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Ativan (Lorazepam)

What is Ativan? Ativan, also called lorazepam, is used to control anxiety in adults, young adults, and teens. Ativan is part of a group of medications called benzodiazepines and can also be prescribed as part of a treatment plan for alcoholism, to curb the nausea associated with cancer treatments, and to help treat insomnia or other sleep-related issues. Ativan comes in a tablet or a concentrated liquid form; the liquid concentrate can be dissolved in a beverage, pudding, or applesauce if needed. A doctor can help patients determine which type of Ativan is best for them. Ativan is usually taken two or three times per day and should be taken exactly as directed.


Important Information Before Use:

  • Ativan can be habit forming and is usually taken for only a short period of time.
  • If you have or have ever had a heart attack or heart disease, glaucoma, seizures, kidney disease, or liver disease, you should talk to your doctor before you take Ativan.
  • If you are over age sixty-five, work with your doctor to find the correct dosage of Ativan for you; you may need to use an alternative treatment or medication for your condition.
  • Ativan may interact with other medications or supplements, including antihistamines, antidepressants, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and more. If you are taking any other prescription drugs or supplements, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Ativan.

Important Information During Use:

  • Let your doctor know right away if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Ativan; this medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
  • Ativan can make you extremely drowsy; using alcohol with Ativan can worsen this side effect.
  • Smoking or using tobacco products can reduce the effectiveness of this medication.
  • Tell your doctor, dentist, or surgeon that you are taking Ativan before you have any type of surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Ativan overdose is a medical emergency and should be treated right away. Symptoms of Ativan overdose include extreme drowsiness, low blood pressure, speech problems, loss of consciousness, slowed heart rate, and death.
  • If you experience serious or severe side effects from Ativan, you should call your doctor immediately.


Ativan Side Effects


  • Irregular or fast heartbeat
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Fever
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Shaking, tremors, inability to sit still, or shuffling walk
  • Yellowed eyes or skin

Less Serious:

  • Drowsiness, tiredness, or weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness or nervousness
  • Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Change in sex drive or ability
  • Difficult or frequent urination
  • Blurry vision

Since Ativan can cause dependency issues, you should talk to your doctor before reducing or discontinuing this medication; you should not stop taking Ativan abruptly. You can reduce the symptoms you feel during withdrawal by slowly tapering off of Ativan over time.

Possible Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, restlessness, or irritability
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Confusion, hallucinations, or personality changes
  • Tiredness or dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat


Comparing Ativan

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Last Update: 02-20-2013


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