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Ativan Side Effects

Generic Name: lorazepam

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

In Summary

Common side effects of Ativan include: sedation. Other side effects include: dizziness. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to lorazepam: oral solution, oral tablet

Other dosage forms:

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
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • 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
  • chills
  • coma
  • confusion
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • convulsions
  • 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 or cramps
  • muscle 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
  • 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
  • tightness in the chest
  • 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
  • Changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • increased sweating
  • loss of strength or energy
  • nightmares
  • 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 excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability
  • unusual paleness
  • unusual weak feeling

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 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, 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, tremor
Frequency not reported: Amnesia, autonomic manifestations, convulsions/seizures, drowsiness, extremity numbness/tingling, hyperreflexia, hypersensitivity to light/noise/sound, involuntary movements, short-term memory loss, vertigo

Common (1% to 10%): Coma, excessive drowsiness/sleepiness, headache, sedation, somnolence, stupor
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Brain edema, convulsion, myoclonus, tremor
Frequency not reported: Dizziness
Postmarketing reports: Amnesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, paralysis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Asthenia, fatigue, 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
Frequency not reported: Depressed hearing, falls, hypothermia, paradoxical reactions, tinnitus
Postmarketing reports: Fatalities[Ref]


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, aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, catatonia, dependence, delirium, delusion, disorientation, drug withdrawal symptoms, excitation, hallucinations, hostility, impotence, inappropriate behavior, irritability, insomnia, nightmares, panic attacks, psychoses, rage, restlessness, sexual arousal, suicidal attempt/ideation, tension

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, inappropriate behavior, insomnia, irritability, mania, psychosis, rage, sexual arousal, sleep disturbances, stimulation, suicidal attempt/ideation
Postmarketing reports: Acute brain syndrome, nervousness[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
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

Common (1% to 10%): Hypotension
Postmarketing reports: Arrhythmia, bradycardia, heart arrest/failure, heart block, pericardial effusion, tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Muscle pain

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


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Constipation, nausea, salivation changes
Frequency not reported: Abdominal cramps, 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
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[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: 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: Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH)
Postmarketing reports: Aggravation of pheochromocytoma[Ref]


1. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

3. "Product Information. Ativan (lorazepam)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

Some side effects of Ativan may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.