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Ativan Side Effects

Generic name: lorazepam

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 17, 2023.

Note: This document contains side effect information about lorazepam. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Ativan.

Applies to lorazepam: oral capsule extended release, oral solution, oral tablet. Other dosage forms:


Oral route (Capsule, Extended Release; Tablet)

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, including lorazepam may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of lorazepam after continued use may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue lorazepam or reduce the dosage.

Serious side effects of Ativan

Along with its needed effects, lorazepam (the active ingredient contained in Ativan) 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking lorazepam:

More common

  • Drowsiness
  • relaxed and calm
  • sleepiness

Incidence not known

  • Aggressive, angry
  • agitation
  • attack, assault, or force
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • bluish lips or skin
  • blurred vision
  • change in consciousness
  • chest tightness
  • chills
  • coma
  • confusion
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • decreased urine output
  • difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • difficulty with speaking
  • discouragement
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drooling
  • dry mouth
  • excitation
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • feeling sad or empty
  • fever with or without chills
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache
  • hives, itching, or rash
  • hyperventilation
  • increased thirst
  • irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of balance control
  • loss of consciousness
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • loss of memory
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle pain, cramps, trembling, jerking, or stiffness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • not breathing
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • problems with memory
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • reddening of the skin, especially around ears
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • seizures
  • shaking
  • shuffling walk
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • stiffness of the limbs
  • stomach pain
  • sweating
  • swelling of the eyes or inside of the nose
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • swollen glands
  • thoughts or attempts at killing oneself
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • twisting movements of body
  • uncontrolled movements, especially of the face, neck, and back
  • unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • yellow eyes or skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking lorazepam:

Symptoms of overdose

  • Agitation
  • changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • confusion
  • excitement
  • increased sweating
  • irritability
  • loss of strength or energy
  • nightmares
  • restlessness
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • slurred speech
  • talkativeness
  • trouble speaking
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
  • unusual paleness
  • unusual weak feeling

Other side effects of Ativan

Some side effects of lorazepam 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:

Incidence not known

  • Being forgetful
  • clumsiness
  • constipation
  • decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • disturbed color perception
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • double vision
  • drowsiness
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • halos around lights
  • inability to have or keep an erection
  • increased in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • increased interest in sexual intercourse
  • lack or loss of self-control
  • lethargy
  • loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
  • muscle aches, twitching, or weakness
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • rapid weight gain
  • sensation of spinning
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shivering
  • stupor
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • tunnel vision
  • weak or feeble pulse

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to lorazepam: compounding powder, injectable solution, intravenous solution, oral capsule extended release, oral concentrate, oral tablet.


Oral: The most commonly reported side effects included sedation, dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness.

Parenteral: The most commonly reported side effects included somnolence, respiratory failure, hypotension, and injection site reactions (pain and burning).[Ref]



Very common (10% or more): Burning (up to 17%), pain (up to 17%)

Common (1% to 10%): Painful response, redness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site reaction

Frequency not reported: Arteriospasm, gangrene, injection site tolerance[Ref]

Nervous system


Very common (10% or more): Sedation (up to 15.9%)

Common (1% to 10%): Anterograde amnesia, ataxia, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, drowsiness, unsteadiness

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Dysarthria, headache, memory impairment, reduced alertness, slurred speech, transient anterograde amnesia

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Coma, extrapyramidal reactions/extrapyramidal symptoms, tremor

Frequency not reported: Amnesia, autonomic manifestations, balance disorders, convulsions/seizures, extremity numbness/tingling, hyperreflexia, hypersensitivity to light/noise/sound, impaired perception, involuntary movements, prolonged response times, short-term memory loss, vertigo


Common (1% to 10%): Ataxia, coma, dizziness, drowsiness, excessive drowsiness/sleepiness, headache, sedation, somnolence, stupor

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Brain edema, convulsion, myoclonus, tremor

Frequency not reported: Amnesia, balance disorder, central nervous system effects, decreased ability to perform complex mental functions, dysarthria, extrapyramidal symptoms, memory impairment, seizures, slurred speech, transient anterograde amnesia, unsteady gait, vertigo

Postmarketing reports: Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, paralysis[Ref]

Dose-dependent central nervous system depression, increased sedation, and unsteadiness were associated with increased age.[Ref]



Common (1% to 10%): Confusion, depression, unmasking of depression

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Change in libido, impotence, less intense orgasm/decreased orgasm

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Change in libido, confusion, decreased orgasm, depression, disinhibition, euphoria, numbed emotions, sleep disturbances, unmasking of depression

