Vaginal Diazepam for Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: The Pharmacokinetic Profile

J Sex Med. 2019 Jun;16(6):763-766. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.03.003. Epub 2019 Apr 19.


Background: Vaginal diazepam is frequently used to treat pelvic floor tension myalgia and pelvic pain despite limited knowledge of systemic absorption.

Aim: To determine the pharmacokinetic and adverse event profile of diazepam vaginal suppositories.

Methods: We used a prospective pharmacokinetic design with repeated assessments of diazepam levels. Eight healthy volunteers were administered a 10-mg compounded vaginal diazepam suppository in the outpatient gynecologic clinic. Serum samples were collected at 0, 45, 90, 120, and 180 minutes; 8, 24, and 72 hours; and 1 week following administration of a 10-mg vaginal suppository. The occurrence of adverse events was assessed using the alternate step and tandem walk tests, the Brief Confusion Assessment Method, and numerical ratings. Plasma concentrations of diazepam and active long-acting metabolites were measured. Pharmacokinetic parameters were calculated by standard noncompartmental methods.

Results: The mean peak diazepam concentration (Cmax) of 31.0 ng/mL was detected at a mean time (Tmax) of 3.1 hours after suppository placement. The bioavailability was found to be 70.5%, and the mean terminal elimination half-life was 82 hours. The plasma levels of temazepam and nordiazepam peaked at 0.8 ng/mL at 29 hours and 6.4 ng/mL at 132 hours, respectively. Fatigue was reported by 3 of 8 participants.

Clinical implications: Serum plasma concentrations of vaginally administered diazepam are low; however the half-life is prolonged.

Strengths & limitations: Strengths include use of inclusion and exclusion criteria aimed at mitigating clinical factors that could adversely impact diazepam absorption and metabolism, and the use of an ultrasensitive LC-MS/MS assay. Limitations included the lack of addressing the efficacy of vaginal diazepam in lieu of performing a pure pharmacokinetic study with healthy participants.

Conclusion: Vaginal administration of diazepam results in lower peak serum plasma concentration, longer time to peak concentration, and lower bioavailability than standard oral use. Providers should be aware that with diazepam's long half-life, accumulating levels would occur with chronic daily doses, and steady-state levels would not be reached for up to 1 week. This profile would favor intermittent use to allow participation in physical therapy and intimacy. Larish AM, Dickson RR, Kudgus RA, et al. Vaginal Diazepam for Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: The Pharmacokinetic Profile. J Sex Med 2019;16;763-766.

Keywords: Chronic Pelvic Pain; Diazepam; Dyspareunia; Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction; Pelvic Floor Dysfunction; Pelvic Pain.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Chronic Pain / blood
  • Chronic Pain / drug therapy
  • Diazepam / administration & dosage
  • Diazepam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dyspareunia / blood
  • Dyspareunia / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / administration & dosage
  • Muscle Relaxants, Central / pharmacokinetics*
  • Myalgia / blood
  • Myalgia / drug therapy
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / blood
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Pelvic Pain / blood
  • Pelvic Pain / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Suppositories
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Young Adult


  • Muscle Relaxants, Central
  • Suppositories
  • Diazepam