Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about VALPAM. It does not contain all of the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All medicines have benefits and risks. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking VALPAM against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with your medicine. You may need to read it again.
What VALPAM is used for
VALPAM is used to:
- treat anxiety (anxiety or tension associated with the normal stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with medicines.)
- relieve symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal such as acute agitation and tremor
- relax muscles.
VALPAM belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. These medicines are thought to work by acting on brain chemicals.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed VALPAM for another reason.
In general, benzodiazepines such as VALPAM should be taken for short periods only (around 2 to 4 weeks). Continuous long-term use is not recommended unless advised by your doctor.
The use of benzodiazepines may lead to dependence on the medicine. VALPAM is not recommended for use in children less than six months old.
VALPAM is available only with a doctor's prescription.
Before you take it
When you must not take it
Do not take VALPAM if you are allergic to:
- diazepam or any other benzodiazepine
- any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Do not take VALPAM if you have:
- severe and chronic lung disease
- severe liver disease
- sleep apnoea
- myasthenia gravis
- drug or alcohol dependence
- depression, anxiety associated with depression, or any mental illness which is not being treated with another medicine.
Do not take VALPAM if the expiry date (Exp.) printed on the pack has passed.
Do not take it if the packaging shows signs of tampering or the tablets do not look quite right.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any other medicines, foods, dyes or preservatives.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. The safe use of VALPAM has not been established. Like other benzodiazepine medicines, VALPAM may cause unwanted effects in the newborn baby if used during pregnancy. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of taking VALPAM during pregnancy.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or wish to breastfeed. VALPAM is not recommended for use in breastfeeding. VALPAM passes into breast milk and may cause drowsiness and feeding difficulties in the baby. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of taking VALPAM when breastfeeding.
Tell your doctor if you have, or have had, any medical conditions, especially the following:
- liver or kidney disease
- lung or breathing problems
- depression, psychosis or schizophrenia
- epilepsy, fits or convulsions
- low blood pressure
- a history of drug or alcohol dependence
- glaucoma (high pressure in the eye).
Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol. Alcohol may increase the effects of VALPAM.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking VALPAM.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines may be affected by VALPAM, or may affect how well it works. These include:
- other sleeping tablets, sedatives or tranquillisers
- medicines used to treat depression
- medicines used to treat mental illness
- other medicines for anxiety
- medicines used to treat epilepsy, fits or convulsions
- antihistamines, medicines used to treat allergies and colds
- medicines used to treat stomach cramps
- some medicines used to treat Parkinson’s disease
- medicines for travel sickness
- muscle relaxants
- strong pain relievers
- medicines used to treat ulcers and reflux such as cimetidine, cisapride and omeprazole
- disulfiram, a medicine used in alcohol abuse
- ketoconazole, a medicine used to treat fungal infections.
Your doctor can tell you what to do if you are taking any of these medicines.
If you are not sure whether you are taking any of these medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking VALPAM.
How to take it
How much to take
The dose varies from patient to patient. This depends on your age, the condition being treated and whether or not you are taking any other medicines.
Your doctor will tell you how many tablets you need to take each day and when to take them.
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor and pharmacist carefully.
How to take it
Swallow the tablets with a glass of water.
If you forget to take it
If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.
Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your tablets as you would normally.
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose you missed.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
How long to take it for
Take VALPAM only for as long as your doctor recommends. Usually, VALPAM should be taken for short periods only (for example 2 to 4 weeks). Continuous long-term use is not recommended unless advised by your doctor. The use of benzodiazepines such as VALPAM, may lead to dependence on the medicine.
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor, or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26), or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital, if you think you or anyone else may have taken too much VALPAM. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.
If you take too much VALPAM, you may feel drowsy, tired, weak, confused or dizzy or become unconscious.
While you are taking it
Things you must do
Before starting any new medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are taking VALPAM.
Tell all the doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking VALPAM.
If you become pregnant while taking VALPAM, tell your doctor.
If you plan to have surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking VALPAM.
If you need a thyroid function test, tell your doctor that you are taking VALPAM. VALPAM may affect the results of this test.
Visit your doctor regularly so they can check on your progress. You may need to have tests to check your blood and liver. Your doctor will also advise whether you need to continue taking VALPAM.
Things you must not do
Do not take VALPAM for longer than your doctor has prescribed. VALPAM should be taken for short periods only (for example 2 to 4 weeks) unless advised by your doctor.
Do not stop taking VALPAM, or lower the dose, without checking with your doctor. Stopping VALPAM suddenly may cause some unwanted effects.
Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount of VALPAM you are taking before stopping completely.
Do not suddenly stop taking VALPAM if you suffer from epilepsy. Suddenly stopping this medicine may make your epilepsy worse.
Do not use VALPAM to treat any other conditions unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.
Things to be careful of
Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how VALPAM affects you. This medicine may cause drowsiness, dizziness or poor concentration in some people. If any of these occur, do not drive, operate machinery or do anything else that could be dangerous.
Be careful when drinking alcohol while taking VALPAM. Combining VALPAM and alcohol can make you more drowsy or dizzy. Your doctor may suggest you avoid alcohol while being treated with VALPAM.
Be careful if you are elderly, unwell or taking other medicines. Some people may experience side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, confusion or unsteadiness, which may increase the risk of a fall.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking VALPAM. Like all other medicines, VALPAM may have unwanted side effects in some people. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.
You may have an increased chance of getting side effects if you are elderly, unwell or taking other medicines.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
- drowsiness, tiredness
- tremor, weakness, unsteadiness
- loss of memory, poor concentration
- blurred vision
- loss of bladder control, passing little or no urine
- changes in sex drive
- unpleasant dreams
- slurred speech.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital if you notice any of the following:
- anxiety, restlessness, agitation, irritability, aggressiveness
- hallucinations or delusions
- sudden rage or increased excitement
- severe sleep disturbances
- yellowing of the skin and/or eyes
- signs of frequent infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
- chest pain
- severe skin rash
- swelling of the face, lips or tongue which may cause difficulty swallowing or breathing
- wheezing or shortness of breath.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell.
After using it
Keep your medicine where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.
Keep your tablets in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 30°C.
Do not store VALPAM or any other medicine in the bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave your medicine in the car or on window sills. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking VALPAM, or your tablets have passed their expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any that are left over.
What it looks like
VALPAM comes in 2 strengths of tablets:
- VALPAM 2 - round white tablet marked DZ/2 on one side and the Arrow symbol on the other.
Available in blister packs
- VALPAM 5 - round yellow tablet marked DZ/5 on one side and the Arrow symbol on the other.
Available in bottle or blister packs.
Each pack contains 50 tablets.
The active ingredient in VALPAM is diazepam.
- each VALPAM 2 tablet contains 2 mg of diazepam
- each VALPAM 5 tablet contains 5 mg of diazepam.
The tablets also contain:
- maize starch
- magnesium stearate.
VALPAM 5 tablets also contain:
- quinoline yellow CI47005 (104).
The tablets do not contain gluten, sucrose, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.
Aspen Pharma Pty Ltd
34-36 Chandos Street
St Leonards NSW 2065
Australian Registration Numbers:
VALPAM 2mg blister pack - AUST R 80809
VALPAM 5mg blister pack - AUST R 80811
VALPAM 5mg bottle - AUST R 80812
Date of preparation:
Published by MIMS April 2014