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What is Diastat?

Diastat (Diazepam) belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is used for the intermittent treatment of severe seizures (also known as recurrent, serial, cluster, or crescendo seizures) that occur for certain people even though they take regular doses of medications to treat Epilepsy.

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Diastat How to Take

Diastat (Diazepam) belongs to the class of medications called benzodiazepines. It is used for the intermittent treatment of severe seizures (also known as recurrent, serial, cluster, or crescendo seizures) that occur for certain people even though they take regular doses of medications to treat Epilepsy.

Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel usually starts controlling seizures 5 to 15 minutes after it is used. It works by slowing down the nerves in the brain (i.e., the central nervous system). Diastat (Diazepam) is used to treat those who experience an increase in their seizure frequency at home, in hospitals, in emergency units, or in residential institutions.

Your doctor may have suggested Diastat (Diazepam) for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of Diastat (Diazepam) may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given Diastat (Diazepam), speak to your doctor. Do not stop using Diastat (Diazepam) without consulting your doctor.

Do not give Diastat (Diazepam) to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use Diastat (Diazepam) if their doctor has not prescribed it.


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Diastat Dosage

The dose of Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel is individualized according to weight and age.

For children 2 to 4 years of age, the dose is 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. For children 6 to 11 years of age, the dose is 0.3 mg per kilogram. For ages 12 and over, the recommended dose is 0.2 mg per kilogram.

Since the dose of Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel is available in fixed unit doses of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 20 mg only, the prescribed dose is obtained by rounding upward to the next available dose. For seniors, it is recommended that the dosage be rounded downwards.

If a single dose does not adequately treat the seizure, your doctor may wish to prescribe 2 doses of Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel. The second dose may be given 4 to 12 hours after the first dose if seizures continue or are known to recur, or if the patient is known to have seizures that are especially resistant to treatment.

Treatment with Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel should be given no more than every 5 days, and no more than 5 times per month.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Use the preloaded Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel syringe exactly as prescribed by your doctor and according to package directions. Store the syringe away from children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Diastat Side Effects

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes Diastat (Diazepam). If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of Diastat (Diazepam) with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking Diastat (Diazepam). Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • euphoria (excessive feelings of happiness)
  • headache
  • hiccups
  • lack of coordination
  • pain

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • confusion (continuing)
  • shakiness
  • slow heartbeat
  • slow reflexes
  • slurred speech (continuing)
  • staggering
  • trouble breathing
  • weakness (severe)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking Diastat (Diazepam).


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Diastat Available Form

Each rectal delivery system of clear to slightly yellow, non-sterile gel, with a pH between 6.5 to 7.2, contains Diastat (Diazepam) 5 mg/mL. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol (1.5%), ethyl alcohol (10%), hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, and water.

Diastat Contraindications

Diastat (Diazepam) should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to Diastat (Diazepam), any other benzodiazepines, or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • has acute narrow-angle Glaucoma
  • has liver, lung, or Kidney Disease
  • has Myasthenia Gravis
  • has severe breathing problems
  • has Sleep Apnea
  • regularly drinks alcohol, uses recreational drugs, or has a history of drug or alcohol addiction

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Diastat Precautions

There may be an interaction between Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel and any of the following:

  • antidepressants
  • Cimetidine
  • clarithromycin
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluvoxamine
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • medications that cause sedation (e.g., narcotics, other benzodiazepines, barbiturates, phenothiazines)
  • Valproic acid

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with Diastat (Diazepam). Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the Nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

Diastat Warnings

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or Allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use Diastat (Diazepam).

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Because Diastat (Diazepam) causes drowsiness and sedation, do not engage in activities requiring mental alertness such as driving a car or operating machinery until the sedating effects of Diastat (Diazepam) have worn off. Alcohol can increase the drowsiness effects and should be avoided.

Liver function: Diastat (Diazepam) should not be used by anyone with reduced liver function unless the benefits outweigh the risks.

Pregnancy: Diastat (Diazepam) should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks.

Breast-feeding: Diastat (Diazepam) passes into breast milk. Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel should not be used by women who are breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel for children under 2 years of age have not been established.

Seniors: The dose of Diastat (Diazepam) rectal gel may need to be decreased for those over 60 years of age to avoid over-sedation and impaired coordination.


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All material © 1996-2021 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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