Lorazepam – Weight Gain & Other Side Effects

If you have acute anxiety attacks or insomnia, your doctor may prescribe the benzodiazepine (benzo) Ativan, also known as lorazepam. Benzos are used to treat muscle spasms, seizures and more. People who take these drugs may worry about side effects.

Lorazepam - Weight Gain & Other Side Effects

Some side effects are more common than others. Headaches and nausea are typical, while suicidal thoughts and weight gain are more rare. Common lorazepam side effects include:

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

Less common effects like weight gain or depression should be shared with a doctor.

Benzo use can lead to tolerance. The risk of tolerance and dependence is the main reason lorazepam is used to treat acute symptoms and not chronic conditions. It is rare to hold a prescription for longer than four weeks. If you need to take it for an extended time, the dosage may be increased to make up for the body’s tolerance.

If you become dependent on lorazepam, you may need to reduce dosage levels before you stop taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are common after dependence. They are often the same as symptoms that the drug was given to treat in the first place. These “rebound symptoms” can be more severe than the original ones.

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

Withdrawal can last for months or years. Let your doctor know if you have become dependent or if you do not get the same symptom relief from the same dose.

Becoming dependent on lorazepam can lead to drug abuse. Benzos have medical value, but they also pose a high addiction risk. If you crave the drug or take higher doses to get the same effects, you may have a tolerance or be dependent.
Benzo addiction is a serious problem. Many people addicted to lorazepam need to go through medical detox to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor or call The Recovery Village if you think you may need help.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.