Taking alcohol and Ativan at the same time can intensify side effects like slowed breathing, which can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Article at a Glance:
- Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine and central nervous system depressant.
- Mixing alcohol and Ativan can intensify side effects like slowed breathing, which can be deadly.
- It takes the body up to five days to clear a dose of lorazepam from its system, and it is best to avoid alcohol during that time.
Mixing Ativan (Lorazepam) and Alcohol
Ativan and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants that cause an increase in GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. Taken together, alcohol and Ativan can slow down the brain’s functioning and make it much easier to overdose.
A person who has overdosed on Ativan and alcohol may be confused and have slurred speech, movement difficulties and slowed breathing.
Drug overdoses can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.
The half-life of a drug is how long it takes half of it to leave your body, and it takes about five half-lives for a drug to leave your system. Because Ativan’s half-life is 10 to 20 hours, Ativan remains in your system for up to 100 hours (five days) after you have taken the drug. It is not completely safe to drink until that time has passed.
It is not safe to mix any dose of Ativan with alcohol. Mixing Ativan and alcohol can intensify the side effects of both and lead to slowed breathing, which can be fatal.
Related Topic: The Dangers of Misusing Lorazepam
Effects of Drinking on Ativan
You should avoid drinking while taking Ativan. Mixing alcohol and Ativan can cause the Ativan to have increased and potentially life-threatening side effects. For example, the risk for serious side effects like slowed breathing rises if a person has been drinking while taking Ativan. In people who drink chronically, mixing alcohol and Ativan can also impact cognitive abilities.
How Long After Taking Ativan (Lorazepam) Before You Can Drink?
If you take Ativan, you should wait to drink until the drug has been cleared from your system.
The half-life of a drug is how long it takes your system to remove half of it, and it takes around five half-lives for a drug to leave your body. Since the half-life of Ativan is 10 to 20 hours, Ativan can remain in your body for up to 100 hours after the last dose. It is not completely safe to drink until that time has passed.
How Long After Drinking Can You Take Ativan (Lorazepam)?
- 12 ounces of beer
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
For example, if you had 24 ounces of beer, you should wait at least two hours before taking a central nervous system depressant like Ativan.
What Is Ativan?
Ativan, a brand-name version of lorazepam, is a benzodiazepine drug that is categorized as a Schedule IV controlled substance. It is a depressant, meaning it calms excessive electrical nerve activity in the brain. Specifically, lorazepam affects GABA receptors and enhances GABA neurotransmitters in the brain.
GABA neurotransmitters induce a feeling of sleepiness and reduce anxiety. These effects are why Ativan is sometimes used to calm repeated epileptic fits, or as a sedative to help with anxiety.
|Drug Properties||Ativan (lorazepam)|
|Medical Uses||Anxiety, sedation, seizures, chemotherapy-related nausea, delirium|
|Controlled substance status||Schedule IV|
|Common side effects||Sedation, dizziness, weakness, unsteadiness|
Other Ativan Drug Interactions (Benadryl and More)
It’s not just alcohol that can cause problems with Ativan. Some people may have an extreme allergic reaction to Ativan, leading them to take a drug like Benadryl in an attempt to combat the swelling. However, Benadryl and other antihistamines are tranquilizers that can actually increase the depressant effects of Ativan. Similarly, you should avoid opioid painkillers and sleeping aids. Always check with a doctor before taking any medications with Ativan.
If you or someone you love is struggling with Ativan or alcohol use, help is available at The Recovery Village. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.
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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “What is a Standard Drink?” Accessed October 31, 2021.
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