How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
Valium, also known as diazepam, is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.
It can also be used to calm and sedate people prior to surgery or other invasive medical procedures.
This drug is a very effective medication and considered important to medical establishments in general. However, benzodiazepines can be abused, and they can be addictive, eventually leading to serious health problems if taken for a long enough period of time.
Benzodiazepines (benzos) were developed and promoted as a replacement for highly addictive and dangerous barbiturates – another class of sedative and anti-anxiety drugs. At Valium’s peak in 1978, 2.3 billion tablets were sold in a single year. However, it soon became clear that benzos also have a high addiction potential when people started dying from overdose and even from withdrawal symptoms from drugs like Valium and Xanax. Benzos are central nervous system depressants that slow the respiratory system, so an overdose, or mixing the drug with other depressants like alcohol, can cause an individual to stop breathing, leading to coma, brain damage, and death.
Internationally, Valium is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Convention of Psychotropic Substances. The restrictions placed on this drug make it more difficult to obtain a prescription and restrict the number of prescriptions that doctors can give out. However, recreational use of Valium continues. It’s typically dispensed in pill form, but can be crushed to be snorted or melted into a solution for injection. When injected, Valium’s effects take as little as a minute to appear and last for about an hour.
Valium has a fairly long elimination half-life – the amount of time it takes for half of a substance to leave the system. Depending on a number of factors, this time period can last 30-56 hours.
It therefore takes an average of 10 days for the entirety of the drug to leave the system, and that’s just for the drug itself. The agents created when the liver metabolizes Valium can stick around even longer.
- Body fat content
- Amount of the drug taken
- Other drugs in the system
- Liver and kidney health
- Method of ingestion
- Metabolism rate
On average, a saliva test can detect Valium or its metabolites for 7-9 days after the last dose of the drug was taken. Blood tests are thought to be similarly effective, but are better for those who are long-term users. Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests and can detect Valium metabolites for weeks after the last dose. Hair follicle tests can detect built up Valium for up to 90 days, though this kind of test is less reliable than others.
Suspected Valium addiction should be treated as soon as possible. Long-term use of this drug has been linked to dementia and other brain disorders, and can disrupt REM sleep and lead to depression. However, detox from Valium should never be attempted alone. Especially in cases of long-term use, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Medical professionals can help addicted individuals slowly taper off the drug until it’s safe to stop taking it entirely.
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