What is Valium, this medication taken in high doses by Céline Dion to relieve her pain?

Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: Valerie Macon / AFP
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5:33 p.m., June 17, 2024

“Very dangerous medications” that she admitted to having taken in excess. Sunday evening, in an interview with journalist Anne-Claire Coudray on TF1, singer Céline Dion returned to her fight against stiff person syndrome, an illness from which she suffers and which kept her away from the stage for many years. long months.

To relieve this autoimmune pathology, which causes spasms, intense pain and difficulty moving, the artist says he resorted to a host of drug treatments, including taking “Valium”, even before his illness. is not officially diagnosed. “At the beginning, it helped a little. But very quickly, the doses had to increase,” admitted the singer, sometimes short of solutions to relieve the pain.

A risk of dependence

Valium is described by Vidal, a reference site for health products, as an “anxiolytic (tranquillizer) from the benzodiazepine family”. Used, among other things, to fight against anxiety “when it is accompanied by annoying disorders (generalized anxiety, anxiety attacks, etc.)” but also in the context of alcohol withdrawal, it also makes it possible to treat convulsions, especially in children.

But like any medication, it carries risks of dependence, especially if taken for a long time. An increased danger “in people who have already been dependent on other medications, substances or alcohol”. During an interview broadcast on Wednesday, June 11 on NBC News, Celine Dion revealed that she had taken up to 90 milligrams of Valium to last until the end of a show, while the recommended dosage rarely exceeds 15 milligrams per day. .

“Don’t suffer alone”

Furthermore, Valium also has several undesirable effects: “feeling drunk, headaches, drowsiness (especially in the elderly), slowing down of ideas, fatigue, feeling of muscle weakness, decreased libido, rash with or without itching, double vision”, lists Vidal. This medication must be ingested on medical prescription. “The duration of prescription of anxiolytics must be as short as possible. In certain situations, the treatment must however be prolonged. It is then up to the doctor to periodically reassess the need to continue or interrupt it”, indicates Vidal.

Reason why the 56-year-old singer called on her audience to be vigilant. “Don’t experience pain alone. (…) Agree to talk about it, but also to consult. Don’t suffer alone,” she urged. However, she announced her desire to return to the stage soon, more than a year and a half after her last appearance. A highly anticipated documentary dedicated to the Quebec artist and named I am: Celine Dion will be released on June 25 on Amazon Prime Video.

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