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What is lorazepam (Ativan)?
Lorazepam is used for the management of anxiety disorders, the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression. The effectiveness of lorazepam and other benzodiazepines has not been adequately studied for treatment beyond 4 months. Lorazepam is effective for insomnia, panic attacks, and is used in combination with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. Lorazepam also is administered before anesthesia and used for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal.
How does it work?
Lorazepam (Ativan) is thought that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may cause anxiety and other psychological disorders. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another that reduces the activity of nerves in the brain. It is thought that lorazepam and other benzodiazepines may act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain to reduce activity. Because lorazepam is removed from the blood more rapidly than many other benzodiazepines, there is less chance that lorazepam concentrations in blood will reach high levels and become toxic. Lorazepam also has fewer interactions with other medications than most of the other benzodiazepines.
DOSING: The dose of lorazepam is tailored to the patients needs. The usual dose for treating anxiety is 2-3 mg/day given in two or three divided doses. Insomnia is treated with 2-4 mg given at bedtime.
Lorazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs, the same family that includes:
What are the uses for lorazepam?
Ativan (lorazepam) is used for the management of anxiety disorders, the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression.
Ativan is effective for panic attacks, short-term and long-term treatment of insomnia and is used in combination with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy.
Ativan also is administered before anesthesia for sedation and used for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal.
It also is used for treating seizures (status epilepticus)
What are the side effects of lorazepam?
The most common side effects associated with Ativan are:
Other side effects include:
A feeling of depression
Loss of orientation
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Impotence (erectile dysfunction, ED)
Changes in appetite
Possible serious side effects include:
Like all benzodiazepines, Ativan can cause physical dependence. Suddenly stopping therapy after a few months of daily therapy may be associated with a feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and insomnia. If Ativan is taken continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and sweating.