Last updated on 11/22/2020
What is Ativan?
Ativan, also available under the generic name lorazepam, is a prescription medication that helps treat anxiety disorder and seizure disorder.
This medicine belongs to the benzodiazepine category of drugs, which means it works by altering the brian’s chemical composition. When you consume Ativan, it reaches your brain and triggers GABA release, a neurotransmitter responsible for carrying information between neurons.
When the GABA level falls, the messages accumulate in the brain, making a person feel anxious. This drug helps enhance GABA’s effects and speed up the informing flow. By clearing the information, blockage Ativan induces a feeling of calm and relaxation.
Because of how this medication alters the brain’s functioning, it can be habit-forming, so FDA controls its distribution and allows its sale only through a licensed pharmacy. Also, the person willing to purchase it should have a doctor’s prescription for Ativan.
Avoid using this medicine if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, severe respiratory insufficiency, or allergies to Valium or similar drugs.
Try not to use Ativan during pregnancy. This medicine can cause congenital disabilities or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn kid.
This medicine can be habit-forming, so you should only use it if your doctor prescribes it. Abusing Ativan can cause addiction, overdose, or even death. Avoid sharing this medicine with others, especially if they have a history of substance abuse or addiction. Keep your medicine in at a place where people, especially children, couldn’t get to it.
Mixing Ativan with alcohol, opioid medications, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow down the breathing can result in fatal side effects.
What to know before taking Ativan?
Avoid using Ativan if you have the following medical problems:
- Narrow-angle glaucoma
- A history of an allergic reaction to benzodiazepines
Also, make sure to ask a doctor about this drug’s safety if you have the following health conditions:
- Kidney or liver disease
- Mood problems
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Breathing problems
If you use this medication while pregnant, the unborn child could become dependent on it, causing severe withdrawal symptoms at birth. Kids born addicted to habit-forming drugs need several weeks of medical treatment.
Avoid breastfeeding while you are consuming Ativan.
This medication is not suitable for people younger than 12 years old.
How to take Ativan?
Consume this medicine as prescribed by the doctor. Try following the prescription label and read the mediation guides you get with the drug. Avoid using Ativan in more than the recommended amounts or for longer than the prescribed duration. Inform the doctor if you get an increased urge to take more of this medicine.
This medicine can be habit-forming, which means if you use it for an extended period, you can become addicted to it. There is a high probability of overdose and death occurring from this drug if not used carefully. Also, giving away Ativan to anyone is against the law.
Try not to consume this medication for longer than four months unless your doctor advises you. Let the doctor know if your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
If you use Ativan for an extended period, you might have to undergo frequent medical examinations. Avoid abruptly stopping the use of this medicine because that can result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Try keeping this medicine at room temperature, far from moisture and heat. Also, keep track of your drug intake, as it will help you know if anyone else is using your medicine without your knowledge. Tracking intake will also help you to prevent an overdose.
Doctors prescribe an adequate amount of Ativan to treat anxiety and seizures, depending on various factors, including:
- The problem to treat
- Patient’s age
- The severity of the condition
- Other drugs the patient is consuming
- Other medical issues that the patient might have
- How the patient reacts to the mediation
A doctor recommends the best dose depending on these variables, so it is crucial to stick to the prescribed quantity and not alter the medicine intake.
The typical Ativan dosage is as per the following:
- The initial dose is 2mg-3mg.
- Take the medication orally 2-3 times a day.
- The maintenance dose is 1-2mg orally 2-3 times a day.
Insomnia due to anxiety
- Start with 2-4mg of the medicine.
- Take it orally at bedtime
- The doctor might increase or decrease the quantity depending on the body’s reaction.
An Ativan overdose can cause the following symptoms to occur:
- Difficulty breathing
- Low blood pressure
If you encounter these dangerous signs after taking the drug, call a doctor, or seek help from the Poison Control Centres by calling at 800-222-1222. If the symptoms start to become severe, don’t waste any time visiting the nearest ER or reach 911 if you cannot go on your own.
What to avoid while using Ativan?
This medicine can make a person dizzy, causing them to lose focus. So, try not to drive or do any hazardous work that requires proper concentration, like operating heavy machinery. Wait out the effects of this medicine to avoid falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
Ativan side effects
Similar to any medication, Ativan can also result in some adverse effects. Try being careful while using this drug because the side effects usually result from improper use. However, you might also face side effects if you use it as instructed, and not everyone who consumes this drug will experience its undesirable effects.
Inform the doctor if you come across any of the following symptoms during your treatment period.
Common side effects
Serious side effects
- Slowed breathing
- Respiratory failure
- Body aches
- Muscle weakness
- Severe allergic reactions
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling of lips, face, or tongue
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of coordination
These adverse effects can turn life-threatening if not treated timely. Try not to wait for them to get worse before seeking medical assistance.
What drugs can interact with Ativan?
When consuming Ativan, make sure not to mix it with medications that cause the breathing to slow down or makes you sleepy. Mixing it with those drugs can cause severe side effects, even death in some cases. Try taking to a healthcare professional before using an opioid pain killer, muscle relaxer, sleeping pills, cough mediations, or depression or seizure drugs if you are using Ativan.
Inform the doctor about all the medicinal intake, especially:
- Valproic acid
In addition to these drugs, Ativan can also adversely interact with vitamin and herbal supplements.