Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication often used for anxiety, treating or preventing seizures, alcohol withdrawal, sedation during procedures and more. However, even if taken as prescribed, taking Valium can lead to addiction and abuse, and stopping this medication too quickly can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and coma.

The effects of Valium may last over 24 hours, but the substance may stay in the system and be detected by a drug test for much longer. If you’re going to stop using Valium or you’re taking a drug test, knowing how long diazepam lasts in your body can help you know what to expect.

How Long Does It Take for Valium To Start Working?

Most people taking Valium as a pill start to feel its effects within an hour. Some can feel these effects after as little as 15 to 30 minutes. This can be affected by many factors, including other medications you take, your kidney and liver function, or even whether or not you have eaten recently. Valium is also available as an injection and takes minutes to go into effect. 

Most commonly, people taking Valium feel calm and relaxed. This medication’s most common side effects include drowsiness, fatigue and muscle weakness. After taking this medication, you may also experience memory problems, difficulty concentrating or vertigo. Valium has been linked to dementia and depression if taken over the long term.

How Long Do the Effects of Valium Last?

Valium is termed a long-acting benzo because its effects last longer than others. After taking one dose of this medication, the effect peaks after about an hour to 1.5 hours in most people. However, the effects of Valium and its metabolites can be felt for up to 24 hours or longer and can be more notable if taken at higher doses or over a long period. Valium’s effects can also depend on whether you have taken other medications or alcohol with it, your age, kidney and liver function, and many other factors.

Will Valium Show Up on a Drug Test?

Valium will appear on most employment or court-mandated drug tests. Drug tests are often included as part of the routine pre-employment process, and many employers reserve the right to randomly drug test while you are employed as part of a drug-free workplace or if an accident happens on the job. Drug tests can also be required for child custody or other court cases. 

Some drug tests detect Valium itself, while others detect the metabolites (nordiazepam, temazepam and oxazepam). While Valium can be present in the body for a long time, its metabolites can be present significantly longer. 

Valium Half-Life

Once a dose of Valium is taken in pill form, it is broken down in the stomach and absorbed into the blood. However, if taken as an intravenous (IV) medication, absorption through the stomach is skipped, and the drug goes straight into the bloodstream. Once Valium enters the bloodstream, it circulates and works throughout the body until the liver metabolizes it and the kidneys excrete it in the urine. 

This process is called the half-life and is the time it takes for half of one dose to be metabolized and eliminated. Valium has a long half-life compared to other benzos — 20 to 50 hours. This means that after taking one dose of Valium, it can take between 2.5 to 10 days for your body to eliminate any trace of Valium. 

How Long Does Valium Stay In Urine?

Valium can be detected in the urine for one to seven days. This drug testing is most common because it is less invasive than other drug tests and has lower costs.

How Long Does Valium Stay In Blood?

Valium can be detected in the blood for 21 to 37 hours. In comparison, blood testing is less common than urine drug screens because it requires specialized equipment and going to a laboratory for a blood draw.

How Long Does Valium Stay In Saliva?

In one study, Valium was detected for 2.5 to 3 hours after taking a dose. This type of drug test can be minimally invasive; however, it is most effective to see intoxication rather than previous use. 

How Long Does Valium Stay In Hair?

Valium can be detected in hair for up to 90 days but is highest after one to two months. However, this drug testing method cannot quantify how much or how long ago Valium was used. As a result, this form of drug testing is used less commonly than urine or blood tests.

How Long Does Valium Stay In Breastmilk?

With its long half-life, Valium has been detected in breastmilk for as long as six days after being taken. 

Factors That Determine How Long Valium Stays In Your System

Many factors can influence how long Valium stays in your system. Some of the more influential factors include:

  • Liver function: The liver is responsible for Valium metabolism. For those with liver dysfunction, it will take longer to metabolize Valium. 
  • Body fat percentage: In those with a higher body fat percentage, Valium will take longer to be eliminated.
  • Age: Older patients can take longer to metabolize or eliminate Valium than younger patients.
  • Total dose: If you have taken Valium over the long term or at higher doses, the drug can accumulate in your body, leading to more being in the body for a longer time. 

How To Get Valium Out of Your System

The only way to get Valium out of your system is with time. Avoiding other medications and alcohol, which can slow Valium metabolism, can help this process. Also, staying hydrated can help ensure your kidneys work well to eliminate this medication. 

Always discuss wanting to stop this medication with your healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping this medication can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or even seizures. 

Treatment for Valium Abuse & Addiction in Orlando, FL

Valium can lead to addiction after only weeks of use, but we can help you regain control of your life safely and comfortably. Without medical treatment, stopping Valium too quickly can put you at risk for seizures or coma, but our compassionate medical staff is here to help. Our Joint Commission-accredited facility offers an array of treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, to meet you where you are in your recovery process and encourage success in each step. 

Orlando Recovery Center is an in-network provider for various insurance companies, including Aetna, Cigna and America’s Choice. Learn more about the insurance we accept by visiting our Insurance Coverage for Rehab page or contacting us. Our knowledgeable representatives are here to serve you 24 hours a day to start the process toward your healthier life. Contact us today.

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Leila Khurshid, BCPS, PharmD
Leila Khurshid is a clinical pharmacist based in Denver, CO. Her writing and editing focuses on making medical information more accessible to the general population. Read more
Sources

GoodRx. “Diazepam (Valium).” Reviewed February 2, 2021. Accessed July 1, 2022.

ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” October 2021. Accessed July 1, 2022.

Wang, X, et al. “Deposition of diazepam and its metabolit[…]gle dose of diazepam.” International Journal of Legal Medicine, August 17, 2016. Accessed July 1, 2022.

De Gier, J. J., et al. “Comparison of plasma and saliva levels of diazepam.” British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, August 1980. Accessed July 1, 2022.

National Library of Medicine. “Drugs and Lactation Database.” Drugs and Lactation Database, revised February 15, 2021. Accessed July 1, 2022. Drugs.com. “Diazepam Monograph for Professionals.” Reviewed November 9, 2020. Accessed July 1, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.