Generic Name: lorazepam (lor-AZ-e-pam)
Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Monitor patients for respiratory depression and sedation
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 10, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antianxiety
Pharmacologic Class: Benzodiazepine, Short or Intermediate Acting
Uses for lorazepam
Lorazepam injection is used before certain medical procedures, such as surgery, to relieve anxiety. When lorazepam is used before surgery, the patient will not remember some of the details about the procedure. Lorazepam is also used to treat certain convulsive (seizure) disorders, such as epilepsy.
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.
Lorazepam 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 lorazepam, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to lorazepam 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 lorazepam, 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 lorazepam 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 lorazepam 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
- Sodium Oxybate
Using lorazepam 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 lorazepam. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcohol or abuse, or history of or
- Breathing problems or lung disease, mild to moderate or
- Drug abuse or dependence, or history of—Use with caution. May make this condition 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 lorazepam. Lorazepam is given through a needle placed in one of your veins or given as a shot into one of your muscles.
Precautions while using lorazepam
It is very important that your doctor check your progress after you receive lorazepam to make sure it is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.
Using lorazepam while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
Lorazepam contains benzyl alcohol which may cause serious reactions to newborn, premature, or low-birthweight infants. Discuss this with your doctor if you are concerned.
Lorazepam may cause drowsiness, trouble with thinking, trouble with controlling movements, or trouble with seeing clearly. Make sure you know how you react to lorazepam 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 lorazepam 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).
Lorazepam 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 lorazepam. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using lorazepam.
Lorazepam side effects
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 troubled breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Decreased awareness or responsiveness
- not breathing
- severe sleepiness
- 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
- change in consciousness
- cough or hoarseness
- deep or fast breathing with dizziness
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- extremely shallow or slow breathing
- 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
- problems with movement, walking, or speech
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
More about lorazepam
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- 891 Reviews
- Drug class: benzodiazepine anticonvulsants
- FDA Alerts (5)
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