Precautions for Benzodiazepine Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan, known by the generic name lorazepam, is an anti-anxiety drug in the benzodiazepine family. It has a sedative or sedative effect on the central nervous system.

Its effect is similar to other drugs in the family, such as Valium (Diazepam), Xanax (Alprazolam), and Librium (Chlordiazepine).


Ativan is approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety and short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Ativan is also used to treat anxiety related to depression.

Ativan is no Designed to be used for anxiety related to the stress and worries of daily life.

Examples of anxiety disorders that Ativan uses to treat include:

Ativan is also often used for short periods in other situations. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • agitation
  • Tremor and meditation
  • catatonia
  • Alcohol treatment
  • Treatment of spastic diseases and other types of muscle spasms, such as those in patients with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis
  • Certain types of seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy


As with all benzodiazepines, long-term use of Ativan may cause physical and/or psychological dependence (see below), especially when used at higher doses for longer periods of time. Patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse may also be abused. People with a history of alcohol or drug problems should be closely monitored while using Ativan.

Since Ativan is a central nervous system depressant, the usual warnings about not driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how the drug affects you apply. In a study, it was found that Ativan has even more impact on driving than alcohol.

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In addition, if you have liver or kidney problems, your doctor should closely monitor the effects of Ativan, as you may not be able to metabolize the drug effectively. This is also true for people with any breathing problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or sleep apnea. Medicines such as Ativan can affect breathing. This may be a separate problem, but especially when Ativan is used in combination with other central nervous system depressants (such as painkillers or alcohol).

In the end, Ativan may cause a contradictory reaction, which causes a person to become more agitated, not less. This is more common in children and the elderly.

Can Ativan be taken during pregnancy?

Ativan is not recommended for use during pregnancy. In addition, Ativan is secreted in breast milk and should not be taken by breastfeeding mothers unless it is believed that the benefits of taking the drug outweigh the risks to the baby.

Possible interaction

Patients taking other drugs that suppress the central nervous system should use Ativan with caution. These include:

  • alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Antipsychotics
  • Other benzodiazepines and sedatives (it is important to note that many people inadvertently receive more than one benzodiazepine treatment without realizing this)
  • Antidepressants
  • Allergy medicines that make you drowsy
  • Narcotic analgesics, such as Vicodin
  • Anticonvulsants (many of which are used as mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder)
  • Anesthetic
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side effect

Ativan suppresses or calms the nervous system. The most common side effects are sedation, dizziness, weakness, instability, and cognitive changes.

Other Ativan side effects are possible-this list is not all inclusive. If you have any concerns or new symptoms while taking Ativan, please consult your doctor.


Some people who stop taking Ativan may experience withdrawal symptoms, especially if they use them in high enough doses for several weeks or longer. Unlike many drugs, withdrawal from Ativan can be very serious and even lead to death. If you use benzodiazepines for more than a few weeks, be sure to consult your doctor, even if you get a prescription from a different doctor.

Gradually reducing the dose of Ativan, rather than stopping suddenly, can help eliminate or minimize any potential withdrawal symptoms. Again, it is very important that you should never stop using benzodiazepines (even if they are obtained illegally) without talking to a healthcare provider. Your doctor can design a withdrawal schedule that allows you to quit medication without endangering your health or life.

Even if you quit Ativan, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you have been taking it for a while.

Possible withdrawal symptoms of Ativan include:

  • irritability
  • Rebound anxiety-Rebound anxiety is a very important symptom that needs attention, because many people start using Ativan to relieve anxiety from the beginning. If you develop anxiety symptoms shortly after reducing the dose or completely stopping the medication, this may be a withdrawal symptom instead of your anxiety recurring.
  • Difficulty sleeping-insomnia is very common when quitting from Ativan. Discuss with your doctor about the treatment of insomnia so that you don’t get discouraged.
  • Seizures
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Addiction and dependence

Addiction and dependence on benzodiazepines are all too common, even if these drugs are prescribed for clear medical reasons. It is believed that 20% to 30% of people who use drugs such as Ativan for a long time develop dependence.

Although withdrawal from drugs such as anesthetics can be very uncomfortable, they are rarely fatal, but withdrawal from benzodiazepines carries many risks, including death.

Learn more about addiction and dependence on benzodiazepines (such as Ativan).

Manage your prescription

If used for the right purpose, Ativan can provide great relief. If your doctor prescribes it, please discuss any concerns you have and make sure all your questions are answered.

If your doctor prescribes this medicine, it is likely to have clear indications for use. Having said that, there are still times when it may be improperly regulated. Your best option is to become your own health care advocate and carefully consider the possible benefits and side effects of any medications you use.


Precautions for Benzodiazepine Ativan (Lorazepam)
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