Ativan Review


Ativan is the brand name of the prescription drug, Lorazepam. Among the uses for which it has been approved by the FDA is the management of anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, as well as some cases of insomnia. This product is not available without a prescription, so a licensed doctor will need to examine the patient before they can obtain it.

How Does Ativan Work?

Ativan is a derivative of benzodiazepine. How this drug works within the body has not yet been determined by scientists, but it does seem to have a therapeutic effect that many patients find very helpful. The leading hypothesis regarding the function of this drug is that it impacts the sodium channels of the body.

It acts on the central nervous system (brain and nerves) to produce a calming effect. It enhances the effects of GABA, which is a natural chemical in the body.

Those who are prescribed Ativan should take it exactly as directed by their prescribing doctor. The dosage that has been given is based on the individual patient’s age, medical condition and response to treatment. If you have been directed to take this medication regularly in order to obtain the most benefit from it, be sure to take it at the same time each day for optimal benefit.

If you feel that your dosage of Ativan should be changed, this is something that you should discuss with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Do not alter the dose (increase or decrease) without speaking with your doctor first. The reason is that this can increase the risk of adverse effects, addiction and/or the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Side Effects to Keep in Mind

Like all prescription drugs, there are potential side effects associated with the use of Ativan. Most commonly, these adverse effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Involuntary movements
  • Vision blurring
  • Palpitations
  • Urinary retention
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sexual interest/ability

While using Ativan, especially early on, it is important to keep regular doctor’s appointments so that the prescribing professional can carefully monitor your reactions and progress. This will help to ensure that the proper dosing has been achieved and that Ativan is indeed the proper drug option. Users are advised to report all experiences of side effects to their doctors so that they may decide together whether Ativan is the right choice.

That said, you should inform your doctor immediately if you should experience unlikely but serious side effects, such as:

  • Mental/mood changes (e.g. hallucinations, depression, thoughts of suicide)
  • Difficulty talking or slurred speech
  • Unusual weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Signs of infection (e.g. fever, chronic sore throat, etc.)

Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan is not meant to be used on the long term as there is a risk of addiction. The majority of doctors prescribe this drug only when short-term use is intended. Short-term use is desirable for most patients, as well, as it is rather costly.

Since Ativan helps to balance chemicals in the brain, when taken in large doses it can produce a fleeting, intense high, which is followed by a prolonged state of calm. The most common effects Ativan can cause to which people can become addicted include:

  • A euphoric high
  • Muscle relaxation
  • A sense of calm
  • Drowsiness

When the drug is combined with alcohol, its effects can be even stronger, which is why it is recommended that those who are prescribed Ativan should avoid consuming alcohol.

In addition to causing addiction in some people, this drug is also associated with withdrawal symptoms, especially if the medication is stopped too abruptly or if a person has become addicted to it. Examples of withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Racing pulse
  • Muscle spasms

It is imperative to take Ativan as prescribed and to inform your doctor right away if you are experiencing any addiction or withdrawal symptoms.

This Medication is Not Intended for Everyone

Ativan is not intended for individuals who have heart disease, nor should it be combined with many other forms of antidepressants or alcohol, as exaggerated results may occur.

Ativan has been found to be very useful by many patients, and yet others desire a less expensive and less “harsh” drug to use in their bodies. As a prescription drug, it is a much stronger option than many of the over-the-counter or herbal options currently available.

As there are many potential side effects to this drug and the way that its ingredients function in the body remains unknown, it is often recommended that an individual should begin with gentler options before beginning to run up their pharmaceutical bills with prescription-strength medications. This, as well as therapy or counseling, should be carefully considered with a doctor before filling a prescription for Ativan.

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