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Lorazepam

Supportive Care

Brand names:

Ativan®

Other names:

Lorazepam Intensol

Often used for:

treating seizures, nausea and vomiting, and anxiety

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About Lorazepam

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. This type of medicine acts to slow the activity of the central nervous system (CNS). Lorazepam can help to control seizures, reduce nausea and vomiting during cancer treatments, lower anxiety, and calm patients before medical procedures.

This drug may be habit-forming with long-term use. Follow dosing instructions carefully.

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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV or injection

 
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May be given as a liquid injected into a muscle

 
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May be taken as a tablet by mouth

 
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May be taken as a liquid by mouth

 
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May be given into the nose (intranasal)

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Feeling sleepy
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Slower than normal rates of breathing
  • Blurry vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Problems urinating

Not all patients who take lorazepam will experience these side effects. Common side effects are bolded, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience tolerance or dependence with long-term use.

In young children, frequent use before medical procedures may lead to long-term brain problems.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • If patients have taken lorazepam for a long time, they should not stop taking lorazepam without medical supervision. The doctors may slowly decrease the dose to reduce bad effects due to withdrawal.
  • Patients should avoid drinking alcohol while on this medicine.
  • Female patients of child-bearing age receiving lorazepam should talk to their doctor before becoming pregnant. 
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Lorazepam at home:

  • Do not take more often or in greater amounts than recommended.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy and may increase the risk of falls. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Take lorazepam tablets with food if stomach upset occurs.
  • The liquid medicine can be added to a small amount of water, juice, pudding, or applesauce just before taking. Use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
  • Sublingual tablets (under the tongue) should be allowed to melt under the tongue. Swallow after 2 minutes. Allow to melt completely before swallowing.
  • Store tablets at room temperature.
  • Store liquid lorazepam in the refrigerator.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. 
  • This drug may be habit-forming with long-term use. Watch for signs of misuse.
  • Do not share this medicine with anyone or give for reasons other than prescribed.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe storage and disposal.