How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
By The Recovery Village
Medical Reviewer Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD | Editor Erica Weiman
Last Updated: May 16, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Valium can stay in your system for much longer than the drug’s actual effects. It can be found on drug tests for different periods of time depending on what is tested.
Valium is the brand name for the drug diazepam. Although Valium’s effects often last a few hours, the drug can stay in your system for much longer. If you take Valium, you should know how long it takes for Valium to leave your body once you have taken a dose.
What Is Valium?
Valium is a benzodiazepine drug prescribed for a variety of conditions, including seizures and muscle spasms. It is also prescribed off-label to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it carries a risk of abuse, addiction and dependence.
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How Long Does it Take Valium to Kick in?
Valium kicks in within minutes, but the exact time frame depends on the dosage form you’re taking. Intravenous diazepam, which is used in hospital settings, kicks in within one to three minutes. Conversely, oral diazepam, which is sold to consumers, kicks in within 15–60 minutes.
How Long Does Valium Take to Work for Sleep?
Few studies have closely examined how long Valium takes to work specifically for sleep. In part, this is because Valium is used off-label for insomnia. However, when taken orally, Valium’s overall effects begin to kick in within 15 to 60 minutes. For this reason, it should be taken within an hour of sleep unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
How Long Does Valium Take to Work for Anxiety?
Valium’s onset has not been specifically studied in regards to anxiety. That said, the drug is sometimes used for anxiety in hospital settings, for which it is often given in injectable form that has an onset of one to three minutes. However, Valium can also be taken by mouth and has an onset time of 15 to 60 minutes.
How Long Does Valium Last?
Valium is a long-acting drug with effects that last for more than 12 hours. Its long duration of action is due to two main reasons:
- Valium is soluble in fat, and quickly leaves the bloodstream to reside in fat. Once diazepam is out of the blood, it takes longer for the body to break it down and get rid of it.
- Valium’s breakdown products are active and continue to have an effect in the body even as the body is metabolizing the drug to try to get rid of it.
The half-life of a drug refers to how long it takes your body to remove half of the drug from your system. It takes five half-lives for a single dose of a drug to be completely removed from your system.
Valium has an extremely long half-life compared to other benzodiazepines. Valium’s half-life is about between 20 and 50 hours, and its breakdown product can have even longer half-lives:
- Desmethyldiazepam has a half-life between 30 and 200 hours.
- Temazepam has a half-life between five and 20 hours.
- Oxazepam has a half-life between three and 21 hours.
This means that traces of Valium and its breakdown products can linger in your body for days, if not weeks, after a dose. In addition, in certain people, including the elderly and people with liver problems, Valium may have an even longer half-life.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
Although Valium can stick around in your system for days or weeks, that does not always mean that it is detectable in drug tests for that long. It can be found on drug tests for different periods of time depending on what is being tested.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Urine?
Valium can be found in urine tests for between one and seven days after the last dose.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Blood?
Valium is detectable in blood between 21 and 37 hours after the last dose.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Saliva?
Valium stays in your saliva up to two days after the last dose.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Hair?
A 1.5-inch hair sample can detect Valium used within the previous 90 days.
How Long Does Valium Stay in Your Breastmilk?
Valium can stay in your breastmilk for an extended period of time, especially with repeated use. However, experts believe there is no need to delay breastfeeding if only a single Valium dose has been given, although a mother can wait six to eight hours to be completely safe.
Valium Withdrawal and Detox
Valium withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other benzodiazepines. Also like other benzodiazepines, Valium withdrawal symptoms can have different levels of severity. Generally, withdrawal symptoms start between two and seven days after the last Valium dose, continuing for another two to eight weeks.
Common Valium withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Hand tremor
- Nausea or vomiting
Because benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can have unpredictable fluctuations, experts recommend medical supervision during the withdrawal process. If a person has a severe withdrawal complication like a seizure, a trained medical team can quickly help.
Different factors come into play when trying to predict Valium withdrawal severity. This information is important because withdrawal symptoms are more likely to be severe in people who take comparatively high Valium doses. Factors include:
- How long you have taken Valium
- How often you take Valium
- Whether you take any other substances on a regular basis
As a Schedule IV controlled substance, Valium carries a risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. In total, around 2.1% of Americans misuse benzodiazepines like Valium, and 0.2% have a benzodiazepine use disorder. Although the percentages may seem small, thousands of Americans are impacted, with more than 1.6 million people being prescribed Valium in 2019 alone.
While it can be easy to notice some Valium addiction symptoms, others may be subtle and hard to notice. Some common signs of Valium addiction include:
- A focus on obtaining Valium
- Isolating from family and friends
- Valium cravings
- Continuing to take Valium despite it causing problems in your life
- Neglecting personal and professional obligations
- Losing interest in activities you previously enjoyed
Break Free From Addiction
If you are struggling with addiction, don’t wait any longer to get help. Reach out to us today to get your life back.
Valium Addiction Treatment
Recovery from Valium addiction can be challenging, but it is possible with help. At The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper, we focus on helping you overcome your Valium use disorder at every stage of your recovery.
Our Valium addiction treatment programs include:
- Medical detox: Medical detox is the first step in Valium recovery. In detox, we help you safely rid your system of Valium in a calm setting where you have access to round-the-clock medical care.
- Inpatient treatment: In inpatient care, you live on-site in our rehab center so you can focus on your recovery without distractions. This may include group and individual therapy, counseling and peer support meetings.
- Partial care services: This program has similarities to the inpatient programs but has more flexibility and is a bridge to outpatient treatment.
- Outpatient treatment: During outpatient treatment, you begin the transition back to your everyday life while maintaining your focus on recovery by attending treatment sessions at our facility.
- Intensive outpatient programs: These programs are available to offer more support than traditional outpatient programs while still letting you live at home.
- Aftercare: Aftercare helps you maintain Valium recovery over the long term through check-ins, alumni events, and support groups.
- Telehealth: Teletherapy is available via the Nobu mental wellness app. Through this app, you can easily access counseling services from home.
Just 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, our state-of-the-art, 90-bed rehab center is available for you to start your Valium recovery journey. Our amenities include:
- Fully-equipped fitness facility
- Indoor basketball half-court
- Outdoor volleyball court
- Yoga room
- Game room
- Entertainment lounges
- Outdoor bocce ball
- Outdoor shuffleboard
If you or a loved one struggles with Valium, it can be hard to imagine recovery. But don’t give up — help is here. Contact our intake specialists at The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper today to learn how we can help.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.
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