award png

Diazepam and Muscle Relaxants 

This guide takes you through the different types of medications that may be prescribed following your consultation with the LBSM physicians.

If you have any further questions or are unsure about the medication you have been prescribed, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Key Summary 

  • Diazepam is a muscle relaxant that can help with muscle spasm and tension 
  • The most common side effect of diazepam is feeling drowsy. 
  • You’re not recommended to use diazepam for longer than 4 weeks. 
  • If you take diazepam and feel sleepy, do not drive, cycle or use tools or machines. 
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking diazepam. It can make you sleep very deeply. You may have breathing problems and difficulty waking up. 
  • It’s possible to get addicted to diazepam, but you’re less likely to get addicted if you take it at the lowest dose that helps your symptoms, for up to 4 weeks. 
  • Diazepam is also known as Valium, but this brand is not available in the UK anymore. 

Quick links

  1. About diazepam
  2. Who can and cannot take it
  3. How and when to take it
  4. Side effects
  5. Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility
  6. Taking diazepam with other medicines and herbal supplements

About Diazepam 

Diazepam belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines and often called Vallium. 

It’s used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms. and in the hospital setting to treat seizures or fits.  

It can also be taken to help you relax before an operation or other medical or dental treatments. This is known as a pre-medication, 

It works by increasing the levels of a calming chemical in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

Diazepam is available on prescription only. 

It comes as tablets, a liquid that you swallow, or in a rectal tube – medicine that’s squeezed into your bottom (anus). It can also be given as an injection in hospital. 

Who can and cannot take diazepam 

Who can take diazepam 

Most adults aged 18 years and over can take diazepam tablets and liquid. People aged over 65 might need to take a lower dose. 

Children aged 1 month and older can take it for muscle spasms. 

Diazepam rectal tubes can be used by adults and children. 

Who may not be able to take diazepam 

Diazepam is not suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor before starting to take diazepam if you: 

  • have ever had an allergic reaction to diazepam or any other medicine 
  • have liver or kidney problems 
  • have myasthenia gravis, a condition that causes muscle weakness 
  • have sleep apnoea, a condition that causes breathing problems when you’re asleep 
  • have depression or thoughts of harming yourself or suicide 
  • have been diagnosed with a personality disorder 
  • have ever had problems with alcohol or drugs 
  • have recently had a loss or bereavement 
  • have arteriosclerosis, a condition that affects the blood flow to your brain 
  • have low levels of a protein called albumin in your blood 
  • are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding are over 65 
  • are going to be put to sleep (have a general anaesthetic) for an operation or other medical treatment 

How and when to take diazepam


Your LBSM doctor will decide the right dose of diazepam for you. It’s important to take diazepam exactly as your doctor tells you to. 

Dosage for tablets and liquid 

The usual dose is: 

  • muscle spasms in adults – 2mg to 15 mg a day. This can be taken as 1mg twice a day and can go up to 5mg taken 3 times a day. The dose can be increased to up to 20mg, taken 3 times a day if needed 
  • muscle spasms in children (aged 1 month to 17 years) – the dose varies depending on age. It’s usually taken twice a day, with 10 to 12 hours between each dose 

Your dose might be lower if you’re over 65 or have kidney or liver problems or severe breathing problems. 

How to take or use it 

How to take tablets and liquid 

Take diazepam tablets or liquid with a drink of water. You can take them with or without food. 

If you’re taking diazepam as a liquid, the medicine will come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose. If you do not have a syringe or spoon, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not measure the right amount. 

How long to take it for 

How long you’ll need to take diazepam for depends on why you’re taking it. It is usually only recommended for a short period of time of up to 4 weeks. 

If you’re prescribed diazepam for more than 4 weeks, your dose may be reduced gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms. 

If you forget to take it 

If you’re taking diazepam regularly and forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case, just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. 

Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one. 

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicine. 

If you take too much 

If you take more than your prescribed dose of diazepam you may get symptoms including: 

  • poor coordination or trouble speaking 
  • feeling sleepy 
  • a slow or irregular heartbeat 
  • uncontrolled eye movements 
  • muscle weakness 
  • feeling overexcited 

The amount of diazepam that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person. 

What happens if I take too much diazepam? 

If you take more than your prescribed dose of diazepam 

Go to or call 111 

If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance. 

Take the diazepam packet, or the leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine with you. 

Side effects of diazepam 

Like all medicines, diazepam can cause side effects in some people, but many people have no side effects or only minor ones. 

Common side effects 

These common side effects of diazepam happen in more than 1 in 100 people. There are things you can do to help cope with them: 

Feeling sleepy or drowsy 


Problems with your co-ordination or controlling your movements 

Shaky hands (tremors)

Serious side effects 

It happens rarely, but some people have serious side effects when taking diazepam. 

