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Ativan (generic name lorazepam), is an antianxiety medication and belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs, which includes medications like Valium, Xanax, Dalmane etc. This class of drugs is effective in producing a calming effect by its action on the brain and nerves (the central nervous system), by enhancing the effect of certain natural chemicals in the body called GABA.

Ativan is primarily used to treat anxiety and depression.

Ativan may also be used to treat conditions like alcohol withdrawal, insomnia or to prevent nausea and vomiting arising out of chemotherapy, if prescribed by your doctor. Other conditions include tension headache, muscle spasm, psychosis resulting from sudden alcohol withdrawal, manic bipolar disorder, involuntary quivering.

Ativan is taken by mouth, either with or without food as per doctor’s directions. The dosage is determined by the patient’s medical condition and his/her response to therapy.

Use Ativan regularly to get the maximum benefit out of it, subject to your doctor’s approval. Take it at the same time everyday so that you remember to take it.

If Ativan is used for an extended period of time (more than four weeks), or if it has been taken in high doses, or if you have a history of drug abuse, alcoholism or personality disorder then it may lead to dependence. In such a situation, if you stop taking this medication suddenly, it may cause withdrawal reactions. These reactions may include insomnia, seizures, mood changes, heightened reaction to light/noise/touch, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, muscle pain, fast heartbeat, and very high fever.

Any such reaction should be reported to your doctor immediately. When Ativan has been taken as part of an extended and regular treatment, it has to be reduced gradually to prevent withdrawal reactions. You require your doctor’s directions in
this regard.

Although very uncommon, regular use of Ativan can result in an abnormal drug seeking behavior pattern (habit forming/addiction). You have to be careful about taking the correct dosage as prescribed by your doctor, and never take it more often or for a longer period than what has been prescribed. Stopping should also be done under direction and gradually reduced. These steps will reduce the chances of addiction.

Other side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, loss of coordination, blurred vision, headache, nausea, constipation, heartburn, change in appetite. If you get any of these effects, inform your doctor promptly.

Highly unlikely, serious side effects may include memory loss, slurred speech, vision change, seizure, low body temperature, mood changes, breathing trouble.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed by your doctor because its benefits to you are much greater than the risk of side effects. Most people using
Ativan do not have any serious side effects.


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