Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine used for the management of anxiety disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, and alcohol withdrawal. Ativan is available in generic form. Common side effects of Ativan include:
- Muscle weakness
- Blurred vision
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Forgetfulness or amnesia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Skin rash
The usual dose of Ativan for treating anxiety is 2-3 mg/day given in two or three divided doses. Insomnia is treated with 2-4 mg given at bedtime. Ativan may interact with alcohol, cold or allergy medicines, narcotics, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, medicine for seizures, anti-anxiety medications, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors, medicines to treat psychiatric disorders, or antidepressants. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Ativan and other benzodiazepines have been associated with fetal damage, including congenital malformations, when taken by pregnant women in their first trimester. Ativan is best avoided if at all possible in the first trimester and probably throughout pregnancy. It is not known if Ativan is secreted in breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Our Ativan Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
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.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- severe drowsiness;
- thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
- unusual changes in mood or behavior;
- confusion, aggression, hallucinations;
- worsened sleep problems;
- sudden restless feeling or excitement;
- muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, trouble swallowing;
- vision changes; or
- upper stomach pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- slurred speech, lack of balance or coordination;
- memory problems; or
- feeling unsteady.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Ativan (Lorazepam)
Most adverse reactions to benzodiazepines, including CNS effects and respiratory depression, are dose dependent, with more severe effects occurring with high doses.
In a sample of about 3500 patients treated for anxiety, the most frequent adverse reaction to Ativan (lorazepam) was sedation (15.9%), followed by dizziness (6.9%), weakness (4.2%), and unsteadiness (3.4%). The incidence of sedation and unsteadiness increased with age.
Other adverse reactions to benzodiazepines, including lorazepam are fatigue, drowsiness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion, disorientation, depression, unmasking of depression, disinhibition, euphoria, suicidal ideation/attempt, ataxia, asthenia, extrapyramidal symptoms, convulsions/seizures, tremor, vertigo, eye function/visual disturbance (including diplopia and blurred vision), dysarthria/slurred speech, change in libido, impotence, decreased orgasm; headache, coma; respiratory depression, apnea, worsening of sleep apnea, worsening of obstructive pulmonary disease; gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, change in appetite, constipation, jaundice, increase in bilirubin, increase in liver transaminases, increase in alkaline phosphatase; hypersensitivity reactions, anaphylactoid reactions; dermatological symptoms, allergic skin reactions, alopecia; SIADH, hyponatremia; thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, pancytopenia; hypothermia; and autonomic manifestations.
Paradoxical reactions, including anxiety, excitation, agitation, hostility, aggression, rage, sleep disturbances/insomnia, sexual arousal, and hallucinations may occur. Small decreases in blood pressure and hypotension may occur but are usually not clinically significant, probably being related to the relief of anxiety produced by Ativan (lorazepam). To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC at 1-800-321-4576 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Ativan (Lorazepam)