Information on Benzodiazepines….Valium, Serepax, Murelax, Kalma, Xanax, Normison, Temaze, Mogadon


Aim:  The medication is intended to control the physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress or anxiety, and to help you sleep at night if necessary.  It is emphasised that this is a short term measure only, while you are being helped to find other ways of overcoming your current symptoms.


Dosage:  Keep the number of these tablets you take to the minimum dose that effectively controls your symptoms.  If the tablets make you sleepy, weak or unsteady, you are taking too much of the medication in a single dose, or taking the medication too frequently.  If your symptoms lessen, see if you can take a lower dose or delay your dose, unless specifically instructed otherwise.


Addiction:  A small minority of patients are at risk of becoming addicted to this type of medication, particularly those taking high doses for a long time.  The risk is lessened if you follow the advice above about dosage, and gradually stop the tablets altogether as soon as your symptoms have subsided.  Do not stop the tablets suddenly, especially if you have been taking high doses, or taking them for a long time.


Time of taking medication:  This medication takes about half an hour to an hour to take effect, or longer if you have eaten before you take the tablets.  You may be advised to take the tablets at intervals during the day, or at night only.  If taking the medication to help you sleep, taking it up to an hour before bed may be useful, to give the medication enough time to work.


Side effects:  You may experience some or none of the following:

  • Sleepiness:  Do not drive or take part in any activities requiring alertness (such as using machinery) if you are drowsy.  Take a lower dose of the medication next time if you have this problem.  This side effect usually subsides very quickly.
  • Tiredness, weakness, unsteadiness:  reduce the dose slightly.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sleeping too little or too much:  it may be necessary to change the dose, or change the medication to a similar drug with a longer or shorter duration of action.
  • Nightmares:  the medication may have to be changed.


Use of Alcohol:  You can safely have a small amount of alcohol while taking these tablets, but do remember that you will probably become drunk or sleepy much more quickly.


Pregnancy:  If you intend becoming pregnant, you may have to stop this medication.


This information is intended to improve your knowledge of the treatment you are receiving.  Any further points can be discussed at your next consultation with your doctor.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

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