What is Valium?
Valium, also known as diazepam, is a prescription drug used for anxiety treatment, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal and as a sedative before surgery or to treat seizures. As a benzodiazepine medication, Valium suppresses excitability in the nervous system. It accomplishes this goal by affecting a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which binds to GABA receptors and regulates excitement.  Worried about “How long does Valium stay in your system?”
Unfortunately, long-term use of Valium for anxiety, even with a prescription from a doctor, can lead to physical dependence on the drug and uncomfortable and potentially fatal Valium withdrawals when someone decides to quit using. This drug can lead to Valium addiction, especially when higher dosages are used. Moreover, mixing Valium and alcohol is dangerous because they can pose severe health risks. Someone with a history of alcoholism may be at risk of addiction to this drug.
Valium comes in 2 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg oral tablets. The drug was first approved for use in the early 60s, it is a central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) depressant. How long does Valium last? Generally, “Valium half life” is nearly 48 hours. This means it takes a healthy adult about two days to process half a dose of Valium to half its concentration. As a result, a person can accumulate the drug in their system. Valium suppresses excitability in the nervous system so that users can get to sleep, stay asleep, or go about their daily activities with less tension and stress. It can also be taken as a muscle relaxant.
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How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System? Infographic
Valium and its metabolites can linger in your system for a long time. Some tests, however, can only detect these compounds after a certain period of time. The average half-life of Valium measures around 43 hours, which indicates that approximately 50% of the drug is cleared from the body after 43 hours.
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How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System?
Valium (diazepam) is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).  The restrictions placed on this drug make it more difficult to obtain a prescription and restrict the number of prescriptions that doctors can give. However, the recreational use of Valium continues. It’s typically dispensed in pill form but can be crushed to be snorted or melted into a solution for injection. When injected, Valium’s effects take as little as a minute to appear and last for about an hour.
“What is the half life of Valium pill?” Valium has a relatively long half-life. Active metabolites may remain in the body for as long as 20-100 hours after use. Many benzodiazepines have a half-life of several hours, up to one day; although this means that withdrawal takes less time, it also means that the onset of withdrawal may begin sooner. “Half life Valium” is often used as part of the tapering process from other benzodiazepines, like Xanax. Find out more about “what is a controlled substance?”
How Long Does it Take to Feel Effects?
How long does Valium affect you? How long the effects of Valium last depend on the dose, administration route, frequency of use, and individual biological factors. When taken orally, more than 90% of Valium is absorbed, and the average time to achieve peak concentrations within the body is 1 to 1.5 hours. How long does Valium work? The therapeutic doses of Valium have immediate effects within 30 minutes, while significant effects can last for 12 to 24 hours. Higher doses or injected Valium can result in effects within just a few minutes that last several days.
How Long Do the Effects of Valium Last?
According to the FDA, >90% of Valium is absorbed after oral administration, and the average time to achieve peak plasma concentrations is 1 – 1.5 hours, ranging from 0.25 to 2.5 hours. Absorption is delayed and decreased when administered with a moderate-fat meal. In the presence of food, mean lag times are approximately 45 minutes compared to 15 minutes when fasting. There is also an increase in the average time to achieve peak concentrations to about 2.5 hours in the presence of food compared to 1.25 hours when fasting. 
“Valium half life” indicates how long it takes 50% of a drug dose to be removed from the system. The average Valium half-life is approximately 43 hours, meaning that about 50% of the drug will be cleared from the body after about 43 hours. Thus, it may take up to 10 days to eliminate Valium from the body. Valium is broken down into several metabolites. One such metabolite, nordiazepam, has a much longer half-life and can thus be detected for a longer period. The average half-life of nordiazepam is 40 to 99 hours, indicating that it can take over 20 days to eliminate Valium byproducts from the body.
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Valium in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, & Saliva
Worried about how long does Valium stay in your system? Valium and its metabolites can stay long in your body. However, some tests can only detect these compounds after a certain period. The most common test samples used to trace these compounds are the following:
After a person takes diazepam, a saliva test can immediately detect the presence of this compound in the saliva. Depending on the dose and how often the drug was taken, it will last for about 1 to 10 days in the saliva after the last intake.
