Generic Name: lorazepam (lor-AZ-e-pam)
Brand Name: Ativan Tablet

Ativan is used for:

Treating anxiety or anxiety associated with symptoms of depression. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ativan is a benzodiazepine. It works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain. This results in a reduction in nervous tension (anxiety) and causes little sedation.

Do NOT use Ativan if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Ativan
  • you are allergic to other benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam)
  • you have narrow-angle glaucoma, psychosis, or severe liver disease
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Video: Clinical Depression & Anxiety

Hear Luna's story on how she was diagnosed with depression.

Before using Ativan:

Some medical conditions may interact with Ativan. Tell your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are taking any other medicine that causes drowsiness (eg, narcotics, some antidepressants)
  • if you have a history of lung problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]), muscle weakness or fatigue, glaucoma, liver problems, blood disorders, depression, mood or mental problems, or suicidal thoughts
  • if you have a history of drug abuse or dependence

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Ativan. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) or theophyllines because they may decrease Ativan's effectiveness
  • Clozapine, kava, loxapine, narcotic pain relievers (eg, morphine, codeine), sodium oxybate (GHB), or valproic acid because side effects, such as extreme sedation, slowed breathing, confusion, or memory problems, may occur
  • Digoxin, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), narcotic pain relievers (eg, morphine, codeine), nondepolarizing muscle relaxants (eg, vecuronium), or sodium oxybate (GHB) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Ativan
  • Nondepolarizing muscle relaxants (eg, vecuronium) because they may decrease Ativan's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Ativan may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Ativan:

Use Ativan as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Ativan by mouth with or without food.
  • If you use Ativan regularly and you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose to catch up, unless advised to by your doctor. If more than one dose is missed, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Ativan.

Important safety information:

  • Ativan may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Ativan with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Ativan without first checking with your doctor; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Ativan may be habit forming if you take Ativan in high doses or for a long time. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including liver function and complete blood counts, may be performed while you use Ativan. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Ativan with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Ativan should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Ativan has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Ativan while you are pregnant. Ativan is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Ativan.

Some people who use Ativan for a long time may develop a need to continue taking it. People who take high doses are also at risk. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction.

If you stop taking Ativan suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include agitation, anxiety, irritability, occasional seizures, or sleeplessness may occur if Ativan is suddenly stopped. If you need to stop Ativan, your doctor will lower your dose over time.

Possible side effects of Ativan:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Clumsiness; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; lightheadedness; unsteadiness; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); memory loss; mood or mental changes (eg, depression).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include clumsiness; confusion; deep sleep; loss of consciousness; slow reflexes.

Proper storage of Ativan:

Store Ativan at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Ativan out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Ativan, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ativan is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Ativan or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Ativan. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Ativan. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Ativan.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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