Diazepam Rectal Gel (Diastat)®

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Your child’s healthcare provider or doctor has recommended Diastat® to help control some of your child’s seizures (Picture 1). It can be given by parents or other caregivers who know the child’s seizure patterns. This medicine is used as an easy and painless way to help control cluster seizures or stop prolonged seizures. Cluster seizures are also called acute repetitive seizures. During a cluster seizure, one seizure ends and another follows soon after. Prolonged seizures are seizures that last longer than 5 minutes. Both cluster and prolonged seizures are hard to stop and often result in a trip to the Emergency Room (ER).

By giving Diastat, you may be able to stop the seizure and avoid a trip to the ER. The seizures should stop in 5 minutes after giving Diastat. If they continue after 5 minutes, call 911. If your child has had a reaction to diazepam (Valium®) liquid or tablets in the past, talk with the health care provider before using Diastat. 

When to call 911 for Emergency Help

Call 911 for help if your child:

  • Has a seizure lasting more than 5 minutes after giving Diastat.
  • Has seizures that are more severe or happen more than before. 
  • Looks gray or blue in color and their breathing is shallow. 
  • Has any of these signs of an allergic reaction:
    • Trouble breathing 
    • Swelling of the tongue, hands, feet or ankles 

Why Diastat is Given by Rectum

When your child is having a seizure, it may be hard to take medicines by mouth. A pill might cause choking. Other types of medicine must be given by a medical professional, but Diastat can be given by other caregivers. When medicine is given rectally, it is absorbed into the child’s system very quickly (Picture 1).

Safety and Storage

  • Diastat does not need to be refrigerated. Do not keep it in a place that gets really hot or cold.
  • When you no longer need this medicine, flush the extra medicine in the syringe down the sink or toilet. Then, throw the syringe away in the trash. See special instructions below:
    • For the 25 mg syringe, hold the syringe over the sink or toilet and push the plunger all the way down to squirt out the medicine. Flush or rinse it down the toilet or sink.
    • For other strengths, pull up on the plunger so it comes all the way out of the syringe. Hold the syringe over the sink or toilet. Push the plunger back into the syringe until it stops. Flush or rinse the gel down the toilet or sink.

Possible Side Effects

The most common side effect of Diastat is sleepiness. Other side effects may include:

  • Skin rash 
  • Headache 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Feeling unsteady or clumsy
  • Nervousness 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Wheezing 

How to Give Diastat 

Diazepam Rectal Gel (PDF)

HH-V-162             ©2004, Revised 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital