Other name: Valium

What is diazepam used for in MS?

Diazepam has been used in the treatment of spasticity and spasms since the 1960s. Diazepam is also a treatment for severe anxiety.

Who can take diazepam?

The side effects of diazepam, and the potential for dependency, mean that it is usually only used when other spasticity treatments are not proving effective.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should not take diazepam.

How do I take diazepam?

Diazepam is taken by mouth (orally) as tablets. Treatment usually starts with a small dose that can be increased in steps until it is most effective or side effects become a problem.

Diazepam can be used on its own or in combination with other drugs. It can be taken prior to sleep if spasms are particularly troublesome at night.

Stopping treatment suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms. You should talk to your doctor before stopping treatment, and plan a gradual reduction of the dose.

What side effects could I get with diazepam?

Side effects include drowsiness, fatigue, unsteadiness and feeling less alert. Diazepam should not be taken with alcohol. It can also interact with antihistamines, sedatives, tranquillisers, and prescription drugs for pain and sleeping problems.

How does diazepam work?

Diazepam is one of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.  These slow down the transmission of messages between nerve cells.

Diazepam research

Research has compared diazepam with baclofen and tizanidine, the current standard treatments.  It found that all the drugs had a similar effect on the reduction of spasticity.


  • Groves L, et al Tizanidine treatment of spasticity: a meta-analysis of controlled, double-blind, comparative studies with baclofen and diazepam. Advances in Therapy 1998;15(4):241-251. Summary

Last reviewed: 24 March 2016
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