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Information About Your Medication: Lorazepam Also Known As Ativan

Updated on February 8, 2017

Lorazepam (Ativan) Ingredients

Active Ingredient

  • Lorazepam

Inactive Ingredients

  • Lactose Monohydrate (a natural sugar found in milk)
  • Magnesium Stearate (a type of Magnesium salt)
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose (a refined wood pulp)
  • Polacrilin Potassium (an ion exchange resin)

What Kind of Drug is Lorazepam (Ativan)?

Lorazepam belongs to a family of medication known as the Benzodiazepines (aka Benzo's). These medications on a common type of psychoactive drug that are quite effective in short term use.

However, long term use has been known to cause the potential for tolerance. Causing the medication to be no longer effective, requiring it to be continuously increased until it can no longer be increased anymore. It also runs the risk of the patient becoming dependent on the medication. Increasing their usage of the medication and possibly making it very difficult to stop using the medication.


What is Lorazepam (Ativan) Used For?

Lorazepam's most common use is for the treatment of anxiety.

Lorazepam may also be used for (off label uses) treatment of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. Alcohol withdrawal, restless leg syndrome, insomnia or seizure disorders.

Do not take Lorazepam for anything other than the reason it has been prescribed to you.

How Does Lorazepam (Ativan) Work?

Lorazepam works on the central nervous system (this medication enters your brain).

Your brain is full of neurons (nerve cells). These neurons are like little highways for information to travel on. A neurotrasmitter is a chemical substance (or the car on the highway carrying information) that travels along these neurons delivering information throughout the brain and telling the body what it should or should not be doing.

Between these chemical highways are what are called synapses (basically a small space. Let's refer to these synapses as a bridge. And on either side of the bridge are what are called receptors. These receptors are what basically receive the information that is crossing the bridge.

The receptors that are responsible for anxiety are called GABA receptors (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Lorazepam tells the GABA receptors that the person is feeling anxious and that they need to calm down. These GABA receptors then release more GABA (a neurotransmitter) into the brain helping to balance the brain chemicals and resulting in a calming effect.

So basically what happens here is the person begins to feel very anxious (they have a dentist appointment in an hour). This person then takes a lorazepam to help calm their nerves. The Lorazepam travels throughout the body and into the brain.

Lorazepam talks to the GABA receptors in the brain and says that we need to fix this anxiety problem. The GABA receptors send out their little cars full of this information given to them by the Lorazepam and head down the highways (neurotransmitters). They cross the bridge (synapse) and are greeted by the next GABA receptor.

The message is then passed on that, "Lorazepam says we need more GABA to calm this person down". And even more cars full of information are sent out down the information highways. Resulting in a calming effect and the person feeling more relaxed about their upcoming dentist appointment.

Symptoms Of A Lorazepem Overdose

If you or someone you know may have overdosed on Lorazepam, please seek immediate care. Symptoms of an overdose may include....

  • Fainting
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Slow or Shallow Breathing
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • A Rapid, Weak Pulse
  • Increased Sweating
  • Loss of Control Over Body Movements
  • Coma
  • Death

Signs and Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction To Lorazepam

Sometimes people have an allergic reaction to the medication/s they are taking. Allergic reaction symptoms may include....

  • Hives or other rashes
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Swollen face, tongue, lips and/or throat

Please seek medical attention if you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms.

What Are The Side Effects of Lorazepam (Ativan)?

As with all medications, Lorazepam, comes with the potential of the user experiencing side effects. Possible side effects of Lorazepam are as follows.....

  • Drowsiness (common and may increase if the dose is increased)
  • Sleepiness (common and may increase if the dose is increased)
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Pain
  • Change in Appetite
  • Skin Rash
  • Forgetfulness

Signs And Symptoms of Lorazepam (Ativan) Addiction

  • You increase your dosage on your own. As the prescribed amount no longer seems strong enough.
  • Becoming secretive.
  • Running out of medication early.
  • Buying the medication illegally.
  • Feeling unable to function without the medication.
  • Visiting multiple health care providers to get more than one prescription.

As well as physical signs such as irritability, increased drowsiness, forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, depression, or suicidal thoughts.

Lorazepam (Ativan) Abuse

When many people hear the word "abuse" they picture someone using the medication incorrectly or without a prescription. The truth is, this medication can be abused even if it was prescribed to you and is being used correctly.

It is possible for the user to develop a tolerance to this medication, requiring a higher dose to achieve the same effects. The body may become dependent on this medication and the person may feel as though they need this medication to function or feel normal. Therefore, this medication is often ordered as needed opposed to being taken regularly. As well as often only being prescribed for a short period of time.

Lorazepam (Ativan) 0.5 mg
Lorazepam (Ativan) 0.5 mg

Frequently Asked Questions About Lorazepam (Ativan)

1. Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Lorazepam (Ativan)?

Drinking alcohol while using Lorazepam is not safe. Lorazepam increases the effects of alcohol.

2. Will I Become Addicted To Lorazepam?

Lorazepam is a common habit forming medication. And must only be used under the advice of your healthcare provider. Do not share this medication with anyone else. And do not share your medication with anyone. Only take this medication as prescribed. And do not increase the dose without your health care providers go ahead. These tips will help prevent you from becoming addicted to this medication.

3. What Is The Most Common Dosage Of Lorazepem?

Lorazepam is most commonly given orally. In the range of 2-6 mgs per day (in divided doses) for anxiety.

4. How Long Does It Take For Lorazepam To Work?

Lorazepam (when taken orally) generally takes about 20-60 minutes to work.

5. How Long Does Lorazepam Last?

Lorazepam generally lasts for 6-8 hours after a single dose.

6. Is It Possible To Overdose On Lorazepam?

Yes, only take this medication as it was prescribed to you.


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