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Diastat (dye-ah-stat) is the brand name used in the United States and Canada for the seizure medicine with the generic name diazepam in the form of a gel that is inserted into the patient's rectum to stop a cluster of repeated seizures. Similar products are available in the UK and elsewhere.

Diastat

Diastat (DYE-ah-stat) is the brand name used in the United States and Canada for the seizure medicine with the generic name diazepam (dye-az-eh-pam). It is available in a gel form that is inserted into the patient’s rectum to stop a cluster of repeated seizures. Similar products are available in the UK and other countries. It was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 as the first at-home alternative to treat clusters of seizures.

Liquid Injection
Diastat Rectal Delivery System

"Quick-Dose" rectal delivery system (resembling a syringe with a flexible, molded tip):

  • Pediatric: 2.5 mg, 5 mg
  • "Universal": 10 mg
  • Adult: 15 mg, 20 mg
Diazepam
Tablet
2mg diazepam

2mg diazepam

2mg diazepam

2mg diazepam

2mg diazepam

2mg diazepam

5mg diazepam

5mg diazepam

5mg diazepam

5mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

10mg diazepam

Valium
Tablet
2mg valium

2mg valium

5mg valium

5mg valium

10mg valium

10mg valium

Used to Treat

  • Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
  • Absence Seizures
  • Atonic Seizures
  • Complex Partial Seizures
  • Myoclonic Seizures
  • Simple Partial Seizures
  • Tonic-clonic Seizures

Forms

There are several brands and generic forms of the medicine.

How to take and store Diazepam?

To use the tablet form: chew tablets and swallow or swallow the tablet whole. This can be taken with or without food. Drink a small glass of water or liquid to wash down any leftover medicine.

It’s important that this medicine is taken regularly or it won’t work right. Don’t skip doses even if you feel that you don’t need the drug.

Sometimes when a person takes this medicine long-term or in large amounts, their body may get used to this drug making the drug less effective or helpful. In most patients, lorazepam is usually prescribed for a period of 4-6 months, though at times your doctor may decide to keep you on the medication for a longer period of time. You should never stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor. Stopping the drug suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, nervousness, and seizures. Your doctor will need to decrease your dose gradually.   Keep this medicine in its original container tightly closed and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.

What if I forget?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose unless prescribed by your doctor.

How does Diazepam effect the brain?

See advanced section.

How does the body digest Diazepam?

See advanced section.

How well does the Diazepam work?

See advanced section.

What are the most common side effects of Diazepam?

Common side-effects include poor coordination, behavior changes, unsteadiness, sleepiness, fatigue, drowsiness, blurred or double-vision, and dizziness.

What are the most serious side effects of Diazepam?

Usually the benefits of Diastat far outweigh its mild to moderate side effects, which generally go away within hours, and with no lasting harm. Serious problems are very rare.

People given diazepam intravenously (by injection) occasionally need help with breathing, especially if they have a condition such as asthma or pneumonia or if they have used another medication such as phenobarbital. This kind of problem is extremely rare when Diastat is used. The greatest danger is when more than one dose is given, especially if the first dose was near the upper limit of what the patient can tolerate. Nevertheless, caregivers should be alert for signs of problems with breathing (including a marked decrease in the rate of breathing or a change in the color of the skin) and should summon help if necessary.If the seizure has stopped but no breathing can be seen for more than 8 to 10 seconds, call emergency medical personnel (911, if available).

An important concern when people with epilepsy take benzodiazepines regularly is the risk that seizures will become more frequent or more severe if the medicine is reduced or stopped. Tolerance, the need for higher doses to achieve the same effect, is also a common problem. But since Diastat is not used regularly, issues of withdrawal and tolerance are much less likely to arise than with medications that are used every day.

Extra caution is needed when considering the use of Diastat for seniors or those with liver or kidney disease. These people require longer to clear the medication from the body, so if Diastat is given to them too often, the level can become high and cause unwanted effects like drowsiness, unsteadiness, or breathing problems.

It is not unusual for many people with epilepsy to feel sleepy, dizzy, or uncoordinated for a time after Diastat has been used. They should avoid doing things that could be dangerous, like riding a bicycle.

On July 10, 2008, an advisory panel was convened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review data that the FDA had previously collected from drug studies showing an association between many of the antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and suicidal ideation and behavior, which together are called suicidality. According to the FDA’s Alert, among the patients with epilepsy in these drug studies, 1 out of 1000 people taking the placebo (inactive substance) showed suicidality compared to approximately 3.5 out of 1000 people who took an AED. The FDA advisory panel voted to accept the FDA's data at its meeting on July 10. The FDA has provided the following information for patients, family members, and caregivers at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm100192.htm.

Taking antiepileptic medicines may increase the risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions;

  • Do not make any changes to the medication regimen without first talking with the responsible healthcare professional;
  • Pay close attention to any day-to-day changes in mood, behavior and actions. These changes can happen very quickly so it is important to be mindful of any sudden differences.

Be aware of common warning signs that might be a signal for risk of suicide. Some of these are:

  •  Talking or thinking about wanting to hurt yourself or end your life
  •  Withdrawing from friends and family
  •  Becoming depressed or having your depression get worse
  •  Becoming preoccupied with death and dying
  •  Giving away prized possessions

We again urge patients and families to contact their doctor before stopping an epilepsy medication because this may possibly lead to seizures and worsening of mood.

Impact of Diazepam on bone health

At this time there is no evidence to support this medication causes bone health problems. Please see package insert. 

What else is Diazepam used for?

Severe anxiety and panic attacks.

Who should not take Diazepam?

Diastat should not be given to people who have an eye condition called acute narrow angle glaucoma. People with open angle glaucoma may use it.

Extra caution is needed when considering the use of Diastat for seniors or those with liver or kidney disease. These people require longer to clear the medication from the body, so if Diastat is given to them too often, the level can become high and cause unwanted effects like drowsiness, unsteadiness, or breathing problems.

Can Diazepam be taken with other medicines?

Caution needs to be taken when taking diazepam with alcohol, pain medications and other antianxiety medications.

What are the effects of Diazepam on Children?

See package insert.

If a woman takes Diazepam during pregnancy will it hurt the baby?

Read package insert.

What are the effects of Diazepam on Seniors

Read package insert.

What are the dose ranges for Diazepam?

See advanced section.

Read the package insert of Diazepam

In the United States, companies that manufacture medicines are required to publish certain kinds of information about each product. This document is commonly known as a “package insert” because it is usually included with each package of the medicine.

You can also read these documents (also called "prescribing information") online. The U.S. package insert for Diastat (diazepam) is found at:

Some of the information may differ in other countries.

To learn how to read and understand a package insert, see "How to read a package insert."