Diastat Withdrawal and Detox

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Diastat is a prescription medication which is used primarily to treat breakthrough and cluster seizures in people who are already on an anti-seizure daily medicine. Diastat, with the active ingredient diazepam, is a benzodiazepine. Like other benzodiazepines, Diastat works by calming electrical activity in the brain. Diastat should never be used as a long-term seizure treatment. No benzodiazepine is intended for long-term treatment because of the potential for addiction and dependence. With Diastat, it’s administered rectally if someone experiences an emergency breakthrough seizure. A trained provider should administer this medication. Diastat is a gel, and it’s available in dosages including 2.5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg.
As a benzodiazepine, when someone uses Diastat, it alters certain areas of their brain. In particular, Diastat increases the effectiveness of something called GABA. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter. When a drug affects the brain neurotransmitters, it can ultimately lead to misuse and addiction. Diastat abuse can include taking higher doses than what’s prescribed or taking it for longer periods than instructed. This type of misuse can increase the likelihood of addiction. Diastat addiction occurs when someone is no longer able to control their use of the drug. Addiction is a disease characterized by symptoms like compulsive drug-seeking and usage, and the inability to stop using even when there are negative outcomes and side effects.
Diastat Withdrawal and Detox
Abuse and addiction are separate issues from Diastat dependence. Drug dependence can occur with many drug classes, including benzodiazepines. Whether someone uses Diastat recreationally or medically, they can form a dependence. With Diastat dependence there are physical and psychological side effects. Chronic exposure to a drug like Diastat causes changes in the brain which counteract the effects of the drug. This means that not only dependence but also tolerance can occur. When someone exposes their central nervous system to Diastat repeatedly, the brain becomes used to its presence. The brain then changes its functionality to address that presence. For example, the brain may stop making as much of its own GABA after it’s continually exposed to Diastat.

When someone is dependent on Diastat or a similar benzodiazepine and they stop using it, especially suddenly, they may go through withdrawal. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be severe and can include rebound symptoms. Rebound symptoms are re-emerging symptoms of what the drug was initially used to treat, such as seizures or anxiety. The best way to avoid Diastat dependence is to take this medication only as prescribed. It is a short-term, occasional-use medicine, and it should only be used as such

When someone is dependent on benzodiazepines like Diastat, they may go through withdrawal when they stop using them. For this reason, if a person is benzodiazepine-dependent, a physician will typically taper down their dosage of the medicine gradually to avoid withdrawal. Quitting cold turkey or suddenly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can include insomnia, anxiety, headache, muscle aches, and in severe cases, seizures, mania and schizophrenia. If someone takes Diastat for seizures, they should be particularly aware of the risk of rebound seizures.

Diastat withdrawal can vary in duration and severity, depending on factors such as how long someone took the medication and how heavily they used it. Other specific symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal can include agitation, anxiety, dry mouth, depression, depersonalization, fatigue, dysphoria, muscle cramps and spasms, mood swings, impaired memory and concentration. Hypersensitivity to stimuli is also possible. The half-life of a particular benzodiazepine can affect factors such as the onset of withdrawal and how long withdrawal symptoms might last. Diazepam, the active ingredient in Diastat, can begin working relatively quickly when used rectally. The mean half-life of the drug is around 46 hours to 71 hours, which is a long-half life. It can be several days or more before Diastat withdrawal symptoms occur.

For most people with a benzodiazepine dependence, the recommendation is to participate in a medically supervised detox program. This is because of the severity of benzo withdrawal and the likelihood of relapsing. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about medical detox and benzodiazepine treatment and rehab options.

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.