What Are the Different Types of Diazepam Tablets?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Diazepam tablets contain an active ingredient principally known as a muscle relaxant, and they belong to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. They're often used to treat conditions like anxiety or muscle spasms. Many people may know this drug by its trade name, Valium®, since it has been called this in so many popular media sources. In most cases, people receiving the drug today receive generic tablets, which are considered equivalent in quality to any brand names available. There is some variety in the dosage and appearance of this medication.

Cornstarch is a common inactive ingredient in diazepam tablets.
Cornstarch is a common inactive ingredient in diazepam tablets.

Typically, diazepam tablets come in strengths of 2, 5, and 10 milligrams (mg). Some companies make a time-released capsule in a 15 mg dose. In contrast to the capsule’s elliptical shape, most pills containing this benzodiazepine are round. Many of them are also scored, so they are easy to split in half. They will often feature imprints on the tablets identifying their manufacturer and possibly listing the dose amount.

Diazepam tablets generally come in three strengths.
Diazepam tablets generally come in three strengths.

There is less similarity between diazepam tablet colors. Different manufacturers may make diazepam tablets in white, yellow, blue or even brown. Color doesn’t always correspond to a specific strength, so people should not rely on this if they start getting pills from a different manufacturer. Those taking this medication are also advised not to share their prescription with others.

Muscle relaxants can be used to treat muscle strains associated with vigorous exercise.
Muscle relaxants can be used to treat muscle strains associated with vigorous exercise.

In addition to including an active ingredient, the tablets are likely to have several inactive ingredients. Some common ingredients are cornstarch and calcium stearate. Cellulose often adds to the stability of the tablet so that it holds its form. Lactose is another ingredient that is often added to pills.

Diazepam is a prescription primarily given to patients with anxiety disorders.
Diazepam is a prescription primarily given to patients with anxiety disorders.

Depending on the color of the pill, a variety of different dyes could be present, too. Some people are allergic to dyes or other inactive ingredients. Since there are so many manufacturers of this medication, it may be possible to find one or more suppliers who do not include an irritating substance in their version of the drug. A pharmacist or a patient’s doctor may be able to help with the search for finding a generic that omits problem ingredients.

While diazepam tablets are clearly one of the most common forms of this benzodiazepine, there are other methods of delivery that are sometimes more medically appropriate. The drug can be injected into the muscles or it may be used in an intravenous line. There are also oral solutions that are helpful for people who have difficulty swallowing medications.

Because diazepam is a benzodiazepine drug, it has a high potential for addiction.
Because diazepam is a benzodiazepine drug, it has a high potential for addiction.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon317251

I would have thought that if it was supposed to be given rectally, then your prescriber would have prescribed Diazepam suppositories. I would go back to whoever prescribed them.

Dianarefai

How can I prepare diazepam 30 mg to be given rectally from a 5 mg tablet? I have to send the answer to my dean tomorrow morning!

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