Does Valium show up on a urine test? The next question is, how long does Valium stay in your urine? First, Yes, it can be detected in urine drug tests. Because excretion or elimination is the final step in the body’s drug processing, the urine test will not immediately detect the presence of diazepam. However, the drug and its metabolites will be traceable in a urine sample for longer than in the saliva. Typically, the urine test can detect the presence of these compounds for about 1 to 6 weeks after your last intake. Find out how to get Diazepam out of your urine with the help of a medical detox as you read on.
The body can distribute various substances throughout the body because of the bloodstream. Valium will only stay in the blood for a short duration. Typically, a blood test can trace diazepam for about 6 to 48 hours after the last intake.
Unlike other body fluids, Diazepam and its metabolites can stay permanently in the hair strand. Because of the standard processing regulations, the technician will only test 1.5 inches of a person’s hair strand. Thus, a hair test will only trace the presence of Valium and its metabolites for up to 3 months after the last ingestion.
Factors Influencing How Long Valium Stays in the System
Various factors can influence the length of time it takes for Valium to stay in the body, which includes the following:
Before one can eliminate Valium from their body, the drug must be broken down first. The liver is the primary body organ responsible for breaking down diazepam. For this reason, a person’s liver function can greatly affect the length of time the drug will stay in the body.
Various factors can affect the performance of the liver. Certain medical conditions can damage this organ resulting in a longer metabolism process. An example of this is liver cirrhosis. For people with this medical condition, diazepam will stay in their bodies five times longer than for healthy individuals.
As a person ages, their body’s performance starts to decline, mostly because of the natural wear and tear of the body. The elderly, or those aged 65 years and above, can excrete Valium out of their body two times longer than people under 20.
A person’s body fat percentage can also affect the length of time for the body to excrete Valium. Typically, the half-life of diazepam is around 30 to 56 hours, meaning it will take that much time to break down and excrete half of the amount of the drug. According to research, the half-life of Valium is two times longer in people with a high body fat percentage.
A person’s metabolic rate can also influence the time Valium stays in their body. The drug will stay longer in the system for people with a slow metabolism.
Dose and Frequency of Use
How long does Valium stay in your system? Upon intake, diazepam will undergo various processes before elimination. If you take a higher dose, it will take the body longer to process the drug. However, if you take multiple doses of Valium for a long period, your body will build up the drug’s metabolites. Thus, the drug will stay longer in your system than those who took a single dose.
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Regardless of Valium half life, misusing the drug or struggling with prescription drug addiction will put you at overdose risk. A Valium overdose can be fatal. Signs and symptoms of overdose warrant immediate medical assistance through a call to 911 or rapid access to a hospital emergency room. Overall, overdose symptoms reflect central nervous system impairments caused by the depressant and sedative effects of Valium.
Symptoms and Signs of Valium Overdose
The chief characteristics of an acute benzodiazepine overdose are depressed respiration and cardiac functioning, typically related to a lack of oxygen and poor circulation.
Symptoms can include:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) distress
- Labored, slowed, or stopped breathing
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems
- Low blood pressure
- Low pulse rate
- Lowered mental capacities
- Lack of coordination
- Lack of alertness
- Bluing lips
Causes of Valium Overdose
Polydrug use is the number one cause of all overdose fatalities. Polydrug use greatly complicates the effects of Valium and contributes significantly to an overdose involving Valium.
Polydrug use can cause:
- Brain and organ damage
How long does Valium stay in your system? When combined with Valium, all sedating drugs, such as alcohol, opioids, and other benzodiazepines, can produce severe and prolonged respiratory distress and heart problems. Other prescription drugs, illegal drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements cause an overdose when used with Valium.
Valium Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have been using Valium for an extended period, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop or reduce your use. And these symptoms can be severe enough that inpatient medical detox is the safest course of treatment.
Valium withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Muscle spasm
- Abdominal cramps
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Rebound anxiety
The severity and duration of Valium withdrawal depend on the length of use, the dose, how abruptly the drug is stopped, and personal factors like your health.
Unmanaged Valium withdrawals can be life-threatening. In some cases, users can develop seizures and delirium tremens (DTs), commonly associated with alcohol withdrawal involving shaking, severe confusion, and hallucinations.
