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How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System?

How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System? Effects, Dangers, Overdose, Drug Tests, Addiction & Treatment

What Is Valium?

Valium is most often prescribed to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also used to ease uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Valium works by diminishing hyperactive brain function to relieve severe stress and anxiety. It is ingested orally in pill form and usually taken 1-4 times per day when prescribed by a doctor. Valium is a long-acting Benzodiazepine.

This means it stays in the body much longer than shorter-acting Benzos like Halcion. Because of Valium’s long-lasting nature, people can take fewer doses per day than they would with shorter-acting Benzos. Valium for anxiety is meant to be taken regularly to be effective. But when someone starts taking Valium more than prescribed, or without a prescription, they increase their risk of becoming addicted.

Valium Half-Life

how long does a valium stay in your system
Valium is most often prescribed to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. It is also used to ease uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Valium is the brand-name version of diazepam, a prescription benzodiazepine drug commonly used to treat anxiety and seizures. Valium stays in the body longer than many other benzos, which is one reason why it is so effective for seizure treatment. However, its long-lasting nature also makes it extremely risky to use substances like alcohol or opioids. How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System? Understanding Valium’s duration of effects, its half-life, and how it’s broken down in the body can help you avoid life-threatening risks like an overdose.

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How Long Does Valium Last?

The effects of Valium can last as long as 12 hours after a single dose. However, Valium stays in the system much longer than a person feels the effects. This is the reason why drugs like Valium are involved in so many overdose deaths in the United States.

A study in North Carolina showed that the risk of death from opioid overdose is 10 times higher when a person is also taking a benzodiazepine like Valium. Valium and other opioids are known to slow down the central nervous system; when combined, their effects are much greater than when taken alone.

Compared to other benzodiazepines, Valium is fairly long-lasting. For example, the effects of Xanax, another benzodiazepine, are felt for only six hours.

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

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.

How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System?

A drug’s half-life is a measurement of how long it takes the body to remove half of the drug from its system. A drug stays in the system for approximately five half-lives before it is eliminated from the body. The half-life of Valium is approximately 48 hours, regardless of its dosage. This means the drug will be present in the body for approximately 10 days. However, its metabolites can remain for much longer.

The body breaks down diazepam into a metabolite called desmethyldiazepam, which has a long half-life of up to 100 hours. This means that after you take a dose of diazepam, the drug, and its metabolites can take up to 35 days to clear your body.

How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System? Valium—or rather, metabolites associated with the medication—can be detected in the body in different ways.

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Urine Test For Valium

Valium can be detected in urine for one to six weeks after being taken.

Blood Test For Valium

Valium is detectable in blood for six to 48 hours. Blood tests tend to be used less frequently than other test methods due to the shorter detection window and the more invasive nature of the test. However, a blood test may be used in some forensic settings or to confirm an unexpected positive urine test result.

Saliva Drug Test Valium

A saliva test can detect Valium for one to 10 days after it’s taken. Research suggests that saliva testing can be a viable alternative to urine testing for the detection of Valium and other benzodiazepines.

While saliva tests have a fairly long detection window, this type of testing can present some challenges. Valium side effects can include dry mouth or hypersalivation, which can affect the ability to collect an adequate sample or may dilute the amount of detectable substance in the oral fluid.

Hair Test For Valium

Like many other drugs, Valium can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days. The long detection window of this testing method means that it can be used to look for past drug use. If you have been prescribed Valium to treat anxiety or another condition, be sure to inform the testing lab, even if you are no longer taking your medication.

False Positive Testing

Some medications may cross-react with drug screens. There are reports of the antidepressant medication Zoloft (sertraline) and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Daypro (oxaprozin) causing false-positive urine screens for benzodiazepines like Valium.

Always disclose any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking to the lab so clinicians can accurately interpret your drug screen results.

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Factors that Affect How Long Valium Stays in the System

How Long Does a Valium Stay in Your System? A variety of different factors can influence how long Valium remains in a person’s system, including body fat, age, dosage amounts, other medications, and substance use.

Body Fat

Valium is a highly lipophilic drug, meaning it prefers to settle into fat tissue and does not absorb well into environments with a lot of water. Therefore, Valium typically stays in the system longer if a person has a higher percentage of body fat.

