Ativan (lorazepam) belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Ativan affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety.
Ativan is used to treat anxiety disorders.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Ativan if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- myasthenia gravis; or
- a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine (such as alprazolam or Xanax, clonazepam or Klonopin, diazepam or Valium, 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 (Ativan may make these symptoms worse);
- 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.
You should not use Ativan if you have narrow-angle glaucoma or myasthenia gravis, or if you are allergic to similar medicines (including alprazolam or Xanax, clonazepam or Klonopin, diazepam or Valium, and others).
Do not use lorazepam if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn.
What should I avoid while taking Ativan?
Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur.
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;
- worsening sleep problems;
- sudden restless feeling or excitement;
- muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, or 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.
NOTE: Side effects, especially drowsiness and unsteadiness, tend to worsen with increasing age.
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.