Habit forming? Yes
Prescription needed? Yes
Available as generic? Yes, for most
Drug class: Tranquilizer (benzodiazepine), anticonvulsant

Treatment for anxiety disorders and panic disorders.
- Treatment for muscle spasm.
- Treatment for seizure disorders.
- Treatment for alcohol withdrawal.
- Treatment for insomnia (short-term).

How to take:

- Tablet or capsule: Swallow with liquid. If you can't swallow whole, crumble tablet or open capsule and take with liquid or a bite of food.

- Extended-release capsule: Swallow capsule whole. Do not open or chew.

- Oral suspension: Dilute dose in water, soda or soda like beverage or small amount of food such as applesauce or pudding.

- Sublingual tablet: Do not chew or swallow. Place under tongue until dissolved.

- Disintegrating tablet: Let dissolve on tongue.

- Rectal gel: Follow instructions provided with prescription or as directed by the doctor.

When to take:

- At the same time each day, according to instructions on prescription label.

If you forget a dose:

- Take as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, wait for that dose (don't double this dose) and resume regular schedule.

What Drug Does:

- Affects limbic system of brain, the part that controls emotions.

Time lapse before drug works:

- May take 6 weeks for full benefit; depends on Drug when treating anxiety.

Don't take with:

- Any other medicine or any dietary supplement without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

SYMPTOMS: Drowsiness, weakness, tremor, stupor, coma.


Rare allergic reaction- May have hives, rash, Itching, swelling, trouble Breathing, wheezing, chest Pain, dizziness, faintness.

Common Ativan Side Effects:
Clumsiness, Unsteadiness, dizziness, light-headed, drowsiness, slurred speech.

Infrequent Ativan Side Effects: Memory loss, anxiety, confusion, depression, fast heartbeat.  Constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, urination problems, stomach pain, headache, mouth is dry or watering, muscle spasm, changes in sexual function.

Rare Attivan Side Effects:
Behavior changes (may be bizarre), confusion, delusions, outbursts of anger, loss of reality, infection symptoms (fever, chills), unusual tiredness or weakness, unusual bleeding or bruising, skin rash or itching, sores in mouth, body movements uncontrolled, hallucinations, yellow skin or eyes, sleep-related behaviors.

Don't take if:

- You are allergic to any benzodiazepine.

Before you start, consult your doctor If:

- You have myasthenia gravis.

- You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or severe depression or mental disorder.

- You have liver, kidney or lung disease.

- You have diabetes, seizure disorder, a swallowing problem (in children), or porphyria.

- You have sleep apnea.

- You have glaucoma.

Over age 60:

- Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.

- May need smaller doses for shorter period.


- Risk factors vary for drugs in this group.

- Drug passes into milk. Avoid drug or discontinue nursing until you finish medicine.

- Consult doctor for advice on maintaining milk supply.

Infants & Children:

- Use only under medical supervision.

Prolonged use:

- Risk of physical or psychological dependence.

Skin & sunlight:

- One or more drugs in this group may cause rash or intensify sunburn in areas exposed to sun or ultraviolet light (photosensitivity reaction).

- Avoid overexposure and use sunscreen.

- Notify doctor if reaction occurs.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:

- Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you.

- Don't work around dangerous machinery.

- Don't climb ladders or work in high places.

- Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes.


- Don't discontinue without consulting doctor.

- Adverse effects can occur
(may be life-threatening) if the drug has been taken for longer periods.

- Dose may require gradual reduction

- Doses of other drugs may also require adjustment.

- If withdrawal symptoms (emotional or physical) occur after stopping the drug, call doctor.


- Don't use for insomnia more than 4-7 days. 

- Hot weather, heavy exercise and sweating may increase risk of heat stroke.

- Advise any doctor or dentist whom you consult that you take this drug.

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