Ativan, which is the trade name for Lorazepam, is a highly potent benzodiazepine that is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The anti-anxiety medication may also be used for other health conditions like alcohol withdrawal, seizures, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. The drug may also be prescribed off-label for other purposes. Ativan comes under schedule class IV due to its mild potential for abuse.

What is the way that Ativan works?

The fast-acting Ativan medication works by enhancing the effects of GABA. The effects of the benzodiazepine help to produce calmness and also sedation. The onset of action occurs quickly and last for about ten to twelve hours. The action and effects of the drug last according to the dosage consumed. The drug may not cure the condition being treated but is useful in getting the symptoms under control while other treatment methods are used.

Dosage information

Ativan is available in the form of compressed tablets that can be taken in any of the dosage strengths 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg. The dosage is always individualized according to the severity of the health issue and also the response to the drug. Multiple doses may be taken in a day, but the maximum recommended dose in a day is 10mg. The dosage should be increased gradually based on the need, as the drug can easily cause tolerance, dependence, and addiction. The anxiety med should be taken for the short-term. Get the doctor’s help while stopping the drug to taper the dose instead of doing so abruptly or there can be unpleasant side effects.

How to use Ativan effectively?

The Ativan medication can be taken effectively if all the instructions of the healthcare provider are followed. The drug should be taken only in the prescribed dose without modifying it on your own and also only for the course duration advised. Inform the doctor right away if the drug is not as effective as expected.

Do not share the pills with any person not prescribed to take the drug even if the symptoms are similar. Ativan is habit-forming and therefore easily abused.

What to do if I miss a dose?

If the dose is missed, take it as soon as you remember to do so unless it is closer to the time for the next dose then you can skip it entirely. Do not take more medication just to make up for the missed dose.

What to do in case of overdose?

An overdose of Ativan can be fatal, so call the emergency medical services right away. Symptoms of overdose include confusion, extreme drowsiness, light-headedness, and muscle weakness.

Important information

  • Avoid taking Ativan if you are allergic to Lorazepam, have glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Tell the doctor all the health conditions that you have so that the drug does not affect you adversely.
  • Ativan should not be administered to someone who is below the age of 18.
  • Pregnant and breast-feeding women should not take the anxiety pills or the baby can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
  • Alcohol consumption is not recommended while using this drug.

Adverse effects

Common side effects

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble with memory
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness

Severe side effects

  • Changes in vision
  • Signs of jaundice
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness

Interactions with other drugs

Inform the doctor of all drugs being taken to prevent any adverse interactions with Ativan. Some drugs to be watched out for are muscle relaxants, prescription cough medicine, other anxiety drugs, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, sleeping pills, and narcotic painkillers.


The pills should be stored in a place that is away from sources of heat, light, and moisture. Keep track of the number of pills consumed so you know if anyone is abusing it. The drug should be placed in a locked cabinet out of reach of children and pets.


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