Approximately 10 million scripts are written annually in Australia. Apart from a fall in prescribing in the early s, prescribing rates have remained fairly constant, with a slight increase in the last few years. It is estimated that one in 50 Australians are currently taking a benzodiazepine and have been taking the drug for longer than 6 months. Women are prescribed benzodiazepines at twice the rate as for men, and older people over 65 receive most of the benzodiazepine scripts for sleeping problems.
The most common benzodiazepines prescribed in Australia are Temazepam, Diazepam, Alprazolam and Oxazepam. The following is a list of oral benzodiazepines available in Australia. Benzodiazepines are often produced by different drug companies and there may be different trade names for the same drug. If you are concerned about your benzodiazepine use, please call or email Reconnexion to discuss your needs. Click here for more information on counselling and how we can help.
Research projects - Benzodiazepine Study. Research projects - Coping with Anxiety Study. Research projects - Federation University. Research Study- Smart Phone App for social anxiety. Anxiety and Panic Counselling. Benzodiazepines Tranquillisers and Sleeping Pills. Benzodiazepine Guided Support Group. Mindfulness Meditation - If Valium is given with other drugs, attention should be paid to the possible pharmacological interactions. Special care should be taken with barbiturates, narcotics, antidepressants and phenothiazines.
Smoking tobacco can enhance the elimination of diazepam and decrease its action. Other drugs that may interact with diazepam include antipsychotics, MAOIs, ranitidine, and tobacco. Foods that acidify the urine can lead to faster absorption and elimination of Valium, and thus decrease its levels and activity. Foods that alkalinize the urine can lead to slower absorption and elimination of diazepam, increasing drug levels and activity. The safety and efficacy of diazepam has not been established in children under age The standard dosage for children is 1 to 2.
Diazepam should not be administered to children under the age of 6 months. Diazepam has no value in the treatment of psychotic patients and should not be employed in lieu of appropriate treatment. As with most drugs that stimulate the CNS, patients receiving Valium should use caution when engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness such as operating machinery or driving. Individuals should be advised against consuming alcohol and other CNS-depressant drugs while taking Valium, due to the depressant effects the drug already has on the central nervous system CNS.
Therapeutic doses of Valium for 6 weeks or longer can result in physical dependence, with symptoms of withdrawal syndrome occurring when the drug is discontinued. With larger doses, physical dependence will develop more rapidly. After taking diazepam for several weeks, the drug should never be abruptly stopped. The dose should be gradually lowered, over a period of 2 to 4 weeks, in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal are usually minimal, and increase in severity over the first 5 to 9 days after the drug is discontinued.
The more severe side effects normally only occur in people who had been taking excessive amounts of the drug for extended periods of time. Usually only the milder symptoms develop in patients discontinuing the standard therapeutic-level dosages after several months of treatment. Though not usually fatal when taken alone, a Valium overdose is a medical emergency and generally requires immediate attention. The antidote for an overdose of diazepam or any other benzodiazepine is flumazenil.
This drug is only used in occurrences where severe respiratory depression or cardiovascular complications are present. Flumazenil is a short-acting drug and the effects of diazepam may last for days, as such, several doses of flumazenil may be necessary. Artificial respiration and stabilization of cardiovascular functions may also be necessary. Though not normally indicated, activated charcoal can be used for decontamination of the stomach following an overdose.
Emesis vomiting is contraindicated. One case noted a patient that had taken mg of diazepam that resulted in prolonged sleep and consecutive drowsiness for several days without serious impairment of cardiac or respiratory functions. Diazepam is not used recreationally as much as alprazolam or flunitrazepam. The drug is often found as an adulterant in heroin, possibly because diazepam greatly amplifies the effects of opioids. Valium is contraindicated in people with a known hypersensitivity to the drug and in pediatric patients under 6 months old.
It may be used in patients with open angle glaucoma who are receiving appropriate therapy, but is contraindicated in acute narrow angle glaucoma. Diazepam should be avoided, when possible, in people with conditions such as Ataxia, severe hepatic deficiencies e. Special caution should be exercised when administering diazepam to patients less than 18 years of age. The smallest possible effective dose should be used for this group of patients.
Concomitant use of other CNS depressants increases the risk.