Valium comes under a class of drugs called benzodiazepine. People buy Valium as the Benzodiazepines are drugs that boost the GABA activity between the neurons and in turn giving the desired effect of suppressing anxiety disorders. Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine which takes at least 200 hours to be removed from the blood. When on any benzodiazepines, one should not abruptly discontinue from the course defined and prescribed by the doctor. Abrupt discontinuation will cause mild to severe and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. And so, to safely get off or withdraw from it, the best way is to taper the dosage in a slow and steady manner.
Why withdraw from Valium if it helps in suppressing anxiety?
Valium or any benzodiazepines, if used for long period of time (more than 2-4 weeks), will subject a body to many undesirable side effects, like memory and cognitive degradation, depression, dependency etc. Furthermore, if benzodiazepines are used for a long time, it loses its efficacy due to tolerance development and if that happens, withdrawal symptoms will eventually kick in. So it is advisable to consider withdrawing safely from the drug rather than going cold-turkey. In fact, withdrawing safely from the drug after using it for a long period of time, has more desirable anti-anxiety effects than dragging it till the tolerance take over.
How long does it take to withdraw safely from Valium?
It depends on the present dosage of the drug. If it is a 40mg Valium per day, it might take around 30 to 60 weeks. If it is a 20mg Valium per day, then it might take around 20 to 40 weeks. This is in the case of slow withdrawal. Sometimes, according to the patient’s conformability, it may take less time than mentioned. It is all about how fast one can reduce the dosage per week comfortably without any withdrawal agonies.
How to taper the dosage of Valium safely?
Tapering dosage is the act of reducing the initial dosage of the drug gradually and comfortably without hurting the body.
Before initiating the tapering process, it is advisable to talk to the doctor for suggestions. And withdrawing from a benzodiazepine drug could be stressful at times. So it is equally advisable to have adequate psychological support while initiating withdrawal process. Tapering dosage can be achieved by constructing a “slow-withdrawal schedule”.
To explain this schedule here is an example –
A person on an initial dosage of 40mg Valium per day can try reducing the dosage by 2 or 3mg per every 1 -2 weeks until a dose of 20mg per day has been reached. From 20mg Valium per day, the patient can start reducing the dosage by 1mg per every 1-2 weeks. Eventually following such a steady lowering dosage pattern, the patient can completely withdraw from Valium without any withdrawal symptoms.
Keep in mind, that while tapering the dosage, if the patient experiences any slight withdrawal symptoms, he/she should stay on that last dosage for few days before reinitiating the dosage tapering again.
This is how one can get off Valium or any long-acting benzodiazepine drugs safely.