Diazepam: Effects on sleep and withdrawal phenomena

Anthony Kales, Constantin R. Soldatos, Edward O. Bixler, Joyce D. Kales, Antonio Vela-Bueno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Diazepam 10 mg was evaluated in a sleep laboratory study of six insomniac subjects. The protocol, which lasted for 18 consecutive nights, including four placebo-baseline, seven drug, and seven placebo-withdrawal nights, allowed for assessment of initial and short-term drug effects, side effects, and any withdrawal effects. With initial drug use, there was a significant improvement in sleep. Further, there was little evidence of tolerance developing at the end of the 1-week drug administration period. During drug administration there was a mild degree of daytime sedation reported. After abrupt termination of diazepam, there was a moderate degree of sleep difficulty on the sixth withdrawal night when total wake time was increased by 34% above baseline (not significant). On other nights, mild withdrawal changes were noted. These findings for the short-term administration and withdrawal of diazepam contrast with those for rapidly eliminated benzodiazepine drugs. The latter are characterized by a rapid development of tolerance and more frequent and intense withdrawal sleep disturbances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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