Ativan (Lorazepam) Side Effects
Ativan is a brand name of the drug lorazepam, a type of benzodiazepine (sedative) medication that’s prescribed for various anxiety disorders. It can also be used to treat insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and various other conditions. The drug’s relaxing and euphoric effects has made Ativan one of the most commonly misused benzodiazepines in the country. Many people take it without a prescription, while many who do have a prescription fail to use it as prescribed.
Just as with any other medication, Ativan poses the risk for various adverse reactions, despite its favorable effects. This is the case for those who misuse it and those who use it as prescribed. Some of these symptoms are more severe than others, and some require immediate medical attention. These effects are detailed below:
Serious Side Effects of Ativan
Ativan can cause a number of potentially serious side effects, some of which may need medical attention. Always take the medication as directed, and avoid drinking alcohol while taking it, as this combination may result in even more dangerous results. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, or if you need medical advice on another side effect, call your doctor. The following are some of the major Ativan side effects. Keep in mind that other reactions may occur that aren’t listed:
- Muscle weakness*
- Suicidal thoughts
- Depressed mood
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Skin rash
*These are potential overdose symptoms. An overdose of Ativan can be fatal, so if you experience these effects, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Minor Side Effects
Some of the minor side effects of Ativan do not typically require medical attention, and many disappear on their own after the body adjusts to the medication. These reactions (listed below) are normal, and some may be prevented or reduced. Contact your health care provider to learn more about these prevention or reduction options. Some of the minor Ativan side effects include:
- Tunnel vision
- Appetite changes
- Rapid weight gain
Long-Term Side Effects or Ativan (Lorazepam)
Ativan is typically not prescribed for more than four months without a doctor’s recommendation. If it is taken for an extended period of time, the risk of various long-term effects increases. Many of these reactions are intensified versions of the ones listed above. This could mean that the effects are stronger, last longer, or occur more frequently. The following are three of the most common long-term Ativan side effects:
- Cognition and thinking impairments: These conditions typically cease when the medication is no longer used, but there are some impairment cases that may persist, even after Ativan use is discontinued.
- Tolerance (or dependence): This is a condition in which the body adjusts to a certain medication over time. As a result, higher doses are necessary to obtain the same effects that lower doses once provided.
- Addiction: When the body develops a tolerance to Ativan, the risk of addiction increases. Addiction is characterized by compulsively misusing a drug, despite the harmful consequences.
Ativan should only be used with a prescription and as directed. If you or someone close to you is experiencing difficulties with Ativan misuse or addiction, there are many treatment options that can help. Call The Recovery VillageⓇ to speak to someone. We’re open 24/7, there’s no obligation to pursue treatment and the call is 100 percent confidential.