b. Administration. The usual oral dose is 2 to 10 mg, 2 to 4 times daily. The
usual intramuscular or intravenous dose is 2 to 10 mg, repeated in 3-4 hours if
necessary, but no more than 30 mg in an 8-hour period.
c. Untoward Effects. The untoward effects of diazepam are similar to those of
other sedative-hypnotics. Skin rashes have also been reported.
d. Supply. Diazepam is supplied in 2 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg tablets. Diazepam
injection is supplied in 2 ml and 10 ml containers that contain 5 mg/ml.
Section III. ANTIPSYCHOTIC TRANQUILIZERS AND RELATED
The tranquilizers discussed in this section apparently stimulate the higher areas
of the CNS to depress the lower areas and thus produce a tranquilizing effect.
Sedatives, which are often called "tranquilizers" and which we discussed in the previous
section, directly depress the CNS. To distinguish the type of tranquilizer discussed
here from sedatives, we use the term antipsychotic tranquilizer or phenothiazine-type
tranquilizer. These tranquilizers are used primarily in the treatment of psychoses,
severe mental disorders. The sedative-hypnotics discussed previously are used to
combat anxiety, but they are of little use in psychoses.
3-13. EFFECTS OF ANTIPSYCHOTIC TRANQUILIZERS
a. Unlike the sedative-hypnotics, some of the antipsychotic tranquilizers can
cause convulsions when given in large doses. This is characteristic of CNS stimulants.
However, in normal doses, these drugs produce a type of sedation in which the client is
apathetic and unemotional but never as sedated as in anesthesia. Thus, an actively
disturbed client would require less restraint after having received an antipsychotic
tranquilizer. It is true, however, that a highly excited client might become a different
type of problem upon receiving one of these drugs--that is, an immobile, inactive
person. Nevertheless, these drugs are very useful. In addition to their use with actively
disturbed clients, they can affect the thinking of unexcited schizophrenics as well.
b. Side effects of the synthetic antipsychotic tranquilizers (except reserpine)
include dryness of the mouth, dilated eyes, lessening of near vision, constipation, and a
fast pulse rate. The main group of antipsychotic tranquilizers, the phenothiazines, tend
to cause a fall in body temperature except in the extremities; they dilate the blood
vessels, which may produce hypotension or postural hypotension (low blood pressure
which occurs when the client sits up or stands up). Some endocrine effects, such as a
change in the menstrual cycle or lactation, may result.