Abruptly quitting Valium, rather than slowly tapering from the drug, increases the likelihood of severe Valium withdrawals and certain withdrawal complications. There is no way to predict which of these symptoms you may experience when you stop suddenly. You may experience some or all of them, and because some are fatal, you should not try to stop cold turkey on your own.
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Valium Withdrawal Timeline
The onset of Valium withdrawal symptoms begins a few hours after the last dose of Valium has worn off. Symptoms will continue to intensify and last for several hours later. While acute symptoms of Valium withdrawal usually subside after the first few days of detox, more persistent symptoms of Valium withdrawal can last several weeks afterward. Furthermore, “rebound symptoms” can occur, which may manifest in high levels of anxiety. However, these symptoms should begin to decline about 6-8 weeks after quitting Valium.
24 – 72 hours Valium withdrawal: Withdrawal from Valium mimics that of alcohol. Your body will experience tremors, sweating, and agitation. An intense resurgence of anxiety or symptoms which were once taken care of by using Valium can also be present.
Week 1 Valium withdrawal: There should be a lessening of withdrawal symptoms from diazepam after the first week of Valium withdrawal. Physical symptoms will be evening out. However, you will likely still experience sleep disturbances and mild aches and pain.
Week 2 Valium withdrawal: During this time, acute withdrawal symptoms tend to resurface with the same original intensity.
Week 3-4 Valium withdrawal: Symptoms of Valium withdrawal tend to dip before possibly resurfacing. This week should be even better than week one, as the further away you are from that last dose, the more you can feel your body returning to normal. However, insomnia and anxiety may still be a problem you will have to deal with.
Detox Treatment for Valium Addiction
Valium detox is the process of getting professional medical treatment for Valium addiction in a safe and controlled environment. The detox process involves allowing the body time for all the toxins to be fully removed so that there are no longer strong physical withdrawal symptoms.
The answer to “How long does Valium stay in your system?” lies in the drug detection period. Knowing the answer can help you better understand how it can impact your health. Without professional help, specifically medical treatment, Detoxing can be dangerous and is not recommended. If someone is addicted to Valium because of its intense and often dangerous Valium withdrawal symptoms, they should consider inpatient detox. If you or a loved one is struggling with Valium addiction, We Level Up NJ addiction specialists standing by to help.
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Will Valium show up in a drug test?
Yes. Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests and can detect Valium metabolites for weeks after the last dose.
How long does 5 mg Valium last?
The effects of 5 mg Valium last approximately 4 hours, although may persist for longer in some people.
How long is Valium active in system?
The effects of Valium last around 4-6 hours; however, it has a very long half life (20-70 hours – time taken to clear 50% of the drug from the body) which means that it may take up to six weeks to be totally excreted by the body.
How long is diazepam detected in urine tests?
In the case of Valium, urine will test positive for up to six weeks after the last dose.
Symptoms of Valium withdrawals?
Common symptoms of Valium withdrawal include:
– Cognitive Decline
– Memory Impairment
– Difficulty Managing Stress
– Tired Feeling
– Flu-Like Symptoms
– Nausea and Vomiting
– Persistent Headache
How fast does Valium work?
Diazepam (Valium) works quickly. Most people feel the effects of the medication within an hour, but for some, diazepam (Valium) can work within 15 to 30 minutes.
How long does 1 10mg Valium stay in your system?
The drug stays in your system for several days. Hair follicle tests can detect built-up Valium for up to 90 days, though this test is less reliable than others.
How long does Valium take to peak?
After oral administration, >90% of diazepam is absorbed and the average time to achieve peak plasma concentrations is 1 – 1.5 hours with a range of 0.25 to 2.5 hours.
How long does Valium withdrawals last?
Valium withdrawal lasts for different periods, depending upon how long and how much for the drug you’ve been using.
Search How Long Does Valium Stay in Your System & Other Resources
 Dhaliwal JS, Rosani A, Saadabadi A. Diazepam. [Updated 2022 May 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537022/
[2-3] Valium – Food & Drug Administration – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/013263s083lbl.pdf