How Long Does Valium Last? | Mind-Blowing Half-Life!
Written By Kobi Nathan, Pharm.D., M.Ed., CDP, BCGP, AGSF
Sleep Disorders
December 17, 2023

Valium, known by its generic name diazepam, is a benzodiazepine routinely prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and restless leg syndrome.

It is also commonly prescribed on an as-needed basis to manage situational anxiety, such as when you need to calm down before anxiety-inducing operations or pre-dental procedures.

Whether you’re taking it for medical purposes or have concerns about its recreational use, understanding the duration of Valium in your body is crucial.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect Valium’s stay in your system and the various tests used to detect its presence.

So, how long does Valium last?

It depends!

Let’s get into the details…

Key Takeaways

  • Valium can be detected in various tests such as saliva, blood, urine, and hair follicle tests for different durations.
  • The half-life of Valium is 20-100 hours, which affects how long it stays in the body.
  • Factors like age, weight, dosage, liver and kidney health, and co-administration of other drugs can influence the duration of Valium in the system.
  • Valium withdrawal and addiction can have serious risks, and medical professionals should be consulted for safe detox and tapering of the drug.

How long does Valium last?

The factors stated below determine how long it takes for Valium to be removed from the body:


Age is a significant factor that influences how long Valium stays in your system.

Your metabolism slows down as you age, affecting how long Valium stays in your system, especially during a lab test.

This difference in how Valium is metabolized and eliminated in a younger person vs an older individual is incredibly significant.

To understand this, we have to look at the pharmacology of Valium briefly.

Valium’s generic name is diazepam.

After it is taken, your liver breaks it down into another compound called desmethyldiazepam, which is also pharmacologically active.

In pharmaceutical speak, this second compound is called an active metabolite.

Both the parent drug (diazepam) and the active metabolite (desmethyldiazepam) work together to calm your body.

It is the active metabolite responsible for the extended duration of action and half-life of Valium.

Here is where it begins to become a problem for older adults:

It takes much longer for the older adult to metabolize and eliminate the parent compound and the desmethyldiazepam from the system.

So, the effects of Valium are PROLONGED in seniors.

The image below perfectly explains the difference between how a younger person metabolizes and eliminates Valium compared to an older adult:

The graph on the left is that of a younger adult, and the one on the right belongs to an older person.

The blue line represents the parent drug, Valium.

The pink line describes how the active metabolite desmethyldiazepam behaves in the body.

Notice how it stays constant in the older adult, even at the 192-hour mark?

So, how long does Valium last in the older adult?

It’s longer than a week with just one dose!

Now, if you are not confused enough, not all benzodiazepines have active metabolites!

Certain benzodiazepines have shorter half-lives and duration of action based on their chemical makeup.

Lorazepam (Ativan), Oxazepam (Serax), and Temazepam (Restoril) do not have active metabolites and are RELATIVELY better options compared to the other benzodiazepines.

I say this hesitatingly because all benzodiazepines are harmful, especially to older adults, if taken inappropriately or for an extended period of time.

I explain the differences between benzodiazepines and their metabolism pathways in my article here.

I highly recommend you read it.

In my clinical experience, I have come to realize that benzodiazepine use is the unspoken epidemic, and getting off a Benzo is one of the most painful and difficult things certain people will experience.

To understand this, watch the short video below:


Another less-known fact is that long-term use of Valium and other benzodiazepines has been linked to the onset of dementia.

Liver and Kidney Health

Additionally, the liver metabolizes Valium, so if your liver function is impaired, it can take longer for the drug to be eliminated.

The same goes for your kidneys – if you have kidney disease, the Valium and its active metabolite take longer to be eliminated through the urine.

Drug interactions

Other medications you are taking can extend or reduce how quickly the Valium is metabolized.

These drugs can prolong the sedative effects of Valium and worsen the risk of harm for you.

One of the worst culprits is alcohol.

Mixing Valium or any other benzodiazepine with alcohol can cause respiratory depression (you stop breathing), coma, and death.

