What is Ativan?
Ativan is used to treat anxiety disorders.
Ativan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Ativan if you have narrow-angle glaucoma or myasthenia gravis, or if you are allergic to Valium or a similar medicine.
Do not use lorazepam if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn.
Lorazepam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Ativan should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Ativan. Lorazepam can increase the effects of alcohol.
Before taking this medicine
It is dangerous to purchase Ativan on the Internet or from vendors outside the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. The sale and distribution of Ativan outside the U.S. does not comply with the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the safe use of this medication.
You should not take Ativan if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- myasthenia gravis; or
- a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, flurazepam, and others.
To make sure Ativan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- seizures or epilepsy;
- kidney or liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease);
- asthma or other breathing disorder;
- open-angle glaucoma;
- a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior;
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or
- if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.
Do not use Ativan if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects. Your baby could also become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking Ativan.
Lorazepam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Ativan.
Ativan is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
The sedative effects of lorazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking Ativan.
How should I take Ativan?
Take Ativan exactly as it was prescribed for you. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never use Ativan in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms.
Lorazepam may be habit-forming. Never share Ativan with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away Ativan is against the law.
Ativan should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medicine for longer than your doctor recommends.
Do not stop using Ativan suddenly or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including a seizure (convulsions). Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.
Call your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your anxiety symptoms.
Store Ativan at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Lorazepam is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of lorazepam can be fatal. Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, feeling light-headed, and fainting.
What should I avoid while taking Ativan?
Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur.
See also: Ativan and alcohol (in more detail)
Ativan may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Ativan side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Ativan: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- severe drowsiness;
- thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
- unusual changes in mood or behavior;
- confusion, aggression, hallucinations;
- worsened sleep problems;
- sudden restless feeling or excitement;
- muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, trouble swallowing;
- vision changes; or
- upper stomach pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common Ativan side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- slurred speech, lack of balance or coordination;
- memory problems; or
- feeling unsteady.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.