Ativan Quick Facts

Ativan is used for the short-term treatment of anxiety, insomnia, acute seizures including status epilepticus and sedation of hospitalized patients, as well as sedation of aggressive patients.

Other Brand Names:Temesta, Alzapam, Lora
Generic Name: Lorazepam

Primary Uses:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Other Uses:

  • Acute seizures
  • Sedation
  • Recreational (ILLEGAL)

Availability: Lorazepam is available in 0.5-mg, 1-mg, and 2-mg tablets and in an injectable form.

Contraindications:

  • Allergy or hypersensitivity
  • Severe respiratory failure
  • Acute intoxication
  • Ataxia
  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pregnancy and breast feeding

Side Effects:

  • confusion, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • hyperactivity, agitation, hostility
  • hallucinations
  • feeling light-headed, fainting.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness
  • blurred vision
  • sleep problems (insomnia)
  • muscle weakness, lack of balance or coordination
  • amnesia or forgetfulness, trouble concentrating
  • nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • appetite changes
  • skin rash

Black Box Warnings: In the United Kingdom, Ativan has carried a “black box” warning for decades.  In the United States, it has not.   You should not take Ativan if you have sleep apnea as it can be fatal.

Metabolized: Liver
Excreted: Kidneys
Half-life: 10-20 hours

Withdrawal Effects:

Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, restlessness, confusion, irritability, sweating, dysphoria, dizziness, derealization, depersonalization, numbness/tingling of extremities, hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smell, perceptual distortions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, hallucinations, delirium, seizures, tremor, stomach cramps, myalgia, agitation, palpitations, tachycardia, panic attacks, short-term memory loss, and hyperthermia. It takes approximately 18–36 hours for the benzodiazepine to remove itself from the body.

The risk and severity of withdrawal is increased with long-term use, use of high doses, abrupt or over-rapid reduction, among other factors. Short-acting benzodiazepines such as lorazepam are more likely to cause a more severe withdrawal syndrome compared to longer-acting benzodiazepines.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorazepam

http://www.drugs.com/ativan.html

 

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