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deye-AZE-ih-pam - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Diazepam Injection
  • Diazepam Intensol
  • Diazepam Oral Tablets


Rx symbolDiazepam affects the central nervous system and is used as a tranquilizer in horses. It helps in the management of anxiety, and also acts as a skeletal muscle relaxant, as a sedative, and has anticonvulsant effects. It is rapidly absorbed, and peak plasma levels occur within 30 minutes to two hours after dosing. It is easily distributed throughout the body. Diazepam is the anticonvulsant of choice in foals.


Diazepam is most often used in horses as a part of a preoperative sedative combination. It is also used for treatment of acute convulsions caused by neonatal maladjustment syndrome or idiopathic epilepsy. Horses with seizures induced by toxins or adverse drug effects are often treated with diazepam. Diazepam acts as a muscle relaxant, an appetite stimulant, and is useful as a tranquilizer.

Diazepam is also used to improve breeding behavior in slow or shy stallions because it tends to diminish sexual inhibition.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationDiazepam
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Slow Intravenous injection 0.02-0.1 mg/kg 1 5 mg/ml Treatment NA
Slow Intravenous injection 0.05-0.4 mg/kg 2 5 mg/ml Episode NA
Slow Intravenous injection 25-50 mg 3 5 mg/ml Episode NA


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Extra-label use of drugs in treating animals is allowable only by licensed veterinarians within the context of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and does not include drug use in treating animals by the layman (except under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian).
  • 1Adult horse dosage for mild sedation and muscle relaxation.
  • 2For seizures in foals. Repeat in 30 minutes if necessary. (Sweeney and Hansen 1987)
  • 3 For seizures in adult horses. Repeat in 30 minutes if necessary. (Sweeney and Hansen 1987)
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

Diazepam may cause muscle twitching, weakness, and ataxia at dosages sufficient to cause sedation. Larger doses may induce recumbency and general central nervous system depressant effects.


Diazepam may cause excitability, aggression, or unusual behavior in some horses. It should be used with caution in debilitated or older horses, especially those with decreased kidney or liver function, and animals in shock, coma, or with significant respiratory depression. Diazepam may be addictive and should not be withdrawn suddenly from animals that have been on long-term treatment.

Diazepam should not be stored in plastic syringes or bottles, as it may be absorbed into the plastic and become inactivated.

Diazepam is a prescription drug approved by the FDA for use in horses. U. S. federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian.

Diazepam would be forbidden in any drug-free competition. Check with the proper regulatory group.


Metabolism of diazepam may be decreased and excessive sedation may occur if given with the following drugs: cimetidine, erythromycin, isoniazid, ketoconazole, propranolol, and valproic acid. If administered with other CNS depressant agents, such as barbiturates, narcotics, or anesthetics, additive effects may occur. Antacids may slow the rate, but not the extent, of oral absorption. Administer two hours apart to avoid this potential interaction. Pharmacologic effects of digoxin may be increased.


When administered alone, diazepam overdoses are generally limited to central nervous system depressant effects.


Diazepam InjectionDiazepam Injection



About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.