Diazepam and Asthma
Diazepam and Asthma
Diazepam and asthma can be discussed from two points of view,
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one is the use of Diazepam in respiratory failure associated with Status Asthmaticus who need mechanical ventilation, the other point is that Diazepam and Asthma should be used with extreme caution as it may lead to apnea or cardiac arrest.
But first, before the discussion of the relationship between diazepam and asthma, we have to know about diazepam and asthma.
Asthma is a medical condition where the airways are narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus, which can cause breathing difficulties, triggering cough, and wheezing when breathing.
For some patients, Asthma may be a minor problem, and for others, it is a major problem, which interferes with the quality of life, and can lead to asthmatic attacks which can be life-threatening.
Asthma is a chronic medical condition that has no cure but can be controlled.
Symptoms of Asthma differ from one patient to another.
- Short or shallow breathing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Wheezing with exhalation, which is especially common in children
- Shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing can also interfere with your sleeping
- Cold and Flu worsens the coughing and wheezing attacks
Signs of worsened Asthma:
- More frequent signs and symptoms
- Breathing difficulties increase
- The use of a quick-relief inhaler is more frequent
Factors worsening Asthma:
- It may be worsened by exercise
- It may be increased by chemical fumes, gases, and dust
- It also may be increased by allergens like pollen grains, mold spores, cockroach wastes, and others
Asthma attacks can be deadly, always monitor your symptoms with your doctor to control the symptoms and avoid the worsening of them.
How about Diazepam?
Diazepam is one of the benzodiazepines family, that works by inducing the effect of some neurotransmitters in the brain which produces a calming effect.
It is used in treating anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms and stiffness, and as adjunctive therapy in treating seizures.
It is also used in inducing sedation before having surgery or having an endoscopy.
According to our first point of view about Diazepam and Asthma, Diazepam is used in inducing sedation in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to put the patient on mechanical ventilation to treat the respiratory failure associated with Status Asthmaticus to help to restore ventilation and gas exchange.
Diazepam is given by a dosage of 0.2 – 0.3 mg/Kg every 1 – 3 hours.
Dosing and administration:
Diazepam is available in many dosage forms, tablets, oral solutions, rectal gels, injectable solutions, and intramuscular devices.
Oral solutions are only taken with the calibrated dropper coming with the drug, or with any special measuring device.
Don’t use the household spoons to avoid incorrect dosing.
If you are going to use the injectable methods, inspect the product for particulates, and for change in color before administration.
If you are using the intravenous injection, ensure there are facilities to assist respiration if needed.
Don’t use the small veins found in the hand or wrist, and inject it slowly for 1 minute for each 5 mg.
When using the oral solution, throw the bottle after 90 days of opening.
Store it away from light.
Store it at a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees F.
Contraindications and precautions:
- If you experienced extreme hypersensitivity to diazepam or other benzodiazepines.
- When using the intravenous method, inject it very slowly, and don’t use small veins, to avoid venous thrombosis (a blood clot in the vein), phlebitis (inflammation of the vein), and irritation at the site of injection.
- Diazepam may cause depression and suicidal thoughts, if they already exist, they may be worsened by the use of diazepam, and so, you have to be monitored carefully if you are going to use diazepam or other anti-epileptic drugs.
- The doctor prescribes the smallest dose effective to reduce the risk of side effects and overdose.
- Activities requiring mental alertness should not be done when using drugs causing CNS (Central Nervous System) depression without understanding the effect of the drug on your mental alertness, activities like operating heavy machinery, and driving, as this may lead to bad falls, and dangerous accidents.
- Using diazepam with other CNS depressants such as opioids may cause severe side effects like profound sedation (unconsciousness where the patient can’t be awakened easily), respiratory depression, coma, and death.
The other point of view of Diazepam and Asthma, diazepam is not used in patients with severe respiratory problems and sleep apnea (Inability to breathe while sleeping for a short period), and used with extreme caution in patients with asthma, pneumonia, or neurologic damage as they may cause apnea (stop of breathing) or cardiac arrest.
So, diazepam is a life-saving drug when used when mechanical ventilation is needed to induce sedation in case of very severe status asthmaticus, and if it is going to be used with asthmatic patients, it should be used with extreme caution as it may cause severe side effects.