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Lorazepam (injection)

Generic Name: lorazepam (injection) (lor A ze pam)
Brand Name: Ativan

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Mar 9, 2017 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is lorazepam injection?

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen). Lorazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with certain conditions.

Lorazepam injection is used to treat a seizure emergency called status epilepticus. Lorazepam injection is also used as a sedative to help you relax before having surgery.

Lorazepam injection may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Before you are treated with lorazepam injection, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions or allergies, and all the medicines you are using. Also make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you have received lorazepam.

Before taking this medicine

If possible before you receive lorazepam injection, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

To make sure lorazepam is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a history of seizures;

  • asthma or other breathing disorder;

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease; or

  • if you use a narcotic (opioid) medication.

Lorazepam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby, and generally should not be used during pregnancy. However, status epilepticus is a life-threatening condition and the benefit of receiving lorazepam to treat it may outweigh any risk to the unborn baby.

Sedatives used during surgery may affect brain development in a child under 3, or an unborn baby whose mother receives this medicine during late pregnancy. These effects may be more likely when a sedative is used for 3 hours or longer, or used for repeated procedures. Effects on brain development could cause learning or behavior problems later in life.

Negative brain effects from sedatives have been seen in animal studies. However, studies in human children receiving single short uses of this medicine have not shown a likely effect on behavior or learning. More research is needed.

In some cases, your doctor may decide to postpone a surgery based on these risks. Treatment may not be delayed in the case of life-threatening conditions, medical emergencies, or surgery needed to correct certain birth defects.

Ask your doctor for information about all medicines that will be used during your surgery, and how long the surgery will last.

It is not known whether lorazepam injection passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is lorazepam injection given?

Lorazepam is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in an emergency or surgical setting. You may need to receive only one dose of lorazepam if your condition improves after the medicine is given.

After treatment with lorazepam injection, you will be watched to make sure the medication is working and does not cause harmful side effects.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are in surgery.

Lorazepam can make you very drowsy, dizzy, or light-headed. These effects may last longer in older adults. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury after you have received lorazepam injection. You may need help getting out of bed for at least the first 8 hours.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since lorazepam injection is given by a healthcare professional in an emergency setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving lorazepam injection?

Lorazepam injection can cause extreme drowsiness that may last for 24 to 48 hours after you have received the medication. Older adults may feel sleepy for even longer.

Avoid driving or doing anything that requires you to be awake and alert until the effects of lorazepam have worn off completely.

Do not drink alcohol within the first 1 or 2 days after you receive lorazepam injection. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.

Lorazepam injection side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers right away if you have:

  • weak or shallow breathing;

  • restlessness, feeling agitated or irritable;

  • unusual thoughts, hallucinations; or

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting;

  • drowsiness, dizziness, confusion;

  • blurred vision; or

  • pain, redness, or burning where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect lorazepam injection?

Shortly after you are treated with lorazepam, taking other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous side effects. Tell your doctor if you regularly use a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, prescription cough medicine, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with lorazepam, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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