Ativan – A drug to calm you down

Ativan, also called Lorazepam, is a prescription medication that is used as a tranquilizer in anxiety patients. The medication that is often referred to as a sedative-hypnotic is a derivative of the group of medications and drugs called Benzodiazepines. At times, this drug is also recommended by doctors for sleeping issues. In fact, the medication is quite different from most drugs belonging to its class, as it is employed by physicians before an operation or any medical procedure to calm down the patients. 

How does Ativan work with brain chemicals?

Ativan structure has been formulated in a way that it binds to the benzodiazepine receptors on the post-synaptic GABA-A channel. Basically, it helps with the increase in conductance of chloride ions by causing a shift into the cell for stabilization. This is achieved by enhancing the GABA receptors off its inhibitory effects. The inhibitory action of Ativan in two different places in the brain namely amyglada and cerebral cortex aids in smoothing the ends of anxiety and seizure disorders respectively.


Little information on what the GABA receptors do can shed enough light on the Ativan mechanism. GABA receptors regulate sleep and other calming effects in the brain. So it is easy now to guess how the medication acts on these receptors to influence the sense of relaxation. When it increases the effects of GABA, it tones down the functions of CNS to induce serenity.

How long does Ativan stay and take to induce effects?

Ativan is an anxiety pill that is fast-acting and due to this, it relatively has a long half-life. The half-life of Lorazepam extends up to 12 hours, which in turn signifies that the concentration of the drug in the body gets reduced by half for every 12 hours. Primarily, the metabolism occurs in the liver and the medication is sent out through urine. It is believed to be present up to 9 days in the system from the day of last use. It also stays in the system longer through its presence in the hair.

Is Ativan completely side effects free?

If you think this medication is only going to be useful for anxiety without any adverse effects at all, it only shows you aren’t aware how drugs interact with your body. Like most medications out there, Ativan is capable of causing side effects, dependence and even overdose when it is used for a long time.

Some common side effects of are :

  • Blurry vision

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • Loss of coordination

  • Dryness in the mouth

  • Drowsiness and dizziness

As a controlled substance, this drug can promote physical and psychological dependence and when it is stopped all of a sudden, withdrawal symptoms like disturbances in the sleep, irritation, cramps and more are likely to develop.

Key Precautions to note :

While taking Ativan,

  • Do not take Alcohol

  • Do not indulge in physical activity

  • Consult a doctor if you have liver, kidney, breathing and chest problems

  • Make sure you are aware of the contraindications and interactions

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