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I was prescribed Valium 5mg only two days ago. Over the two…

Hello. I was prescribed Valium 5mg...
Hello.
I was prescribed Valium 5mg only two days ago. Over the two days I have taken a tablet morning, noon and evening. I've taken a total of 6 tablets.
Is it safe for me to stop taking it immediately?
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
9/19/2017
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 949
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
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Hi, thank you for writing. Yes, you can stop taking this medication as you have not taken enough to worry about withdrawals. Usually, you should plan to taper off a medication like Valium after ongoing use over the course of at least 4 weeks or more.

Hope this helps!

Leah

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
How long does it remain in the system?And does the benefit of vallium increase in a cumulative way as a person takes more and more? Or is it simply for immediate effect only?

Valium has a long half life so it stays in your body for an average of 1 to 2 days if taken sporadically or at lower doses. There is a cumulative effect meaning the amount of the medication does build in your system with ongoing use because it takes a little while to wash out. But generally, the benefit of Valium is achieved as the drug is metabolized (it takes a bit to kick in) so if your dosing is spread out, the effect is not felt as cumulative.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If I was to remain on it taking it as I've outlined, what is the best tapering process if I come off it in 4 weeks or so?Hypothetically if I only took it for 2 weeks while I began an anti anxiety medication could I definitely then stop it immediately? Or would I need to taper a little?

I personally can't speak to a good tapering schedule as I feel that is a better question for your doctor as techniques can vary. Usually doses are cut back every few days to every week where the percentage of the medication is reduced gradually over a month or more.

Ideally, if you just started on an SSRI for anxiety, you may not need to be on the Valium quite so consistently as you are now. The anti-anxiety meds like the SSRIs can help within 2-3 weeks and as tat starts to take effect, you may find less and less need to take the Valium on schedule so there is a natural taper process. I always try to help my patients be thoughtful about the true need before every dose of a benzo they take so as to avoid problems down the road.

If you only took it daily for 2 weeks, there should not be problem with withdrawal and shouldn't be a need to taper. However, to minimize any effects, you could always do a short taper just to be sure you feel your best coming off.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I have found that taking it this often isn't needed and that's what's prompting me to think about this.Is usually once a day ok for someone commencing SSRIs?And what is the latest in the day that I should take a vallium?
If I take it not long before bed will that eventually mess up my natural sleep when I come off the vallium?

Personally, if the reason behind the Valium script is more general anxiety, I think you may want to try behavioral interventions for management of this anxiety as opposed to taking the med as the default. But yes, you can take the Valium up to three times a day right now or less if you don't really need it. Like I said, i always encourage patients to assess if they really need to take a pill or they can ride out the anxiety. And using behavioral interventions is far safer then dependence on the med any way and a good tool for general stress management. Check out my blog here on some of the strategies... http://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/3-easy-exercises-for-anxiety-relief-you-can-use-anywhere

If the Valium was prescribed to help your body adjust to potential side effects of starting the SSRI, you may want to slow down taking it to see how much you really need it as you start the SSRI. Peaks of anxiety are a common early side effect that will go away when starting an SSRI and sometimes benzos are prescribed to help with the acute anxiety caused by starting the new med. You may not feel any side effects from starting the SSRI however, and i that case, you may not need the Valium at all.

As far as sleep, the short term use of Valium shouldn't have marked effects on sleep. However, sometimes benzos do interfere with sleep if they start to wear off in the middle of the night as anxiety rebound can wake one up and make it hard to get back to sleep. You can experiment a little with this to see what timing seems most effective for you given the fact that for some. Valium can make them drowsy but for others, it can cause problems sleeping. This is common with these drugs - everyone reacts slightly differently to them and it can take some trial and error to adjust/.

Given your astute concern, it seems like perhaps it might be in your favor to try not to fuddle with the Valium unless you really need it meaning you are acutely anxious (as opposed to generally or chronically anxious). Soon, the SSRI should be helping to keep anxiety more controlled so interference with the Valium may not be ultra necessary at this time unless your anxiety is really causing you significant distress/disturbance.

LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 949
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
Verified
LeahMSWuofm and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you so much ��

You are welcome. I hope you feel your best very soon! thanks for the rating :)

-Leah

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