This medication is used to treat anxiety. Lorazepam belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. This drug works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA).
How to use Ativan
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking lorazepam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment
If directed by your doctor, use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.
If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures, trouble sleeping, mental/mood changes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain, hallucinations, numbness/tingling of arms and legs, muscle pain, fast heartbeat, short-term memory loss, very high fever, and increased reactions to noise/touch/light). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used lorazepam regularly for a long time (more than 1-4 weeks) or in high doses or if you have a history of alcoholism, drug abuse, or personality disorder. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.
Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Do not suddenly stop using this drug without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
See also Warning section.
Drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, headache, nausea, blurred vision, change in sexual interest/ability, constipation, heartburn, or change in appetite may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any unlikely but serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as hallucinations, depression, thoughts of suicide), slurred speech or difficulty talking, vision changes, unusual weakness, trouble walking, memory problems, signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).
Get medical help right away if you have any rare but very serious side effects, including: yellowing eyes or skin, seizures, slow/shallow breathing.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US –
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking lorazepam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, glaucoma, lung/breathing problems (such as sleep apnea), mental/mood disorders (such as depression, psychosis), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially loss of coordination and drowsiness. Also, the elderly may not experience relief of anxiety with lorazepam. It may have the opposite effect on the elderly, causing symptoms including mental/mood changes, sleeping problems, increase in sexual interest, or hallucinations. Loss of coordination, drowsiness, and sleeping problems may increase the risk of falling.
Children may not experience relief of anxiety with lorazepam. It may have the opposite effect on children, causing symptoms including agitation, shaking, or hallucinations.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Tell the doctor right away if you notice symptoms in your newborn baby such as slowed breathing, feeding problems, or constant crying. Consult your doctor for more details.
This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also Warning section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: clozapine, kava, sodium oxybate (also known as gamma hydroxybutyrate or GHB).
The risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness) may be increased if this medication is taken with other products that may also cause drowsiness or breathing problems. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), other drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include confusion, slow reflexes, clumsiness, deep sleep, and loss of consciousness.
Lifestyle changes such as starting a stress reduction program may increase the effectiveness of this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Do not share this medication with others. Sharing it is against the law.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood counts, liver function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose and are taking more than 1 dose daily, do not take it if it is almost time for the next dose. Instead, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up. If you take it once daily at bedtime and miss a dose, do not take it the following morning. Call your doctor to find out what to do.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.