Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. It works by increasing the effects of a natural chemical in the brain called GABA, which has calming effects.
Uses of Ativan
- Anxiety: Ativan is used to treat short-term anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It can also be used to treat anxiety associated with medical conditions, such as social anxiety disorder and pre-surgery anxiety.
- Insomnia: Ativan is used to treat short-term insomnia. It is not recommended for long-term use for insomnia, as it can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
- Seizures: Ativan is used to treat status epilepticus, which is a type of seizure that does not stop on its own. It can also be used to prevent seizures before surgery or other medical procedures.
Side effects of Ativan
The most common side effects of Ativan are drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of coordination. Other possible side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Mood changes
- Behavioral changes
Serious side effects of Ativan
Serious side effects of Ativan are rare, but can include:
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Drug interactions of Ativan
Ativan can interact with other medications, including other benzodiazepines, opioids, alcohol, and antidepressants. These interactions can lead to serious side effects, such as overdose and death. It is important to tell your doctor about all of the medications that you are taking before starting Ativan.
Warnings and precautions
Ativan is habit-forming and should only be used as prescribed by your doctor. It is important to avoid taking more than the prescribed dose and to avoid taking Ativan for longer than the prescribed duration. Taking Ativan for longer than prescribed can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Ativan should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It can also be harmful to people with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, and respiratory problems. It is important to talk to your doctor about whether Ativan is safe for you to take.
If you are experiencing any side effects from Ativan, or if you have any questions about the medication, be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.