The Sexual Side Effects Of Valium
Valium is a benzodiazepine that can cause low libido and reduced testosterone in both men and women. As a result, people who take Valium may struggle with sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness.
First approved by the FDA in 1963, Valium has long since become a household name. Both the brand name medication and its generic formulation, diazepam, are routinely used as prescription drugs to manage anxiety and panic disorders, seizures, muscle spasms and twitches, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
However, medical practitioners have become increasingly aware of the potential side effects and the risks associated with Valium use, as well as the drug’s considerable potential for abuse and addiction.
These side effects, risks, and potential health concerns involve numerous areas of the body, brain, and behavior, including effects that may directly influence human sexual desire and sexual or reproductive functions.
Valium & Sexual Dysfunction
While Valium’s effects as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety drug) can be calming and freeing, potentially facilitating a more positive mental space for a sexual encounter, the drug’s direct effects on the body instead tend to reduce libido and interfere with sexual functions.
More specifically, Valium and other benzodiazepine drugs may:
- lower testosterone levels in men and women
- produce unusually low libido, sexual responsiveness, and sensation
- delay or prevent orgasms
- decrease vaginal lubrication and contribute to pain during intercourse for women
- cause erectile dysfunction, difficulty ejaculating, and other sexual problems in men
While these effects may occur with any use of Valium, long-term use of this habit-forming drug may be particularly damaging to a person’s sex life and sexual health, and is not recommended.
Valium As A Date Rape Drug
Valium is also one of the most commonly encountered drugs in cases of drug-facilitated sexual assaults, or date rape, in the United States.
Diazepam is absorbed in the digestive system and can be crushed into a powder and laced into food or drink in high doses, producing a significant degree of sleepiness, physical and mental impairment, and problems with memory formation (amnesia).
Date rape is considered felony criminal sexual misconduct under United States law, with perpetrators subject to enhanced sentences under the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996.
Effects Of Valium
Diazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine with a low to moderate potency. As with other benzos drugs, it works by increasing the effects of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the central nervous system.
GABA, as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, acts to directly reduce mental and physical activity and tension throughout the body, promoting drowsiness, relaxation, and calm.
While these effects can be beneficial when used for specific medical purposes for limited periods of time, they have also led the drug to be widely abused.
This includes both recreational abuse (as Valium may generate a relaxed and pleasurable intoxication in higher doses) and chronic long-term misuse (commonly associated with severe drug dependence).
Other approved benzodiazepine medications include:
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- and others
In rare cases, individuals may have a paradoxical reaction to Valium or other benzodiazepines, producing effects that are opposite to those that would normally be expected.
This may involve sudden emotional volatility, excessive movement, and confusion as well as a potential atypical increase in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance.
The most common side effects of Valium are drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, and unsteadiness. However, other serious side effects and adverse reactions are also possible, especially when Valium is used in other ways than prescribed.
Let a healthcare provider know right away if you experience any signs of allergic reaction, memory problems, mood swings, hallucinations, confusion, depression, difficulty speaking or moving, tremors, trouble urinating, yellowing eyes or skin, fever, chills, or trouble breathing while using Valium.
Other Precautions For Valium Use
Valium should be used by caution by those with certain muscle diseases, breathing problems, mental health disorders, a history of substance use disorder, glaucoma, liver disease, and kidney disease.
You should also use caution when driving, using machinery, or performing other potentially dangerous tasks until you know how Valium affects you.
Valium interacts with a number of substances including, fluoxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and antidepressant), clozapine (an antipsychotic), orlistat (a weight loss drug), and CNS depressant drugs including sodium oxybate, sleeping medications, muscle relaxants, alcohol, opioids, antihistamines (Benadryl), and others.
Valium should also not be used by those who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant as it may harm an unborn baby. It should also not be used by those who are nursing, as it passes into breast milk with undesirable effects.
Let your healthcare provider know about all the prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements you are using before using Valium.
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- American Family Physician https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/1201/p2520.html
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/013263s094lbl.pdf
- Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/diazepam-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20072333
- Revista Internacional de Andrologí https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32063496/