Ativan is a prescription medication available by oral tablet, oral solution and injection. It is a controlled substance that must be taken only as prescribed. The drug is available by brand name or as the generic drug lorazepam. Ativan is indicated for short-term anxiety, long-term anxiety disorders, acute seizure and is frequently given prior to surgery for relaxation and to reduce recall. A physician may order the medication for other purposes. According to 2005 Lippincott's Nursing Drug Guide, common oral dosages range from 2mg to 6mg per day 1.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Neurological Side Effects

Common neurological side effects of Ativan include:

  • sedation
  • loss of reality
  • light-headedness
  • tiredness
  • a lack of concern
  • depression
  • anger
  • hostility
  • headache
  • confusion
  • restlessness

Excitement and drowsiness are common side effects during the initial phase of treatment. Less common side effects include

  • crying
  • excitability
  • seizures
  • weakness
  • unsteadiness
  • lack of emotion
  • slurred speech
  • hallucination
  • reduced consciousness
  • rigid muscles
  • loss of coordination
  • difficulty concentrating
  • vivid dreams
  • slowed response
  • difficulty speaking
  • tremor
  • memory loss
  • euphoria
  • involuntary muscle contractions
  • numb or tingling skin
  • a sensation that one is about to fall
  • mania
  • difficulty controlling eye movements
  • double vision
  • other visual disturbances
  • difficulty hearing
  • other hearing disturbances
  • extrapyramidal system symptoms
  • which are manifested by difficulties with muscular movement or involuntary muscular movement

Cardiovascular Side Effects

Blood-related side effects are uncommon and include low white blood cell level, low granulocyte (a type of white blood cell) level and elevations of various blood enzymes.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Common gastrointestinal side effects of lorazepam include dry mouth and nausea. Less common side effects include:

  • increased salivation
  • difficulty swallowing
  • loss of appetite
  • heartburn
  • stomach disorder
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • liver problems

Urinary and Reproductive Side Effects

Urinary and reproductive side effects are uncommon and include dark urine, retaining urine, incontinence, changes in sexual interest and changes in the menstrual period.

Skin-related side effects are uncommon and include:

  • increased sweating
  • rash
  • yellowed skin
  • hair loss
  • skin inflammation
  • itching
  • hives

According to, when the drug is injected into the body, pain and burning at the site are common side effects, while redness occurs less frequently 2.

Other Side Effects

Drug dependence is a frequent side effect, and withdrawal syndrome can occur if the drug is abruptly stopped.