Generic name: Lorazepam.

Other brand name: Alzapam.

Ativan is a benzodiazepine tranquilizer. It selectively reduces the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. 

Quick Facts About Ativan


Used to treat anxiety disorders for short-term therapy (up to 4 months). Also prescribed for anxiety associated with depressive symptoms.

Ativan Dosage

Take exactly as prescribed.

  • Usual adult dose: 2 to 6 milligrams per day total, divided into smaller doses, with largest dose taken at bedtime. For anxiety — 2 to 3 milligrams per day divided into 2 or 3 smaller doses. For insomnia due to anxiet — 2 to 4 milligrams in 1 single dose, usually at bedtime. For seniors — 1 to 2 milligrams per day. divided into smaller doses.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children under 12 years.
  • Missed dose: if within an hour of the schedulec time, take missed dose. Otherwise, skip missed dose go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Ativan Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

coma, confusion, low blood pressure, sleepiness. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common side effects: dizziness, sedation (excessive calm), unsteadiness, weakness.

Less common Ativan side effects: agitation, change in appetite, depression, eye function disorders, headache, memory impairment, mental disorientatio-nausea, skin problems, sleep disturbance, stomach and intestinal disorders. Side effects due to rapid decrease or abrupt withdrawal: abdominal and musc-e cramps, convulsions, depressed mood, inability to fal or stay asleep, sweating, tremors, vomiting.


Inform your doctor before combining Ativan with:

barbiturates (Phenobarbital, Seconal, or Amytal) or sedatives such as Valium and Halcion.

Do not combine alcohol with this medication; may intensify the effects of alcohol. 

Special Cautions

Do not take Ativan if pregnant or planning to become pregnant Increased risk of birth defects. Not known whether it appears in breast milk.

Doctor should monitor seniors for stomach and upper intestinal problems.

Not generally prescribed for children under 12 years.

  • May cause drowsiness and impair your ability to drive a car or operate machinery. Do not take part in any activity that requires alertness.
  • Dependence and tolerance can develop with Ativan. Only doctor should discontinue dosage to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Should not take if sensitive to Ativan or other similar medications such as Valium.
  • Everyday stress should not be treated with Ativan.
  • Should not take if you have narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • Tell your doctor if you have decreased kidney or liver function, or severe depression before taking this medication.
  • If using for a prolonged period of time, your doctor should monitor for stomach and upper intestinal problems.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Ativan side effects, please contact your healthcare provider.