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Medically Reviewed

How Long Does Valium (Diazepam) Stay in Your System?

- 9 sections

Medically Reviewed: January 10, 2023

Medical Reviewer

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Valium is the name brand for a benzodiazepine medication called diazepam. It is only available via prescription and is often used for treating anxiety, seizures, or sedation during medical procedures.[1] Diazepam is highly habit-forming and known to cause addiction if abused for an extended period.

If you are dependent on Valium and suddenly stop taking the drug, you could develop severe symptoms of withdrawal like seizures or even coma. While the effects of this substance can last over 24 hours, it may remain in your system for much longer than that. Knowing how long Valium stays in your system can help you understand what to expect if you are planning on quitting or taking a drug test.

How Long Do the Effects of Valium Last?

Most people experience the effects of Valium within an hour of taking it, however, some individuals notice symptoms as early as 15 to 30 minutes later. How long it takes Valium to affect you and how long those effects last can depend on a variety of factors, including your kidney and liver function or how much you have eaten recently.

Valium can cause the following effects:[2]

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Relaxation of tense muscles
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Changes in heart rate or rhythm
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed reaction time and reflexes
  • Confusion and memory loss

Typically, the effects of diazepam last up to 24 hours or more. People who take high doses of the drug or who take it frequently may experience effects longer than 24 hours. As mentioned, several factors can play a role in how long the effects of this substance last.

Valium Half Life

When you take Valium in its pill form it is broken down in your stomach and passed into your bloodstream. If you use the drug intravenously, the drug skips your stomach and is released straight into your bloodstream. Once Valium is in your bloodstream, the substance is circulated throughout your body until the liver metabolizes it and your kidney excretes it through your urine.

This process is measured by something referred to as a half-life. The half-life of a substance refers to how long it takes for half of one dose to be metabolized and eliminated from your body. It takes 4-5 half-lives for substances to be completely eliminated from your body. Valium has a long half-life of 20 to 50 hours, which means it could take between 2 to 10 days for your body to eliminate traces of Valium in your system.[2]

Factors that Impact How Long Valium Stays in Your System

Many factors impact how long Valium stays in your system. While liver function, body fat percentage, age, and the dosage you take are the most influential factors, there are other things to consider, including:[3]

  • The amount of Valium you use
  • How frequently you use Valium
  • Your water intake
  • Body mass
  • How active you are
  • Drug tolerance
  • Metabolic rate
  • Medical conditions that impact drug elimination
  • Whether you abuse other drugs
  • Gender
  • Weight

If you are going to be taking a drug test, the type of test will determine how long the substance is detectable. For example, blood tests usually have a shorter period of detection than hair tests.

Valium Detection Times by Drug Test Type (Urine, Saliva, Blood, Hair)

Different types of drug tests will be able to detect Valium in your system for varying amounts of time. Urine testing is the most popular form of drug test because it is easy, affordable, and provides quick results. Hair testing provides the longest window of detection, however, these tests are expensive and less common.

Urine

can be detected by a urinalysis drug test for 1 to 7 days. If you do not use Valium frequently or heavily, urine tests might only be able to detect it in your system for a day or two after your last dose. Individuals who use large doses of Valium frequently are looking at a longer detection time of up to 7 days.

Saliva

Saliva drug tests cannot detect Valium use for very long. Typically, these tests can only find Valium in your system 2 to 3 hours after you consume it. Because of this, saliva tests are better used to determine intoxication rather than past use.

Blood

Blood tests are less common because they require specialized equipment to perform and they are invasive. However, blood tests can detect Valium in your system for 21 to 37 hours after your last dose.

Hair

Hair tests can detect any substance in your hair follicles for up to 90 days. This is true for Valium, however, the levels of Valium will be their highest at 1 to 2 months after your last dosage.

Find Help for Valium Abuse and Addiction Today

You should never stop taking Valium abruptly because doing so can lead to severe, potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Instead, it’s best to begin your recovery at a licensed detox center near you.

If you or a loved one suffer from Valium abuse or addiction, help is available. Drug and alcohol detox centers like Charlotte Detox Center can provide you with the tools and support you need to overcome addiction. Call now to get started.

References:

  1. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/013263s094lbl.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3990949/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK379740/

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