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October 21, 1974

Chromosomal Aberration Rates and Intravenously Given Diazepam: A Negative Study

Author Affiliations

From the Section on Cytogenetics, National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases (Drs. White and Tjio) and the Anesthesiology Section, National Institute of Dental Research (Drs. Driscoll and Smilack), Bethesda, Md. Dr. Smilack is now in private practice in Atlanta.

JAMA. 1974;230(3):414-417. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240030032021

Previous studies of the effects of diazepam (Valium) on human chromosomes have given conflicting results. To resolve this problem, chromosome analysis was done on the peripheral blood of 20 healthy young adults, sampled both before and after a single 12- to 20-mg intravenous dose of diazepam. All subjects were oral surgery research patients of the National Institute of Dental Research. The mean percentages of chromosomal aberrations per person showed no significant increase during the immediate and sevenday period after use of the drug. While the experimental design of the study was complicated by the use of other drugs to control pain, it could be concluded that no genetic damage as measured by chromosomal analysis was detected following a single therapeutic dose of diazepam.

(JAMA 230:414-417, 1974)