HeadMeds gives young people in the United Kingdom general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give you medical advice. Please talk to your Doctor or anyone else who is supporting you about your own situation because everyone is different. Please read more important details about our site.

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Diazepam

Return to Diazepam overview
  1. Use and Action
  2. Warnings and side effects
  3. Sex, drink, weight and everything else
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Taking Olanzapine and Sertraline: Elizabeth's story
After a couple of weeks my sleeping patterns regulated to how they had been before I began the medication

Do not drink alcohol while taking diazepam

  • If you drink alcohol, do not drink alcohol while taking diazepam because having the two together might make you very sleepy.
  • Taking alcohol and diazepam together could also affect your breathing.
  • If you need to drive a car or ride a bike, or use machines at work, taking alcohol and diazepam together could be dangerous to yourself and other people.

Do not drive a car or ride a bike just after you start taking diazepam

  • Taking diazepam may make you feel dizzy, sleepy or forgetful, and you may find it difficult to concentrate.
  • These effects last for a while after taking diazepam – you will feel like this the next day even if you only take one dose of diazepam.
  • It may also cause blurred vision and muscle weakness.
  • This could affect you if you drive a car, ride a bike, or do anything else that needs a lot of focus.
  • If you are not sleeping well, this could also make driving dangerous for yourself and other people.
  • It might be best to stop doing these things for the first few days, until you know how it affects you.
  • It is important to stick to the dose on the prescription, and to check that you can drive safely while taking it.
  • Diazepam is in a group of medicines listed in new laws in the Road Traffic Act 1988.
  • It is an offence to drive while under the influence of this medicine
  • However, you would not be committing an offence if the medicine has been prescribed for you,  you are taking it as advised and it was not affecting your ability to drive safely. See the Department of transport website for more details

Try not to take diazepam for the first time just before your exams

  • You may feel forgetful, very sleepy, and find it difficult to concentrate, when you start taking diazepam.
  • You should talk to your doctor about any future exams if you are starting diazepam.
  • Diazepam can affect your memory and make it more difficult to learn.
  • You might decide together to delay starting it until you have done them. 
  • If they are more than a few weeks away, however, you might find that it is better to start diazepam to improve your sleep.
  • Do not drink caffeine drinks to stay awake for exam revision – they stop the diazepam working.

Diazepam can make it hard to concentrate 

  • Diazepam might make you forgetful, and make it difficult to concentrate.
  • After the first few days you will know how it affects you.

Diazepam is not a banned substance in sport, but it may affect your ability to do sport needing a lot of focus

  • Diazepam is not a banned substance in sport.
  • Diazepam has many side-effects, however, that might make you less able to take part in sports that need a lot of focus.
  • These side-effects include feeling sleepy, blurred eyesight, being forgetful, muscle weakness and finding it difficult to concentrate.
  • The good effects of diazepam may have a good effect on your sporting performance as your symptoms settle, and you sleep better.

Diazepam does not usually affect your weight


Diazepam may make you feel very sleepy, but may also make it hard to get to sleep

  • Diazepam is used to help people who cannot sleep, so you would expect it to make you feel sleepy.
  • Diazepam can, however, make people feel sleepy during the day, or on the next day.
  • If diazepam makes it more difficult for you to get to sleep, or gives you strange nightmares, you should go back to your doctor as soon as possible.

Let your family and friends know you are taking diazepam so they can support you and help you look out for side effects

  • The side-effects of diazepam might put a strain on your friendships and relationships, especially in the first few days of taking it. 
  • It can cause confusion, and can bring on a low mood, or make you feel ‘numb’ to your normal emotions.
  • It can also make you feel irritable, restless, or angry and looking for a fight.
  • These side-effects should get better after a few days.
  • You should then be getting the good effects of diazepam.
  • It might actually be a great idea to choose a good friend to tell about your medicine when you start taking it. (Or - even better - to take one with you to the doctor before you start taking it!) 
  • They could look at the medicine leaflet, or at this website. 
  • They could help you to understand whether the medicine changes your behaviour, or gives you side-effects (sometimes it is hard for us to see it ourselves).

Diazepam can have side-effects that might affect your sex life

The good effects of diazepam may have a good effect on your sex life as your symptoms settle, you sleep better, and you can concentrate on your relationships.

There are some side-effects that could include:

  • Losing interest in sex
  • Feeling ‘numb’ to your normal emotions

These effects should pass after the first couple of weeks. If they do not, and this is a problem for you, go back to the doctor and see what else you could try.

We do not know whether diazepam affects fertility.

  • There is no evidence that diazepam affects the fertility of men or women.
  • If you want to get pregnant, however, you should not take diazepam (please see more information below).

Do not take diazepam if you are pregnant, as it can affect the developing baby, and can cause side-effects in newborn babies

Diazepam is passed in breast milk, so bottle feeding may be better

  • Women who are pregnant should not take diazepam
  • It can affect the developing baby, and cause symptoms in a newborn baby
  • Sometimes, however, the doctor may decide with you that you should still take diazepam
  • If you are taking diazepam in the last 3 months of pregnancy, you should tell your midwife and doctor so that they can look out for symptoms in your newborn baby.
  • Your baby may be less active than other babies, have a low body temperature, be floppy, or have breathing or feeding difficulties for a while.
  • Your baby’s response to the cold might be affected for a while. 
  • Your baby may develop withdrawal symptoms after birth.
  • Diazepam is passed to the baby in breast milk.
  • It can make the baby sleepy and unable to feed.
  • If you have to take diazepam, talk to your midwife or doctor about your feeding options.

If you start or stop smoking while you are taking diazepam, you may have to change your dose

  • Cigarette smoke affects the amount of diazepam in your body.
  • If you smoke, you will probably need a higher dose of diazepam than someone who does not smoke.
  • Tell your doctor if you smoke, so that you get the right dose for you.
  • If you stop smoking, the body’s diazepam level rises and you might need to reduce your dose of diazepam slowly over one week
  • If you (re)start smoking, you will probably need to increase it again
  • Go to your doctor for advice if you stop or start smoking.

Do not drink caffeine drinks while you are taking diazepam

  • Caffeine has the opposite effect of diazepam in your body, and stops it working.
  • Do not drink caffeine drinks (like coffee, cola or energy drinks) while you are taking diazepam.
  • Caffeine can cause anxiety and sleep loss – stopping these drinks might help to improve your symptoms.