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  • Benzodiazepines, a class of anxiolytic and anticonvulsant medications used to treat anxiety disorders, seizures, and insomnia, are typically taken by mouth. However, other options for ingestion do exist.

    In particular, the benzodiazepine diazepam, sold under the brand name Valium, is also produced as a suppository, either unbranded or under the brand name Diastat.

    Valium Suppository Uses

    Diazepam suppositories are typically used for two purposes:

    To Control Seizures

    If you or a loved one were experiencing a seizure with intense or dangerous muscle spasms, taking a drug by mouth simply would not be practical. 

    Rectal administration of diazepam as a suppository ensures that the drug enters the body quickly, while also accelerating the drug’s absorption to relieve seizure symptoms.

    When used for this purpose, diazepam comes as a gel in a pre-filled syringe with a special plastic tip that fits in the rectum.

    Caretakers should be trained in administering the medication and should be able to recognize the specific signs related to seizures that should (or should not) be treated with this medication, such as status epilepticus.

    To Aid In Women’s Health Therapies

    Vaginal valium suppositories are sometimes provided off-label in liquid or to help women with chronic pelvic pain tolerate vaginal physical therapy (or intimacy) related to high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) better than they would otherwise be able to when other muscle relaxants haven’t been successful. 

    When used for this purpose, diazepam is typically compounded as either a tablet or cream.

    By introducing the drug as an intravaginal suppository, its effects build up more slowly. However, the effects last longer as the drug works to relieve pain related to vaginal spasms for about eight hours, which is often long enough to help women fall asleep better after treatment.

    Diazepam is not FDA approved for the treatment of PFD at this time. The drug’s effectiveness for this purpose as well as the effectiveness of vaginal administration is both disputed, warranting larger placebo-controlled trials.

    Dangers Related To Valium Suppositories

    Benzodiazepines are a common drug of abuse and may be misused by individuals for a number of different reasons.

    In the case of suppositories, it’s most likely that diazepam would be abused for the purpose of self-medication, as patients (or caregivers) might use the medications more frequently, for longer periods of time, or in higher doses than recommended.

    This, unfortunately, can result in serious potential adverse effects, including:


    Information provided with rectal diazepam prescriptions warns about the drug is habit-forming. Habit-forming, in this context, refers to physical dependence, which develops as the body becomes reliant on the drug over time while also being increasingly tolerant to its effects.   

    Withdrawal Syndrome

    After as little as one month of daily use, individuals have the potential to experience protracted, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking diazepam or lower their dosage.

    These symptoms can last for months and often involve rebound symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, agitation, and (most critically) increased risk of suicidal impulses. The person may have more frequent or more severe seizures and muscular contractions (known as kindling).

    As a result, it is highly recommended that individuals who have become dependent on diazepam or any other benzos drugs slowly taper down their dosage over an extended period of time with medical supervision.


    The longer or more frequently diazepam use continues, the more likely individuals are to accidentally or intentionally take other substances that interact with diazepam, resulting in adverse events.

    These substances include alcohol and opioids, both of which are also central nervous system (CNS) depressants. In combination with diazepam, these substances can cause an overdose reaction and slow or stop your breathing.

    Cognitive Impairment

    Benzodiazepines are known to cause certain side effects including drowsiness, increased reaction time, ataxia, motor incoordination, and anterograde amnesia. 

    Accordingly, long-term misuse of diazepam is associated with a persistent cognitive decline as well as an increased risk of car accidents and hip fractures, especially among older adults.

    Valium Use Disorder Treatment

    If you or a loved one struggles with diazepam dependence, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Our Massachusetts-based treatment centers host personalized programs with treatment options specific to benzodiazepine dependence and tapering, helping you mitigate withdrawal symptoms for a safe and long-lasting recovery.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    American Family Physician - Risks Associated with Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Diazepam Rectal
    National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) - Vaginal Diazepam for Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
    The Journal of Sexual Medicine - Vaginal Diazepam for Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: The Pharmacokinetic Profile

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on July 19, 2022
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