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Ativan is a brand prescription medication known for its anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving), sedative, and anticonvulsant properties.

Last Modified: 22 May 2024

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What is Ativan? 

Ativan is a brand of prescription medication known for its anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving), sedative, and anticonvulsant properties. Its active ingredient is lorazepam, which is a benzodiazepine (a class of “depressant” or “downer” drugs). 

Lorazepam works by enhancing the effects of γ-Aminobutyric acid 

 (GABA), a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that induces calmness. 

Global Name

Generic Name and Brand Names 

  • Generic name: Lorazepam
  • Brand names: Ativan


What is Ativan used for?

Ativan is used to: 

  • Treat anxiety disorders. 
  • Provide sedation before medical procedures. 
  • Treat status epilepticus (a type of severe seizure). 
  • Help alleviate insomnia due to anxiety or stress. 
  • Occasionally manage symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. 

How do you use Ativan?


Ativan is available in tablet form, as an injectable, and as a solution for intravenous use. 

Dosage information: 
  • For anxiety: 2-3 mg/day, taken 2-3 times a day.
  • For insomnia: 2-4 mg at bedtime. 
Suitable for: 
  • Children: Not typically recommended. 
  • Adults: Yes, within prescribed dosages. 
  • Elderlies: Lower doses may be required due to increased sensitivity. 

Who can't take Ativan? 
  • Children: Use with extreme caution. 
  • Adults: Contraindicated in those with a history of substance abuse. 
  • Elderlies: Lower doses or alternative treatments may be preferable. 
  • Pregnancy: Not recommended due to potential harm to the fetus. 
  • Lactation: Not recommended as it can pass into breast milk and affect the nursing infant. 
  • Allergies: Not suitable for individuals allergic to lorazepam or other benzodiazepines. 

Warnings and precautions:

Avoid alcohol and other CNS depressants. Ativan can impair judgment and coordination, so do not drive or operate machinery until you know how it affects you. It can be habit-forming, so use only as prescribed. 

Ativan can be taken with or without food. For those with an upset stomach, taking it with food may be beneficial. 

Interactions and contraindications:

Ativan interacts with medications like opioids, barbiturates, and certain antidepressants. Avoid if you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma or a history of allergic reaction to benzodiazepines. 

Avoid intake together with alcoholic beverages as severe central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory depression can occur. 

Side Effects

Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and weakness. More severe side effects can include mood changes, trouble speaking, and vision changes. 

Pharmacist Tips

  • Adherence: Stick to your prescribed dosing schedule; irregular use can lead to reduced efficacy and withdrawal risks. 
  • Dependency: Use Ativan for short periods to prevent dependence; discuss long-term use with your doctor. 
  • Interactions: Never mix Ativan with alcohol or other depressants; check with a pharmacist before combining medications. 
  • Side Effects: If drowsy or dizzy, avoid alcohol, stay hydrated, and rise slowly from sitting or lying positions. 
  • Alertness: Don't drive or operate machinery until you know how Ativan affects you. 
  • Withdrawal: Taper off Ativan under medical supervision to prevent withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Storage: Keep Ativan at room temperature, away from children, and in its original container. 
  • Missed Doses: Take a missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it's almost time for the next one. 
  • Travel: Travel with Ativan in its original container with a prescription copy, and know the medication laws of your destination. 
  • Disposal: Dispose of unused Ativan through take-back programs, not in the trash or toilet. 

By maintaining consistent dosing, being aware of drug interactions and side effects, and properly storing and handling Apixaban, you can safely manage your treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional for any concerns or questions regarding your medication. 


Where is Ativan available in Hong Kong?

Ativan is a prescription medication that can be prescribed by healthcare providers.


Is Ativan available for purchase over-the-counter?

No, Ativan is a controlled medication and requires a prescription.

Can Ativan be taken during the day?

Yes, but be cautious of drowsiness and avoid tasks that require alertness.

How should you discontinue Ativan?

Do not abruptly stop taking Ativan; consult with your healthcare provider for a tapering schedule to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

How long does Ativan last?

Ativan (lorazepam) typically has a clinical duration of action for its anti-anxiety effects of 6 to 8 hours for a single dose. However, its half-life can range from 10 to 20 hours, so its effects may last longer depending on the individual's metabolism, age, health status, and other factors.

How fast does Ativan work for Anxiety?

Ativan (lorazepam) begins to work for anxiety within 20 to 30 minutes after oral administration, with its peak effects usually occurring within 1 to 1.5 hours. The onset may vary slightly based on individual factors and the specific anxiety symptoms being treated. 

This website provides content related to drug use and medicine for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not use the information on this website to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. The website's owners and contributors are not liable for any repercussions, adverse effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any medication or information provided herein.

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