Talk to a doctor or contact 111 straight away if: 

  • your skin turns yellow, or the whites of your eyes turn yellow although this may be less obvious on brown or black skin 
  • you see or hear things that are not there (hallucinations) 
  • you think things that are not true (delusions) 
  • you keep falling over 
  • you have unusual mood changes such as talking more than usual or feeling overexcited, agitated, restless, irritable or aggressive – these side effects are more likely in children or if you’re over 65 

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility while taking diazepam 

Diazepam and pregnancy 

You can take diazepam during pregnancy, but taking it for a long time, particularly towards the end of pregnancy, may make your baby drowsy after they’re born. 

You may need to keep taking diazepam during pregnancy as it’s important for you to remain well. 

If you become pregnant while taking diazepam, speak to your doctor. They can explain the risks and the benefits of taking diazepam, and will help you choose the best treatment for you and your baby. 

Diazepam and breastfeeding 

If your doctor or health visitor says your baby is healthy, you can take diazepam while breastfeeding as long as you’re only taking a low dose occasionally or for a very short time. 

Diazepam passes into breast milk, usually in small amounts. If you take it for a long time or in high doses, it can build up in your milk. This can make your baby sleepy and can make it difficult for them to feed. It is important not to share a bed with your baby until you have finished taking diazepam. 

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, as other medicines might be better while breastfeeding, although this will depend on what you’re using the diazepam for. 

If you do take diazepam while you’re breastfeeding and you notice that your baby is not feeding as well as usual, seems unusually sleepy, or has unusual breathing, or you have any other concerns about your baby, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, midwife or health visitor as soon as possible. 

Diazepam and fertility 

There’s no clear evidence to suggest that taking diazepam reduces fertility in either men or women. 

If you’re trying to get pregnant, or you’re having problems getting pregnant while on diazepam, speak to your doctor. 

Taking diazepam with other medicines and herbal supplements

Cautions with other medicines 

Some medicines affect the way diazepam works and increase the chances of you having side effects. 

Before you start taking diazepam, tell your doctor if you’re taking any of these medicines: 

  • antipsychotics, used to treat mental health problems 
  • antidepressants, used to treat depression 
  • anticonvulsants, used to treat seizures 
  • hypnotics, used to treat anxiety or sleep problems 
  • drowsy or sedating antihistamines, such as chlorphenamine or promethazine 
  • strong painkillers, such as codeine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, pethidine or tramadol 
  • HIV medicines, such as ritonavir, atazanavir, efavirenz or saquinavir 
  • antifungal medicines, such as fluconazole 
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – medicines for reducing stomach acid, such as omeprazole or esomeprazole 
  • muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or tizanidine 
  • disulfiram, a medicine for alcohol addiction 
  • isoniazid, a medicine for tuberculosis (TB) 
  • rifampicin, a medicine for bacterial infections 
  • theophylline, a medicine for asthma and other breathing problems 

Mixing diazepam with herbal remedies or supplements 

Do not take herbal remedies for anxiety or insomnia, such as valerian or passionflower, with diazepam. They can increase the drowsy effects of diazepam and may also have other side effects. 

There’s not enough information to say that other herbal remedies and complementary medicines are safe to take with diazepam. They’re not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They’re generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines. 

If you get any troublesome side effects, stop taking your medicine and tell your doctor. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about your medication. Look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.  

Wishing you a speedy recovery 

The LBSM team. 

The information in this article has been cited from to align with best clinical practice standards.

Recent posts
Subscribe to the free sports medicine newsletter

The medical world can sometimes be daunting. Our experts discuss the latest medical updates in the sport, health and fitness world, and break it down for you into and an easy to understand, digestible summary. And of course, it’s free.

If you have a particular health care question in mind, please get in touch to let us know and we will do our best to guide you.

The LBSM newsletter, written by our doctors, for our patients.

ISOBAR Referral

ISOBAR Referral Form
  • Patient Details
  • Clinician Details
  • Garments
    • Payment
    Patient Address
    Patient Address
    Postal Code
    Orla Mulligan
    Administration and Social Media Manager
    Administration, LBSM

    Orla Mulligan is the administration and social media manager for LBSM. She has a strong background in sport having herself played netball at an elite standard for the U21s Northern Ireland team in the European Championships as well as the U21s competition for Saracen Mavericks.

    She understands youth sport pathways having herself played and training in the netball Kent regional pathway. She has a keen interest in most sports and a good understanding of how injury and illness can impact on the mind and body, as well as rehabilitation pathways.

    She looks forward to speaking and assisting LBSM patients and gives her best support to them during their treatment pathway.

    A day in the life of Orla involves communicating with patients via phone and email, managing and organising clinics, operations and media management.

    Outside of work, Orla is a gym enthusiast, enjoys tennis and still finds the time for an occasional game of netball.

    Maddie Tait
    BSc, MSc
    Associate, LBSM
    Musculoskeletal and Sports Podiatrist

    Maddie treats and manages complex foot and ankle injuries in London and Surrey.

    She is particularly interested in helping her patients improve their quality of life and achieve their personal goals, working closely with Foot and Ankle Consultants, Sports Medicine Doctors and Physiotherapists.

