Diastat Side Effects, Dosage & Cost


What is a seizure?

Epilepsy, which is from the Greek epili’psia, is a common and chronic disorder of the brain which is identified by unprovoked seizures. These convulsions are transient signs of abnormal or excessive activity of the neurons in the brain. There are about fifty million people in the world who have epilepsy, about 90% of them being in developing countries. It’s most likely to appear in people over 65 or young children. It is usually controllable with medication, but not curable. Sometimes surgery is used for serious cases. Some epileptic conditions are confined to a particular stage of childhood. Epilepsy isn’t a specific disorder, but a term used to encompass a group of syndromes with many different symptoms which all have abnormal neural activity.
Epilepsy is not a mental disorder. It can be caused by anything that affects the brain. It can be genetically inherited. Some things that can cause it are brain trauma or tumor, stroke, a degenerative disease or infection. Sometimes there’s no apparent cause.

What is Diastat?

Diastat (Diazepam is the generic name.) is a rectal gel which contains diazepam, propylene glycol, ethyl alcohol, hydroxypropyl, methylcellulose, sodium benzoate, benzyl alcohol, benzoic acid and water. Diazepam, the active ingredient, is an anticonvulsant. It’s only recommended for short-term treatment, not chronic or daily use. It’s suggested use is only five times per month, no closer than five days apart.

Diastat is manufactured by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

How Does Diastat Work?

Diastat is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines that affect chemicals in the brain that cause seizures. It’s quickly absorbed from the lining of the rectum and therefore quickly achieves therapeutic levels in the serum. It usually starts controlling the seizure five to fifteen minutes after it’s administered. It works by slowing down nerves in the brain.

What is the History of Diastat?

In 1817 DRAXIS Health announced, “We are pleased to have launched Diastat, our second neurology product licensed from Elan…..”

In November, 1996, Athena Neurosciences sought approval by the FDA to sell a gel form of diazepam under the name Diastat. It was approved in the summer of 1997.

What are Common Side Effects from Diastat?

Side effects include headache, pain, mental changes, drowsiness, dizziness, diarrhea and unsteadiness. Unlikely side effects, which should be reported to your physician immediately, can be slow or labored breathing, a rash, or itching.

What is the Average Diastat Dosage and Cost?

The dosage is based on age, medical history and weight, and will be determined by your doctor. If an extra dose is prescribed and missed, your physician should be contacted.

It comes in syringes prepared with the appropriate dose. The syringe has a rectal tip for pediatric, universal or adult size. Pediatric dosages come in 2.5 and 5.0 mg. The universal size is 10 mg and the adult dose comes in a 15 or 20 mg syringe.

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