Diazepam is a member of the benzodiazepine family of drugs, and is usually used to treat seizures and anxiety disorders. Often given orally, an intravenous (IV) and intramuscular (IM) injection form of this drug is also available. A diazepam injection has specific uses that fall outside of what it is used for orally, but also has certain risks.
Injectable drugs usually have one or two types of tissue they may be injected in to be most effective. The diazepam injection is usually used in a large vein or in deep muscle tissue. Some of the inactive ingredients in this preparation can be harmful to smaller veins and other tissue, which is why IV or IM injection must be performed carefully. Unlike many injectable preparations, where a drug is dissolved in water, diazepam is not water-soluble, and therefore must be placed in solution with chemicals like propylene glycol and alcohol.
Clinical uses for the diazepam injection usually involve acute, sudden-onset conditions that require rapid relief. Seizures may be effectively stopped through the use of diazepam, and it is often used to stop the hallucinations and convulsions that can accompany alcohol detoxification. Rarely, it might be used to treat panic attacks or anxiety, particularly if an individual cannot take an oral form of diazepam for other health reasons.
Drugs administered through injection tend to affect the body faster, and more thoroughly than the same compounds taken orally. In turn, this may sometimes lead to an increased risk of adverse events from the drug's administration. Drowsiness, fatigue, and dizziness tend to increase when a diazepam injection is used instead of oral diazepam, for example. Tolerance and dependence may develop more rapidly while using the injectable form of this drug, and coma or death may occur at lower doses. Unlike oral doses, where adverse effects may be reversed through a variety of ways, there are few ways to counter these effects when a diazepam dose is already entirely in the blood stream.
Interactions with other drugs after using a diazepam injection are similar to interactions with oral diazepam. Due to the drug affecting the body more thoroughly, the chances of adverse interactions may increase. Combining diazepam with any central nervous system depressant, including alcohol, can be dangerous and may cause coma or death. Cimetidine may slow the breakdown of this anti-seizure drug, both intensifying and prolonging its effects. Medications affecting blood pressure and heart rate may also interact with diazepam as well, so caution should be used when combining it with any of these drugs.