Hesperian Health Guides

Medicines for Seizures

Caring for Children: Medicines


Diazepam can be used to relax muscles and calm pain. It can also be used to stop a single seizure. For people with ongoing seizures (epilepsy), use a different medicine, one that can be taken every day.

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  • Too much diazepam can slow down or stop breathing. Do not give more than the recommended dose and do not give more than 2 doses.
  • Diazepam is a habit-forming (addictive) drug. Avoid long-term or frequent use.
  • Do not give during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless the woman has a seizure (for example, due to eclampsia).
  • Do not inject diazepam unless you have experience or training to do so. It is very difficult to give safely this way. Instead, during a seizure, you can put it into the rectum.

How to use

To relax muscles and calm pain
Give diazepam tablets by mouth 45 minutes before a painful procedure like pushing in a hernia or setting a bone. Give 0.2 to 0.3 mg per kg. If you cannot weigh the child, dose by age:

Under 5 years: give 1 mg.
Over 5 years: give 2 mg.

For a seizure
Use the liquid solution for injection, or grind up 1 tablet and mix with water. Take the needle off a syringe, then draw up the medication and put it inside the rectum. Or use diazepam gel made for use in the rectum. Lay the person on her side and use the needle-less syringe to put the medicine deep into her rectum. Then hold her buttocks together for 10 minutes to keep the medicine in.
Under 7 years: give 0.2 mg per kg, one time.
7 to 12 years: give 3 to 5 mg, one time.
Over 12 years: give 5 to 10 mg, one time.

If the seizure is not controlled 15 minutes after giving the medicine, repeat the dose. Do not repeat more than once.

This page was updated:05 Jan 2024