Everything You Need to Know About Lorazepam
Updated on January 6, 2023 | by Steffi Stark
Lorazepam is a drug with several uses. It can relieve anxiety, help with insomnia, treat seizures, and help people cope with alcohol withdrawal.
Lorazepam is also known as Ativan. Understanding the potential side effects of Ativan can help patients make informed decisions about their health.
How Does the Drug Work?
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. This drug class works by raising the levels of a particular brain chemical. The active ingredient GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) helps patients feel calm.
What are the Uses of Lorazepam?
This drug can help patients with several conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, seizure disorders, and alcohol withdrawal.
These conditions can severely impact a patient’s life. The doctor should consider the drug’s side effects before prescribing lorazepam.
Side Effects of Lorazepam
Patients shouldn’t take Lorazepam without understanding its possible side effects.
Common Side Effects
These side effects can happen to as many as 1 of 100 people who take the drug:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Coordination and movement difficulties
- Muscle weakness
Serious Side Effects
Contact a doctor right away if you notice signs of these severe side effects.
If you experience shallow or slow breathing, you should receive medical attention. You may not get enough oxygen, especially while asleep.
Yellowed skin or eyes may point toward a liver problem. Call your doctor right away if you notice this happening.
Elderly and young patients may experience sudden mood changes, aggressiveness, and irritability.
Uncontrolled falls may happen in all age groups but are particularly dangerous for seniors who may fracture a hip or incur a head injury.
Finally, patients must call emergency services if they have any thoughts of harming themselves or others.
Ativan is habit-forming and may cause or aggravate a substance use disorder. Doctors should use it with care in patients predisposed to addiction or drug misuse.
In What form is the Drug?
Lorazepam comes in tablets, liquid, and injections. Injections are the fastest-acting.
How Long Should I Take the Drug?
Lorazepam is best as a short-term medication for severe insomnia or anxiety. Other medications are better for long-term management because they have fewer side effects.
Generally, you can take it for about four weeks for sleep disorders or anxiety. If you need it before surgery or a dental procedure, you should only need two single doses.
How Long Does Lorazepam Take to Work, and How Long Does It Last?
The drug takes between 20 to 30 minutes in liquid or tablet form to start working. It will have its most significant sedating effect within an hour and a half. Lorazepam’s effects last for about 6 to 8 hours.
How will I Feel After Taking Lorazepam?
The medicine will calm you and make you feel less anxious. The drug should bring speedy relief if you have insomnia or can’t fall asleep.
Can I Drive While Using Ativan?
No, don’t get behind the wheel after taking Ativan. Ideally, wait until the next day to drive. Allow the drug to wear off completely before driving, riding a bicycle, or operating machinery.
Food and Drinks to Avoid While Taking Lorazepam
It is best to avoid grapefruit products while taking Lorazepam. The fruit causes a higher concentration of lorazepam in the bloodstream and can lead to increased side effects.
Patients should not use alcohol while taking Lorazepam. The drugs taken together may cause a night of very deep sleep, and breathing problems could happen.
Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, and chocolate) while taking Lorazepam. Its stimulant effect could cancel out some of the drug’s calming effects.
Also Read: Medical Apps For Doctors
Who should Not Take Lorazepam?
Anyone with low blood protein (albumin) should steer clear of Lorazepam. Another group that shouldn’t take the drug is people who misuse substances.
People with asthma, liver disease, or sleep apnea must avoid Lorazepam. The drug is also not safe for pregnant women and their babies.
Doctors should carefully consider their options before prescribing Lorazepam to seniors due to fall risks.
Lorazepam or Ativan is helpful for patients with severe anxiety, seizures, or epilepsy. However, the drug is easy to misuse. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for when you should take it and for how long. Check on your pre-existing conditions to ensure the drug is safe for you.