Ativan - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Ativan: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Ativan?

Ativan contains the prescription medication lorazepam. It is used to manage various symptoms of anxiety disorders and for short-term treatment of anxiety in patients with depression. 

Ativan belongs to a class of medicines called benzodiazepines. It works by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter synthesised in the brain. This helps in the regulation of abnormal and excessive nerve cell activity in the brain, resulting in a feeling of relaxation and calmness.

What are the uses of Ativan?

Ativan has sedative, anti-anxiety, and anticonvulsant (used to treat fits) effects. It inhibits the movement of abnormal brain signals. This reduces stress and anxiety and produces a calming effect.

Some of the common uses of ativan are

  • Treatment of anxiety disorders
  • Short-term treatment (two to four weeks) of symptoms associated with anxiety 
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness due to anxiety or stress
  • Status epilepticus (seizures/fits that last longer than five minutes)
  • Panic disorder or panic attacks
  • As a sedative before dental or other surgical procedures
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What are the side effects of Ativan?

A few of the side effects of Ativan are

  • Drowsiness (sleepiness)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Problems with urination
  • Vision problems
  • Problems with walking
  • Tremors (involuntary body movements)
  • A severe skin rash
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes (due to liver injury)
  • Changes in sex drive
  • An irregular heartbeat

Most of these side effects do not require any treatment. They resolve themselves once you get used to this medicine.


Frequently Asked Questions about Ativan

1. What is Ativan good for?

Ativan is an anti-anxiety medication. It is administered as a short-term anxiety treatment (two to four weeks) or for anxiety-related sleeping problems. It is used as a sedative before surgery or dental procedures. It also helps with managing seizures (fits). It should not be used to treat mild to moderate anxiety in adults or anxiety and insomnia in children for more than four weeks.

2. Is Ativan hard on the kidneys?

Ativan is removed from the body through the kidneys. If your kidney function is decreased, it may result in an accumulation of ativan in your body, increasing your risk of ativan-related side effects. Long-term use of ativan may also increase your risk of kidney damage.

3. Is Ativan a narcotic?

No, Ativan is not a narcotic medication. It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of medicines. It has sedative, anti-anxiety, and anticonvulsant (used to treat fits) properties. It inhibits the movement of abnormal brain signals. This reduces stress and anxiety and helps to produce a calming effect.

4. Will Ativan help me sleep?

Yes, Ativan can help you sleep. It lowers the excess electrical activity in the brain. This results in having the effect of drowsiness or dizziness. This property of Ativan is beneficial in treating people with sleeping problems, especially insomnia (sleeplessness). This medication should be taken only on your doctor’s prescription.

5. Does Ativan lower BP?

Yes, ativan slows down your heart, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure temporarily. Your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure shoot up with anxiety, and ativan functions by slowing down overall body functions. However, as you relax, your body's functions normalise. If you use other medicines that lower your blood pressure, inform your doctor before beginning treatment with this medicine.

6. Does Ativan make you gain weight?

Yes, ativan tablets are associated with causing weight gain. It is, however, not seen in everyone and affects people in different ways. If you have noticed weight gain after starting ativan medication, try eating healthier food and exercising more frequently.

7. Can you cut Ativan in half?

No, do not cut the ativan tablet in half. Take this medicine as a whole. Do not chew the tablet in your mouth. If you want to lower the dose, these tablets have various strengths. After talking to your doctor, use the dose of this tablet that is appropriate for you.

8. Can Ativan cause heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are the unpleasant sensations of having pounding, irregular, or forceful heartbeats. Ativan is not known to cause heart palpitations when used for a short period of time as prescribed by your doctor. Long-term use of ativan may increase your risk of dependence and addiction. It may also have negative effects on your heart and may cause problems with heart rhythm and blood pressure. Hence, gradual dose reduction is recommended to avoid withdrawal symptoms

9. Why do you put Ativan under your tongue?

Ativan sublingual tablets are to be placed under the tongue to help the medicine get absorbed into the blood faster. Saliva dissolves these tablets, and they are quickly absorbed into the blood vessels under the tongue. You may start to notice its effects within 15 to 30 minutes.

10. Does Ativan hurt your liver?

No, ativan is not known to cause liver damage. However, inform your doctor if you have pre-existing liver problems before starting treatment with this medicine. Your doctor may suggest dose adjustments based on your clinical condition.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.