Does Valium show up on drug tests?

Yes, Valium shows up as a benzodiazepine and is detected in many 5-10 panel drug testing kits. In fact, urine concentrations of metabolites are detectable for several days to weeks after last use of Valium. More here on drug testing for Valium.

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Yes, Valium shows up on most urine-based drug panels.

Valium is a central nervous system depressant that is called a benzodiazepine. The main ingredient found in Valium – diazepam – is mainly used medically to relieve anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. However, Valium is a powerful psychoactive drug that can affect mood and performance.

So, why do employers and drug courts test for Valium in the blood, urine, or hair? And how long will Valium stay in your system? We review these Q&As here. Then, we invite your questions about detecting Valium in drug tests at the end.

So, why order a drug test for Valium?

As a depressant, diazepam is a moderate tranquilizer, causing sleepiness, drowsiness, confusion, and some loss of anterograde memory. At high doses, excitement, disinhibition, severe sedation, and effects on respiration occur. And because diazepam can produce a state of intoxication, employers and health care providers want to know what’s REALLY going on with you. In fact, they are looking at testing for Valium as a way to identify possible signs of Valium addiction or problems with work impairment.

Testing for psychoactive drugs is performed extensively today in work, medical, and health settings. Doctors, employers, and health professionals mainly test for Valium to detect substance use/abuse and to monitor treatment compliance. Analysis of test results provides guidance for Valium use, as well as information for program planning and performance improvement. In addition, other agencies concerned with patient progress (e.g., child welfare and criminal justice agencies) routinely request and use drug test results with patients’ informed consent.

Also, when you enter a sedative drug addiction rehab program, you can expect to be subjected to regular drug tests to confirm your adherence to the program.

Types of Valium drug tests and testing

Drug tests or drug panels (if one or more drugs is being tested) indicate if one or more prescription or illegal drugs are present in urine. These kinds of tests are typically used because they are not intrusive, are cheap, and quick to administer. Combination drug panel tests detect the presence of drugs such as:

  • amphetamines
  • benzodiazepine
  • cocaine
  • ecstasy
  • marijuana
  • methamphetamine
  • opiates

The testing is often done in two steps. First, administrators may facilitate a quick at-home test. Second, if the test suggests that drugs may be present, they would send the sample to a laboratory for additional testing. Drug panels are also called qualitative tests – they are used find out if a particular drug may be in the urine, but not how much is present.

Valium detection

Urine concentrations of metabolites are detectable for several days to weeks after last use of Valium. In fact, urine tests are the most frequent types of tests used to detect Valium.  Urinary excretion of unchanged drug is less than 1%. Further, simple interpretation of blood concentrations without any knowledge of drug-taking history is not recommended. Repeated use and variability in response mean that blood concentrations do not provide a good indication of behavioral effect. Additionally, the long half-life of diazepam may cause accumulation to occur with repeated use. Blood concentrations may be several-fold higher after chronic use compared to single use, and there are significant increases in blood levels in the elderly.

Valium cutoff levels

The administrative cutoff (or threshold) of a drug test is the point of measurement at or above which a result is considered positive and below which a result is considered negative. This level is established on the basis of the reliability and accuracy of the test and its ability to detect a drug or metabolite for a reasonable period after drug use. It is suggested that cut-off concentrations for Valium should be 20 ng/ml.

Positive drug testing for Valium

If you get a preliminary positive result for Valium, you should send the urine sample to the laboratory for a second test. It is very important to send the urine sample to the laboratory to confirm a positive at-home result because certain foods, food supplements, beverages, or medicines can affect the results of at-home tests. Laboratory tests are the most reliable way to confirm drugs of abuse.Many things can affect the accuracy of the tests, including (but not limited to):

  • other prescription or over-the-counter drugs you take before the test
  • the way you did the test
  • the way you stored the test or urine
  • what you ate or drank before taking the test

Valium testing discussion

Do you still have questions about testing for Valium? Please share with us your experience or questions in the comments section below. We are interested in hearing from you and will do our best to respond to all legitimate queries with a prsonal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: FDA: Valium
NHTSA: Diazepam
MedlinePlus: Diazepam
NCBI: Detection of benzodiazepines in human hair by radioimmunoassay
FDA: Drugs of Abuse Home Use Test
NCBI: Guidelines for research on drugged driving
SAMHSA: Clinical drug testing in primary care
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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