Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 15, 2023.
Risks From Concomitant Use With Opioids; Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction; and Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions:
Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation.
The use of benzodiazepines, including lorazepam, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing lorazepam and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction.
The continued use of benzodiazepines for several days to weeks may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Although lorazepam injection is indicated only for intermittent use, if used more frequently than recommended, abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of lorazepam injection may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. For patients using lorazepam injection more frequently than recommended, to reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue lorazepam injection .
Uses for lorazepam
Lorazepam injection is used before certain medical procedures, including surgery, to relieve anxiety. When lorazepam is used before surgery, the patient will not remember some of the details about the procedure. It is also used to treat seizures, including status epilepticus.
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines belong to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which are medicines that slow down the nervous system.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using lorazepam
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of lorazepam injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of lorazepam injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have severe drowsiness, or age-related heart, liver, or kidney problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose in patients receiving lorazepam injection.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Calcium Oxybate
- Chloral Hydrate
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Opium Alkaloids
- Potassium Oxybate
- Ropeginterferon Alfa-2b-njft
- Sodium Oxybate
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Ethinyl Estradiol
- St John's Wort
- Valproic Acid
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcohol or drug abuse or dependence, or history of or
- Breathing problems or lung disease, mild to moderate—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Glaucoma, acute narrow-angle or
- Lung disease, severe or
- Sleep apnea (temporary stopping of breathing during sleep)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of lorazepam
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins or given as a shot into one of your muscles.
After you receive this medicine, your doctor will watch you closely to make sure it is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Precautions while using lorazepam
It is very important that your doctor check your progress after you receive this medicine to make sure it is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Using this medicine during the later pregnancy may cause problems in your newborn baby (eg, sedation or withdrawal symptoms). Tell your doctor right away if your baby has an abnormal sleep pattern, diarrhea, feeding problems, a high-pitched cry, irritability, low muscle tone, restlessness, shakiness or tremors, sluggishness, trouble breathing, weight loss, vomiting, or fails to gain weight. If you think you have become pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine contains benzyl alcohol which may cause serious reactions to newborn, premature, or low-birthweight infants. Discuss this with your doctor if you are concerned.
This medicine may cause drowsiness, trouble with thinking, trouble with controlling movements, or trouble with seeing clearly. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or able to think or see well.
If you develop any unusual or strange thoughts and behavior while taking lorazepam injection, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people taking this medicine are like those seen in people who drink too much alcohol. Other changes might be confusion, agitation, and hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there).
Symptoms of an overdose include: blurred vision, change in consciousness, confusion, dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position, loss of consciousness, loss of strength or energy, muscle pain or weakness, shakiness and unsteady walk, sweating, unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination, unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability, or unusual tiredness or weakness. Call your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.
This medicine may cause respiratory depression (serious breathing problem that can be life-threatening), especially when used with narcotic pain medicines. Tell your doctor if you are using any narcotic medicine.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system, which may cause drowsiness or make you less alert. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates (used for seizures), muscle relaxants, or anesthetics (numbing medicines), including some dental anesthetics. This effect may last for a few days after you stop taking this medicine. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of lorazepam
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- blurred vision
- difficult or trouble breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Decreased awareness or responsiveness
- not breathing
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- bloody or cloudy urine
- blurred vision
- change in consciousness
- cough or hoarseness
- deep or fast breathing with dizziness
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- extremely shallow or slow breathing
- false beliefs that cannot be changed by facts
- fever or chills
- frequent urge to urinate
- loss of consciousness
- lower back or side pain
- numbness of feet, hands and around mouth
- painful or difficult urination
- poor insight and judgement
- pounding in the ears
- problems with memory or speech
- problems with movement, walking, or speech
- slow or fast heartbeat
- trouble thinking and planning
Incidence not known
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- chest pain or discomfort
- dark urine
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- high fever
- light-colored stools
- loss of bladder control
- loss of memory
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- sever muscle stiffness
- stomach pain or bloating
- sudden onset of severe breathing difficulty
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusually pale skin
- yellow eyes or skin
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
- loss of strength or energy
- muscle pain or weakness
- shakiness and unsteady walk
- slurred speech
- trouble speaking
- unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
- unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
- unusual weak feeling
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
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