Read my detailed article and warning about this dangerous combination here.

Route of administration

The onset of action for Valium taken orally is between 15 and 60 minutes, while IV administration is quicker at around 1 to 3 minutes.

Intramuscular injection absorption can be erratic and is therefore avoided unless necessary.

Valium’s duration of action can be more than 12 hours.

Your metabolic rate

The quicker your metabolic rate is, the faster you can break down Valium, and vice versa.

Body fat content

Valium can insert itself into body fat and accumulate.

Amount and length of time you have been taking Valium

The more Valium you take, the longer it takes to remove it (extended half-life).

I need to make an important distinction here: The duration of action of Valium, its half-life, and the amount of time that the drug stays in your system are different concepts. 

Let me explain:

  • The duration of action of Valium means how long the drug is acting on your central nervous system, exerting its intended pharmacological effect (calming, anxiety-reducing).
  • Its half-life is the amount of time needed for half of the drug concentration to leave your system.
  • The time that the ENTIRE drug and its active metabolite (see below for explanation) stay in your system can be MUCH longer (This is where you may run into problems with drug tests).

Valium half-life

The half-life of Valium ranges from 20 to 50 hours, which means it takes approximately 2.5 to 10 days for the body to eliminate all traces of Valium after a single dose.

It’s important to note that Valium can be detected in most employment or court-mandated drug tests.

Understanding the duration of Valium is crucial for individuals who may be at risk of Valium addiction or need to undergo a drug test.

Drug tests for Valium and detection times

Here are three common lab tests used to detect Valium:

How long does Valium stay in your urine?

Urine tests are the most commonly used and can detect Valium for one to ten days after your last dose.

Valium and its metabolites can be detected in urine, providing a reliable indication of recent Valium use.

How long does Valium stay in your blood?

Blood tests can also detect Valium, but the detection window is typically shorter than in urine, around 21 to 37 hours.

They’re commonly used in forensic and legal settings to determine recent Valium use.

Blood tests can provide quantitative measurements of Valium concentration.

How long does Valium stay in your hair?

Hair follicle tests have the longest detection window and can detect Valium for up to 90 days.

Detectable levels are highest after one to two months.

However, they’re less reliable than urine or blood tests.

It’s important to note that Valium can be detected even after the parent drug has been eliminated from the body, as its metabolites can remain in the system.

Understanding the detection time in these tests can help determine if Valium abuse or withdrawal is a concern and seek appropriate treatment if needed.

Where can you get a drug test discretely?

There is a way if you want to get tested discreetly…maybe you have an upcoming drug test at your workplace, or you have just been hired at a new job, and urine testing is required.

Or, maybe you want to get tested for peace of mind and want to know.

If you are looking for a reputable lab to get tested, then is the place for you.

Here are the reasons why you may want to consider using this service:

  • No insurance or referral required – they provide the doctor’s order or referral that the laboratories require, so your physician’s referral is not needed or required
  • No hidden fees/Affordable – when you order your test on the website, the price you see next to the lab test is what you pay! No taxes, no shipping costs, nothing!
  • Same local labs your doctor uses – all tests are done in one of more than 4,500 partnered, certified labs across the U.S.
  • Speedy results – most results are available in your own discreet, secure online account within 24-72 hours
  • Security & Privacy maintained – HIPAA law compliant, strict adherence to privacy. No one will know what test you are getting. Since you bypass your doctor, results are private and kept off your medical record!
  • Convenience – The Healthlabs website is available seven days a week, and results are uploaded to your online account daily
  • No appointment necessary – all labs are walk-in, no appointment needed! Just place your order online, print your form, and head to the testing lab nearest you!

If you are ready, you can order your incredibly inexpensive blood or urine benzodiazepine test here and get your results in 1-3 days!



In conclusion, understanding how long Valium stays in your system is important for medical and recreational use.

Different tests such as saliva, blood, urine, and hair follicle tests can detect Valium for varying durations.

Factors like age, weight, dosage, other drugs in the system, and liver and kidney health can influence how long valium stays in your system.

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