Does Valium Show Up on a Drug Test?

If you are taking Valium or considering its use, you might be wondering, “Does Valium show up on a drug test?” Understanding how Valium, can affect drug test results is important, especially if you are subject to routine screenings for employment, medical, or legal reasons. Drug tests, particularly those designed to detect benzodiazepines, can identify Valium in your system. Factors such as the type of test used, the dosage taken, and the duration of use can all influence the detection accuracy. In this article, we will explore how Valium shows up on various types of drug tests and what you need to know to manage these screenings effectively.

What Is Valium?

Valium, also known by its generic name Diazepam, serves as a benzodiazepine primarily valued for its sedative properties. The FDA approves Valium for medical use, but people sometimes sell it illegally for recreational purposes. Recreational use of Valium is risky because it increases the likelihood of overdose, especially when mixed with substances like alcohol. This misuse can also worsen existing health issues, including kidney and liver damage.

a person holding a bottle of Valium pills wondering does Valium Show Up on a Drug Test
Does valium show up on a drug test? If you’re taking Valium, you must know how it can affect your drug test results.

How Valium Works?

Valium acts as an anxiolytic. It reduces anxiety by enhancing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity. This increase in GABA activity leads to a calming effect on the nervous system. Additionally, Valium serves as a muscle relaxant, useful in treating muscle spasms and certain muscle disorders, by similarly enhancing GABAergic neurotransmission and relaxing skeletal muscles.

Valium also possesses anticonvulsant properties. This makes it effective as an adjunctive treatment for certain types of seizures, particularly those associated with epilepsy. Its ability to enhance GABAergic activity helps reduce neuronal excitability and prevent seizures.

With sedative-hypnotic properties, Valium can induce drowsiness and is beneficial in managing short-term insomnia or inducing anesthesia before medical procedures. As an amnestic, it can cause temporary anterograde amnesia, impairing the formation of new memories, an effect often utilized in medical settings to help patients forget the events surrounding procedures.

Cytochrome P450 enzymes, primarily CYP3A4, metabolize Valium in the liver. This process transforms Valium into active metabolites like desmethyldiazepam and temazepam, which contribute to its pharmacological effects and can accumulate with chronic use. The drug has a relatively long duration of action. Effects can last several hours, though individual responses can vary based on metabolism, dosage, and duration of use.

A chemical drawing of Valium
Valium enhances GABA activity, leading to reduced anxiety and muscle relaxation.

Types of Drug Tests

Drug tests can detect Valium and other benzodiazepines, specifically targeting benzodiazepine use. With 30.6 million adults in the United States using benzodiazepines and misuse on the rise, drug tests are increasingly designed to identify these substances. Here are some common types of drug tests that can detect Valium:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is the most common method for detecting benzodiazepine use and misuse. Valium can be detected in a urine sample from 1 to 7 days after the last use. The length of time that benzodiazepines remain detectable in a urine test can vary depending on factors such as the dosage taken, the user’s metabolism, and the frequency of use.

Blood Tests

Blood tests can detect Valium misuse, but they are less commonly used due to their invasive nature and the shorter detection window compared to urine tests. Valium can be detected in a blood sample for up to 24 hours after the last use.

Despite its legitimate medical uses, there is a high risk of addiction when using Valium. For those who find themselves or their loved ones grappling with dependence on this drug, enrolling in a partial hospitalization rehab program in Pennsylvania can help with recovery.

A gloved hand holding a vial with a yellow liquid, some forms and a pen in the background
Valium can be detected in various drug tests, including urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle tests.

Hair Follicle Tests

Hair follicle tests can determine if someone has used Valium within a window ranging from six months to a year after the last use. These tests are typically used to demonstrate long-term or sustained misuse of a substance, making them particularly effective for tracking longer periods of drug use.

Saliva Test

The saliva test is a less common method compared to urine testing for detecting benzodiazepine use. Valium can be detected in saliva for about 3 to 4 days after the last use.

Does Valium Show Up on a Drug Test? -Factors Affecting Detection

Several factors influence how long you can detect a substance in any given sample, causing the detection timespan to vary. These factors, which differ from case to case and individual to individual, include dosage, frequency of use, metabolic rate, and individual variations.


The detectability of Valium in drug tests is significantly influenced by the dosage taken. Higher dosages of Valium tend to be more detectable and remain in the system longer, whereas lower dosages may not be detectable for as long.

Frequency of Use

The frequency with which Valium is used significantly affects its detectability in drug tests. A person who uses Valium frequently, such as daily or multiple times a day, will have higher detectable levels in their system compared to those who use the drug occasionally.

Metabolic Rate

People who are physically dependent on Valium may metabolize it faster over time compared to those who have never taken the drug. However, some people naturally have a faster metabolism which can also affect how quickly Valium is processed. Additionally, because Valium is metabolized in the liver and eliminated through the kidneys, any existing issues with these organs can slow down the metabolism, potentially intensifying the drug’s effects and associated risks. This is why it’s important to take Valium under medical supervision in order to manage dosage and monitor any potential complications effectively.

Individual Variations

Individual differences significantly impact how drugs like Valium are metabolized. One key factor influencing the metabolism of benzodiazepines is the distribution of body fat. Since benzodiazepines are lipophilic, meaning they dissolve more readily in fats than in water, individuals with higher body fat percentages may retain Valium in their system for longer periods. This storage in fat can cause Valium to remain detectable for an extended time due to its affinity for fatty tissues.

The hands of a specialist placing blood on a vial
Drug tests for Valium can sometimes produce false positives due to cross-reactivity with other substances.

Accuracy of Drug Tests in Detecting Valium

Various factors influence the accuracy of drug tests in detecting benzodiazepine use, such as Valium. Urine tests generally provide the highest level of accuracy, followed by blood and saliva tests. However, these tests can still produce false positive or false negative results.