    Maddie has a sporting background herself having previously represented England in Hockey. She understands the demands of elite sport and the importance of physical and mental health. In her spare time, Maddie continues to enjoy an active lifestyle by running, cycling and attending a Pilates class.

    Having graduated from University of Brighton with a MSc (hons) in Podiatry, Maddie focused her career in Podiatric Sports Injuries and Biomechanics. Previously she completed a BSc (hons) in Sport Science at Loughborough University.

    A day in the life of Maddie involves consulting patients in clinic, performing gait and biomechanical assessments, measuring and fitting orthotics and braces. She also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine and podiatry conferences.

    Outside of work, Maddie still finds time to play hockey and enjoys running and skiing.

    Mr Prakash Saha
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Vascular Surgery

    Mr Prakash Saha is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at LBSM. He takes pride in providing the best possible results for his patients by using the most appropriate non-surgical and surgical methods based on clinical evidence, patient results and satisfaction.

    He treats fit and active people suffering with a range of cardiovascular issues, from painful leg swelling associated with exercise to venous insufficiency, post-thrombotic syndrome and leg ulcers. He also treats people with arterial system problems including poor circulation, compression syndromes and aneurysms. He carries out both endovascular and open aortic repair and has some of the best outcomes in the country.

    Mr Saha studied medicine at the United Medical & Dental Schools at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals before completing his higher surgical training in London and the South East. During this time, he was awarded the prestigious NIHR Clinical Lectureship in Vascular Surgery at St. Thomas’ Hospital, giving him comprehensive training in open and endovascular techniques for treating arterial and venous disease. Prakash completed his aortic surgery training at the St. George’s Vascular Institute before carrying out a specialist fellowship at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

    Mr Saha regularly lectures and runs workshops across the globe on the latest surgical techniques to treat vascular disease. He has also been awarded a number of research grants from the Royal College of Surgeons, the Circulation Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the British Heart Foundation, which has led to over 80 publications and the development of innovative technologies to help treat patients. For this work, Prakash has received a number of prizes, including the Venous Forum prize from the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, an International Young Investigator Award, and an Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

    A day in the life of Mr Saha involves seeing patients in clinic, operating in surgical theatre or lecturing at his university. He also regularly teaches and presents at vascular and sports medicine conferences.

    Mr Saha is an avid cyclist and tennis player (although yet to get a set of Dr Seth!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family who consists of 3 children and enjoys travelling.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Sports and Musculoskeletal Radiology

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is a Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist at LBSM, with an extensive background of working in elite sport. He is one of the most recognised radiologists in the sports medicine field. He provides top level imaging and medical diagnostic services for patients and athletes.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran completed his undergraduate medical training at Imperial College London and his radiology training at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. He has obtained two post-CCT fellowships in musculoskeletal imaging. He was appointed as a consultant at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in 2011.

    He has a passion for all sports having worked as a radiologist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and London World Athletic Championships and continues to support The Championships, Wimbledon. He also continues to work with a number of Premier League and Championship Football Clubs, Premier League Rugby Clubs, England Sevens Rugby, British Athletics and the Lawn Tennis Association.

    A day in the life of Dr Rajeswaran involves giving his expert opinion on investigations such as MRI and CT scans, x-rays and ultrasound. He also performs injection lists under ultrasound, CT and X-ray including spinal injections. He also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine conferences.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is an avid football fan and life-long fan of Tottenham Hotspur (for which he offers no apologies!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family and has a keen passion for photography.

    Dr Ajai Seth
    Medical Director, LBSM
    Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine

    Dr Ajai Seth is a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician. He has dedicated his career to helping people with sport and exercise related injury and illness. He consults and treats everyone from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior.

    Dr Ajai Seth is part of the British Tennis Sports Physician team at the LTA and has also provided cover to elite athletes at Wimbledon Tennis, European Tour Golf, Premier League Football, British Athletics, and the Men’s England Football academies as part of the FA.

    He also prides himself for working in disability sport and is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Team GB Wheelchair Tennis which has taken him to the Olympics and Paralympics.

    Dr Ajai Seth is dedicated to education, training and research and is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Medicine at King’s College London where he lectures in all aspects of Sports Medicine and Science.

    He also has a passion for travel and Expedition Medicine, which has seen him accompany medical, scientific and charity expeditions all around the world. He also has vast experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries from children and adolescents to veteran exercisers, both male and female.

    Dr Seth also has positions in leading Sport Medicine organisations, including the non-executive board for the UK’s largest Sports Medicine charity, BASEM and Past President for the Royal Society of Medicine. 

    A day in the working life of Dr Seth involves consulting his patients in clinic, performing diagnostics and ultrasound guided injections. He also regularly lectures and tutors students and presents at sports medicine conferences internationally. He also spends part of the working week at the National Tennis Centre, LTA, supporting British Tennis players.

    Outside of work, Dr Seth enjoys playing club tennis, triathlon, golf, running and skiing (but will give any sport a go!). He enjoys keeping fit and active and good quality family time with his wife and three children.