Frequency not reported: Aggression, aggressive behavior, aggressiveness, agitation/states of agitation, anxiety, behavioral disorder, catatonia, delirium, delusion, dependence, depersonalization, derealization, disorientation, drug withdrawal symptoms, dysphoria, excitement/excitation, hallucinations, hostility, impaired attention/concentration, impotence, inappropriate behavior, increased dreaming, inner restlessness, insomnia, irritability, loss of reality, nightmares, panic attacks, psychoses, rage, restlessness, sexual arousal, sleep disorders, stimulation, suicidal attempt/ideation, tension/states of tension,, withdrawal phenomena


Common (1% to 10%): Confusion, delirium, depression, restlessness, unmasking of depression, visual hallucinations

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal thinking, agitation, ataxia, change in libido, decreased orgasm, hallucinations

Frequency not reported: Aggression, agitation, anxiety, disinhibition, excitation, euphoria, hostility, impaired attention/concentration, inappropriate behavior, insomnia, irritability, mania, psychosis, rage, sexual arousal, sleep disturbances, stimulation, suicidal attempt/ideation

Postmarketing reports: Acute brain syndrome, nervousness[Ref]



Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, fatigue, lassitude, weakness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Chills

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hypothermia

Frequency not reported: Hyperacusis, hyperthermia, paradoxical reactions, rebound phenomena


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, crying, fatigue, sobbing

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Chills

Frequency not reported: Depressed hearing, enhanced sensitivity to alcoholic beverages, falls, hypothermia, paradoxical reactions, tinnitus

Postmarketing reports: Fatalities[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Apnea, respiratory depression, worsening of obstructive pulmonary disease, worsening of sleep apnea


Common (1% to 10%): Apnea, hypoventilation, respiratory disorder, respiratory failure

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyperventilation

Frequency not reported: Airway obstruction, worsening of obstructive pulmonary disease, worsening of sleep apnea

Postmarketing reports: Lung edema, lung hemorrhage, pneumothorax, pulmonary hypertension, respiratory arrest[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Hypotension

Frequency not reported: Palpitations, small decreases in blood pressure, tachycardia


Common (1% to 10%): Hypotension

Frequency not reported: Decreased blood pressure

Postmarketing reports: Arrhythmia, bradycardia, heart arrest/failure, heart block, pericardial effusion, tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmia[Ref]



Frequency not reported: Muscle pain, myalgia


Common (1% to 10%): Muscle weakness[Ref]



Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Nausea

Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Constipation, salivation changes

Frequency not reported: Abdominal cramps, abdominal spasms, diarrhea, dry mouth, gastrointestinal symptoms, hypersalivation, vomiting


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Increased salivation, nausea, vomiting

Frequency not reported: Constipation

Postmarketing reports: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Change in appetite, increase in alkaline phosphatase

Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hyponatremia

Frequency not reported: Loss of appetite


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Acidosis, increased alkaline phosphatase

Frequency not reported: Hyponatremia[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Allergic dermatitis, rash

Frequency not reported: Allergic skin reactions, alopecia, dermatological symptoms, sweating


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hypertension, hypotension

Frequency not reported: Allergic skin reactions, alopecia, skin rash[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Abnormal liver function test values, increase in bilirubin, increase in liver transaminases, jaundice


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Abnormal liver function tests

Frequency not reported: Increased bilirubin, increased liver transaminases, jaundice

Postmarketing reports: Liver damage[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Impotence


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Impotence

Postmarketing reports: Urinary incontinence[Ref]



Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Infection[Ref]



Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cystitis[Ref]



Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Blurred vision, diplopia, eye function/visual disturbance


Frequency not reported: Blurred vision, diplopia, visual disturbances[Ref]



Very rare (less than 0.01%): Agranulocytosis, leukopenia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia


Frequency not reported: Agranulocytosis, hypochromic anemia, leukocytosis, pancytopenia, thrombocythemia, thrombocytopenia

Postmarketing reports: Coagulation disorder[Ref]



Very rare (less than 0.01%): Anaphylactoid reactions, anaphylaxis, hypersensitivity

Frequency not reported: Angioedema, hypersensitivity reactions


Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic reactions, anaphylactoid reactions, angioedema, hypersensitivity reactions[Ref]



Very rare (less than 0.01%): Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)


Frequency not reported: SIADH

Postmarketing reports: Aggravation of pheochromocytoma[Ref]

Frequently asked questions


1. Product Information. Ativan (lorazepam). Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. 2002.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. Australian Product Information.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.