False Positives

You may test positive for Valium even if you have not used it recently or at all. Some substances can cross-react with the antibodies used in drug tests, leading to false-positive results. This includes certain medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, muscle relaxants, and antihistamines, as well as some herbal supplements and foods. These can produce metabolites structurally similar to benzodiazepines, which may mistakenly be detected by benzodiazepine tests. Additionally, sample contamination or laboratory errors can also contribute to false positives.

False Negatives

You may also test negative for Valium even if you have had it recently. However, false negatives are less common than false positives. Some drug tests may have lower sensitivity thresholds. They may not detect benzodiazepines at low concentrations or may miss certain benzodiazepines altogether. Inadequate sensitivity of the testing method can result in false-negative results, particularly if the individual has only used a small amount of the drug.

Some substances, including medications and dietary supplements, may interfere with the detection of benzodiazepines in drug tests. For example, certain medications may compete for binding sites on the immunoassay, potentially reducing the test’s sensitivity and leading to false negatives.

Dilution of urine samples, either intentionally or unintentionally, can reduce the concentration of benzodiazepines below the detection threshold of the test, resulting in false-negative results. Dilution can occur due to excessive fluid intake, diuretic use, or tampering with the sample.

Cross-Reactions with Other Substances

Mixing benzodiazepines like Valium with alcohol is particularly dangerous. The interaction increases the sedative effects of both substances, leading to heightened drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, and memory issues. This combination also significantly raises the risk of overdose and respiratory depression.

If you combine Valium and other CNS depressants, the risk of death, a coma, or respiratory depression increases. CNS depressants include:

  • Other benzodiazepines, such as Clonazepam
  • Prescription opioids, like hydrocodone and oxycodone
  • Barbiturates
  • Antipsychotics
  • Certain antihistamines

When Valium interacts with certain antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), it can increase the level of Valium in the blood. This can mess up the results of a drug test, lead to increased sedation and effects, and even worsen the possibility of overdose.

Additionally, drugs that inhibit the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzyme system, such as certain antifungal medications (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole), can increase Valium concentrations in the blood. This can lead to enhanced sedative effects and potential toxicity. Drug and alcohol rehab centers in Pennsylvania take these interactions into account to prevent complications during treatment.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that caffeine can decrease the sedation effects of Valium, while grapefruit can inhibit its metabolism, increasing blood levels and potentially boosting its sedative impact. These factors are carefully considered in substance abuse treatment in Pennsylvania to tailor safe and effective treatment plans for individuals recovering from benzodiazepine addiction.

A man lying his head on the surface of a table after drinking too much
The interaction between alcohol and Valium can be dangerous.

Why Would Someone Get Tested for Valium?

You might need a Valium (diazepam) test for several reasons. Knowing these scenarios can help you prepare for drug tests and manage your medication use responsibly.

Employment Screenings

Employers often require drug testing as part of the hiring process or for continued employment. These tests ensure a safe and productive workplace by identifying substance misuse. Since Valium affects coordination, concentration, and reaction times, employers test for it to ensure employees are not impaired, especially in safety-sensitive jobs.

Medical Reasons

Doctors may test you for Valium to monitor if you’re taking your medication as prescribed. This is common for patients with chronic conditions needing long-term benzodiazepine use. Regular testing helps doctors adjust dosages and spot any misuse or interactions with other medications.

Legal and Forensic Situations

Legal authorities might test for Valium during criminal investigations or if you are on probation or parole. Courts may order drug tests in legal disputes or custody battles to ensure you’re not under the influence of substances that could impair judgment or behavior.

Addiction Treatment Programs

If you’re in an addiction treatment program, you may get tested regularly for Valium to track your progress and ensure you’re following your treatment plan. This helps counselors and medical professionals provide the right support to help you stay sober.

Sports and Athletic Competitions

Sports organizations often test athletes for Valium and other substances to ensure fair play. If benzodiazepines like Valium enhance performance or recovery, they can be considered doping, leading to penalties or disqualification.

Understanding why you might get tested for Valium helps you stay prepared and manage your health and responsibilities effectively.

a lab tech looking thorough a microscope
If you use Valium, disclose your prescription during drug tests to avoid misunderstandings.

Who Abuses Valium in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, benzodiazepine prescriptions are notably high, with approximately 46 prescriptions issued for every 100 adults. This ranks the state 13th in the nation for benzodiazepine usage. Concurrently, there has been a dramatic increase in benzodiazepine-related overdoses in Pennsylvania, which have risen by over 500 percent in recent years.

While many adults use benzodiazepines under medical supervision to manage various symptoms, the risk of developing an addiction remains significant. Addiction can occur for several reasons. Individuals may start using benzodiazepines like Valium as prescribed but may become reliant on them as a quick solution for their problems, leading to usage beyond the recommended dosage. This risk is heightened as those prescribed Valium often are already in a vulnerable psychological state.

Benzodiazepine rehab centers are equipped to support individuals struggling with Valium addiction or withdrawal symptoms. Treatment often includes Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for those experiencing severe withdrawal. Following MAT, patients typically engage in a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic treatments. These treatments aim to prepare them for a successful reintegration into everyday life.

Does Valium Show Up on a Drug Test? -What to Remember

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Does Valium show up on a drug test?” it is important to disclose any prescriptions you have for Valium when being tested. Valium can indeed be detected in certain drug tests that screen for benzodiazepine use. Using Valium under medical supervision is not considered misuse, but it is a potent medication, and following your doctor’s instructions is essential. If you are struggling with prescription drug addiction, consider seeking help through a reputable rehab program, such as Little Creek Recovery.

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