subside over time. However, if they persist or cause significant distress, one needs to talk to a doctor.

  • Agitation
  • Balance problems caused by spinning sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Dysarthria or slurred speech
  • Inability to focus or impaired memory
  • Itchy skin often with rashes
  • Nausea
  • TirednessDangerous

Severe Side Effects of Valium Addiction

Though not common, some side effects of Valium are severe and may be fatal at times. If anyone is using this drug and experience any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately:

  • Decreased respiration
  • Excessive restlessness and aggressive behavior
  • Loss of fear or taking unwanted risks
  • Low moods often accompanied with suicidal or self-harming thoughts
  • Mental confusion
  • An occurrence of convulsions in patients who were previously non-epileptic
  • Reduced or inhibited urine output
  • Seeing or listening to things that do not exist in reality
  • Shaking of body or limbs
  • Unable to control bladder

In addition to the Valium mentioned above side effects, a small number of patients may also experience any of the following symptoms. These are less common yet severe.

  • Severe mood swings
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Concentration problems
  • Excessive agitation
  • Problems with sleep, too much or too little sleep
  • Severe pain in the stomach
  • Continuous nausea and vomiting
  • Yellowish eyes (the white portion) or skin and pale urine is a sign of some serious liver conditions

Allergic Reactions to Valium

Some patients who are allergic to Valium and any other part of the drug prep may develop severe allergic symptoms. The fact is that allergy is a medical emergency, and one needs to visit a doctor right away if develops any of the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest tightness
  • Swollen face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Welts

Side Effects of Long-Term Valium Use

Blue PillsIn general, Valium is given for less than four months in a row. It’s because the data regarding the usefulness of its long-term usage is inconclusive. Nonetheless, a doctor may prescribe it for a longer time after seeing the condition and response to the drug.
The most unusual side effect of long-term Valium use is Tolerance, which is followed by addiction.
Therefore, drug Tolerance develops when the body needs a larger dose of the drug to produce optimal pharmacological effects.
As a result, Tolerance in most cases is admittedly an early sign of future drug dependence. So, for a drug like Valium which has a high level of abuse potential, slowly reducing the dose rather than “cold turkey” can lessen the risk of tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and ultimately the addiction.
Here are some symptoms that arise with Long Term use of Valium:

  • Loss of memory or inability to store new memories
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Labored breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Coma
  • Heart attack

How to Reduce the Severity and Incidence of Valium Side effects?

Unfortunately, there is no way one can be fully protected from the unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects of this drug. Though, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t take it. A doctor should above all only prescribe it after assessing the overall health status, specific health issues, and comparing them against the potential benefits. If a drug is given, it means the potential benefits are good and outweigh the side effects.
However, taking care of minor things and following a doctor’s directions is key. Thus, this only makes sure one will encounter fewer side effects but may also help to optimize the benefits.
Here are some helpful tips:

  • Talk to a doctor if thew is a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Normally, patients with a history of such abuse are more likely to become the victim of Valium addiction.
  • Not all the side effects of Valium are harmful but if any of these persist one needs to see a doctor immediately.
  • To reduce the risk of tolerance or addiction, take it only as recommended. But remember doing so will not guarantee a patient won’t develop an addiction.

Addiction is a chronic disorder and requires a group effort from family, friends and healthcare professionals. A mix of medications and a healthy support system often works wonders to help one live a drug-free life. Addiction and withdrawal are very closely related. Withdrawal symptoms indicate an addiction to a particular drug.
Addiction centers have a skilled team dedicated to giving patients all kinds of services, and they help get back to normal life. The team consists of well trained and qualified physicians, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists and auxiliary health care professionals. They all work together to design addiction treatment plans that are unique to the personal needs.
Experts in addiction can provide the right guidance and can help to deal with addiction or withdrawal. Want To learn more about Valium side effects? Talk to the experts nearby. Click here for more.

Page Sources

  1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VALIUM: brand of diazepam TABLETS. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/013263s094lbl.pdf.
  2. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES. VALIUM: INFORMED CONSENT FOR MEDICATION. 2017. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/forms1/f2/f24277v-valium.pdf.

Published on: March 15th, 2017

Updated on: July 6th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


Leave a comment