Drug Interactions

Diazepam is mainly metabolized in the liver by different metabolic enzymes. If you are taking drugs that interfere with these enzymes, it may take more or less time for diazepam to be metabolized.

Drugs that commonly interact with Valium may include:

how long does a valium stay in your system
A variety of different factors can influence how long Valium remains in a person’s system, including body fat, age, dosage amounts, other medications, and substance use.
  • Opioids: This class of medications includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and heroin. Taking opioids and Valium together is extremely dangerous and can lead to respiratory depression.
  • Alcohol: Mixing alcohol and Valium increases the risk of overdose and death.
  • Antacids: These types of drugs increase the amount of time it takes Valium to start working.
  • Drugs that interact with cytochrome 3A4: Examples include ketoconazole, fluvoxamine, and fluoxetine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a full list of interactive medications.
  • Phenytoin: This is an anti-seizure medication that can reach toxic levels if taken with Valium.

Dosage and Frequency

In general, a drug’s half-life is the same no matter what dosage is taken. Because diazepam has a 48-hour half-life, and it takes five half-lives for the body to eliminate a drug, diazepam is usually cleared within 10 days. However, since diazepam can accumulate in fat tissue, taking repeated doses can cause the drug to accumulate and increase its half-life.

These effects would not be evident after taking just one dose. If someone is taking diazepam every day for weeks, however, then the half-life will increase.


Older adults tend to have different types of body tissue than younger adults. In particular, older adults have more fat tissue and less lean muscle tissue. Because of this, diazepam is likely to stick around for longer in people aged 65 or older.

Valium Addiction

Valium is an addictive Benzodiazepine with longer-lasting effects than other drugs in its class. Valium addiction can progress quickly if the drug is used in a way not directed by a doctor. Over time, it is harder for a Valium abuser’s brain to function normally without the drug. Yet some people addicted to Valium may not even realize they have a problem.

Taking Valium for longer than 4-6 weeks, even with a prescription from a doctor, increases the likelihood of becoming addicted. One of the telltale symptoms of a Valium addiction is needing larger doses to feel the drug’s effects. Other signs of Valium addiction include:

  • Strong cravings for the drug
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Continued use despite problems caused by the drug
  • Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • Ignoring obligations

Once a user has a tolerance to Valium’s effects, they could also have withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Valium withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable, which makes it hard for addicted people to quit on their own. The symptoms of withdrawal are intense, and many people addicted to Valium need the drug to feel normal.

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Treatment for Valium Addiction

Intervention And Next Steps

If someone you love is struggling with Valium Addiction, it’s important to talk to them about it. Getting an addicted person into treatment as soon as possible can prevent future problems with their health, career, and family life. Staging an intervention is one way to persuade your loved one to get help. Interventions help addicted people see how they are affecting their family and friends. It can also make it easier to speak to the addicted person with the support of other loved ones.

People high on Valium may be incoherent or confused, so it’s best to stage the intervention at a time when it is less likely for your loved one to be intoxicated. Make sure to rehearse what you’re going to say before the intervention. If you aren’t sure what to say or you think your loved one may become aggressive, consider hiring a professional interventionist.

Withdrawal And Treatment for Valium Addiction

People addicted to Valium should never quit “cold turkey.” Withdrawal from Valium can lead to seizures and coma, which can be fatal. Treatment for a Valium addiction helps users step down their doses over several weeks to minimize uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prevent complications. Some common symptoms of withdrawal from Valium include anxiety, insomnia, and shakiness.

how long does a valium stay in your system
Getting an addicted person into treatment as soon as possible can prevent future problems with their health, career, and family life.

The duration of withdrawal is different for everyone. Those who took larger doses of Valium over an extended period take the longest to reach a sense of “normal” without the drug. Therapy and support groups are also invaluable cornerstones of Valium addiction treatment. Treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Valium addiction help users understand the underlying reasons for their Valium addiction. Support groups and 12-step meetings can provide a constructive environment for people with the same goal.

Reclaim Your Life From Valium Addiction

People suffering from Valium addiction often put their addiction ahead of professional and personal obligations. They are also likely to become unmotivated and lose interest in hobbies they once found pleasurable.  We Level Up rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this condition with a professional and safe detox process. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.

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