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Ativan Side Effects

Generic Name: lorazepam

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

In Summary

Common side effects of Ativan include: agitation, sedation, and tremor. Other side effects include: dizziness, drowsiness, and hypersomnia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to lorazepam: oral solution, oral tablet

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by lorazepam (the active ingredient contained in Ativan). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking lorazepam:

More common:
  • Drowsiness
  • relaxed and calm
  • sleepiness
Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • aggressive, angry
  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • attack, assault, or force
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in 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 in breathing and/or swallowing
  • difficulty in speaking
  • discouragement
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • drooling
  • dry mouth
  • excitation
  • false or unusual sense of well-being
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • fear or nervousness
  • feeling sad or empty
  • fever with or without chills
  • general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  • headache
  • hives
  • hyperventilation
  • increased thirst
  • irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
  • irritability
  • itching
  • 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 skin
  • problems with memory
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rash
  • reddening of the skin, especially around ears
  • restlessness
  • seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • seizures
  • shaking
  • shortness of breath
  • shuffling walk
  • sleeplessness
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth
  • stiffness of limbs
  • sweating
  • swelling of eyes or inside of nose
  • swelling of face, ankles, or hands
  • swollen glands
  • thoughts or attempts at killing oneself
  • tightness in chest
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • twisting movements of body
  • unable to sleep
  • uncontrolled movements, especially of face, neck, and back
  • unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • unpleasant breath odor
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • wheezing
  • yellow eyes or skin

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking lorazepam, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Changes in patterns and rhythms of speech
  • increased sweating
  • loss of strength or energy
  • low blood pressure
  • nightmares
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • slurred speech
  • trouble in 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

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with lorazepam may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

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, thinning of hair
  • halos around lights
  • hostility
  • 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
  • low body temperature
  • muscle aches
  • muscle twitching
  • muscle weakness
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • rapid weight gain
  • sensation of spinning
  • shakiness in legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shivering
  • sleepiness
  • stupor
  • trembling or shaking of 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


The most commonly reported side effects were sedation, hypotension, somnolence, and respiratory failure.[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Sedation (15.9%)
Common (1% to 10%): Nervousness, abnormal coordination, dysarthria, memory disturbance, somnolence, dizziness
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Coma
Frequency not reported: Headache, hemiparesis, hypotonia, slurred speech, tremor, vertigo, taste loss, migraine, paresthesia, anterograde amnesia, unsteadiness, extrapyramidal symptoms
Postmarketing reports: Acute brain syndrome, brain edema, convulsion, neuroleptic malignant syndrome[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Depression, emotional lability, confusion
Frequency not reported: Hallucinations, insomnia, psychosis, excitability, irritability, aggressive behavior, agitation, hostility, anxiety, vivid dreams, hyperactivity, organic disinhibition, depersonalization, apathy, excitement, feeling mad, illusion, nightmares, sleep disorders, suicide ideation, rage[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Worsening of sleep apnea, worsening of obstructive pulmonary disease
Frequency not reported: Respiratory depression, asthmatic attack, dyspnea, pneumonia
Postmarketing reports: Pneumothorax[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypotension
Frequency not reported: Palpitations, chest pain, heart rate/rhythm disorders
Postmarketing reports: Pericardial effusion[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Allergic reaction[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Lymphadenopathy, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, eosinophilia, dermal bleeding, pancytopenia, agranulocytosis
Postmarketing reports: Coagulation disorder, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, lung hemorrhage[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone (SIADH)
Postmarketing reports: Aggravation of pheochromocytoma[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Myalgia
Frequency not reported: Muscle weakness, muscle cramps, arthralgia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Skin rash, contact dermatitis, skin disorder, alopecia, localized inflammation[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Constipation
Frequency not reported: Diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea, increased salivation, tooth disorder, dyspepsia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Decreased libido, increased libido, impotence, delayed ejaculation
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cystitis
Frequency not reported: Dysuria, urinary incontinence[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Jaundice
Frequency not reported: Increase in bilirubin, transient elevations of serum transaminases and alkaline phosphatase[Ref]


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


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Acidosis
Frequency not reported: Weight loss/gain, thirst, change in appetite[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Blurred vision
Frequency not reported: Diplopia, eye irritation, visual disturbance, visual field defect[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Fatigue, asthenia
Frequency not reported: Malaise, pain, earache, hypothermia[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.

Not all side effects for Ativan may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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.