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Read time: 24 mins
Last updated: 06 May 2020
Published: 01 Apr 2021

4.1 Therapeutic indications

Diazepam has potent anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and central muscle-relaxing properties; these effects are probably mediated through special areas in the CNS. It also has uses in pre-operative medication and is used in the treatment of skeletal-muscle spasm, and the associated pain.

The main uses are:


1) The short-term relief (2 to 4 weeks) only of anxiety which is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to unacceptable distress, occurring alone or in association with insomnia or short-term psychosomatic, organic or psychotic illness.

The use of benzodiazepines to treat short-term anxiety is considered to be inappropriate.

2) The management of cerebral palsy spasticity in selected cases.

3) Muscle spasm; as an adjunct to the control of muscle spasm in tetanus.

4) As an adjunct to the management of certain types of epilepsy (e.g. myoclonus).

5) Symptomatic treatment of acute alcohol withdrawal.

6) As oral premedication.

Paediatric population:

1) Night terrors and somnambulism.

2) As an adjunct to the control of muscle spasms as in tetanus.

3) The management of spasticity in cerebral palsy in selected cases.

4) Oral premedication.

Diazepam should be used to treat insomnia only when it is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to extreme stress.

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