Lorazepam – Weight Gain & Other Side Effects

If you suffer from acute anxiety attacks, insomnia or other conditions, your doctor may prescribe Ativan, or lorazepam in its generic form, which is a benzodiazepine drug. Benzodiazepines are used to treat many acute conditions like panic attacks, insomnia, muscle spasms and seizures. Many people who are prescribed lorazepam may be worried about the potential side effects.

Lorazepam - Weight Gain & Other Side Effects

Some side effects are more common than others. For example, headaches and nausea are more typical side effects experienced by people using lorazepam, while suicidal thoughts and weight gain are more rare side effects. Common side effects of lorazepam include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Motor function impairment
  • Loss of concentration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle soreness or tension
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Menstrual irregularities

Less frequently reported side effects like weight gain or depression should be noted and reported to your doctor immediately.

One of the drawbacks of lorazepam and other benzodiazepine drugs is that they can lead you to building up a tolerance. The risk of tolerance, and the potential for dependence, is the main reason that lorazepam is only used to treat acute symptoms rather than chronic conditions. It is very rare to hold a prescription to lorazepam for longer than four weeks. If, for some reason you need to take lorazepam for an extended period of time, the dosage will probably be increased to compensate for the tolerance your body builds to the drug.

If you become dependent upon lorazepam, you may need to gradually reduce dosage levels before you completely stop taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are common in people with a dependence upon lorazepam and are typically identical to the symptoms that the drug was prescribed to treat in the first place. These “rebound symptoms” can actually be more severe than the original symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness or soreness
  • Frequent urination
  • Chest pains
  • Hallucinations

Depending on the level of dependence, withdrawal symptoms can last for months or even years. It is important to let your doctor know if you feel that you have become dependent or if you are not getting the same relief from your symptoms that you used to.

Of course, becoming dependent upon lorazepam can quickly lead to abusing the drug. Benzodiazepines have been commonly abused since they were introduced to the public in the 1960s. Even though they have tremendous value in medicine, they still pose a high risk of addiction. If you find yourself feeling cravings for lorazepam or are taking higher than the recommended dosage to treat your condition, you may have developed a tolerance and you could even be dependent upon the drug. If you find yourself drinking alcohol while taking lorazepam to heighten the effect of either substance, you may also be at risk of addiction and dependence.
Benzodiazepine addiction is a real thing and is a serious problem. Many people who have become strongly addicted to lorazepam need to go through a detoxification process under medical supervision to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. Contacting a drug treatment center or talking to your doctor if you think you may have developed a problem with lorazepam is very important.