Potential Side Effects of Ativan
Lorazepam, more commonly known as Ativan, belongs to benzodiazepine medications, widely used to treat anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, trouble sleeping, alcohol withdrawal, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Apart from its primary usage, Ativan finds its place in treating acute coronary syndrome erupted from cocaine use. Benzodiazepines are trusted to work remarkably well by depressing the central nervous system and thus called out to be the central nervous system depressants.
Like other potent medications, lorazepam too has its dark side attached to it. After extended usage of the prescribed drug, the physical and psychological dependency is a common situation faced by patients who indulge heavily in misuse and abuse of the drug. That is why it remains a controlled substance in the United States and other major consumer countries. This medication is also part of the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
As you are now aware that Ativan has its share of side effects that show up in the consumers as someone in need of this potent medication, you must know about the potential side effects it can induce in the patients. And how you can deal with them, ruling out possibilities of any severe damage that can even turn out to be lethal if not taken with utmost seriousness.
The first and most important thing you need to take care of before committing to this drug is consulting your doctor about the medicine’s impacts. Getting an overview and then investing your trust in the medication and the doctor is the way to move forward with the treatment.
Common Side Effects
Some of the side effects of this anti-anxiety medicine are common and usually do not require special medical attention. Ativan’s common symptoms may go away during the ongoing treatment as the body gets familiar to them and doesn’t react abnormally as earlier. You must converse with your doctor about the symptoms and how to deal with them most comfortably.
As most benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system, the common side effects include clumsiness, drowsiness, hair loss, lack of self-control, shivering, dizziness, muscle ache, sedation, low blood pressure, unsteadiness, and shaking. These are manageable with some homely care, and they disappear within 3 – 4 days, but if they do not consult your psychiatrist or doctor to get a proper screening.
Severe Side Effects
Ativan’s severe side effects usually erupt when the patients do not take the necessary precautions or misuse them for recreational purposes. It produces side effects that alter the functioning of the brain and the central nervous system. Not all of them emerge in a patient, but immediate medical attention needs to prevail over the symptoms to limit the severity and prevent life loss. There are a varied number of causes that can push customers to cope with these side effects. Those are:
- Ativan consumed in high doses.
- Consuming Ativan with other potent drugs like other benzodiazepines, opioid medications, alcohol, barbiturates, etc. that, tends to depress the central nervous system.
- If you have any underlying illnesses like breathing problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sleep apnea, etc., you are prone to getting severely ill from Ativan’s side effects.
Children and the Elderly
Multiple cases worldwide suggest that this medication’s use in children might backfire and cause severe side effects. It can cause ‘paradoxical effect.’ in children, including aggression, angry outbursts, agitation, and confusion without any specific reason. Apart from that, older people are also prone to induce the harsh impacts of the drug.
Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Infants
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding at the time of getting treatment through Ativan are also potential risk-carriers of the severe side effects. It can even harm the baby, for that matter, which is not the risk you will ever want to come around in your life. It can cross the placenta and shift into the breastmilk leading the baby to bear the repercussions for the whole life. Consulting your doctor before turning up on this prescription medication is the wise step you can take to prevent such side effects.
Physical Dependency and Tolerance
The usage of Avitan for an extended period can not only make you more prone to the side effects but also make you physically dependent on the drug. And this, in turn, will make you tolerant to the drug; you will need higher doses of the medication to get the same degree of effects which you were experiencing at the initial stage of the treatment. That is the reason why benzodiazepines like lorazepam should not get into your system for an extended period as the body gets adjusted to it and doesn’t respond the same way.
Increasing the dose may help you overcome tolerance, but this will open a new door for other adverse effects linked with the medication and worsen the situation for you. The likelihood of getting tolerant to lorazepam is higher than other benzodiazepines, which is again not very positive news in case you are getting treated with lorazepam for your anxiety issues.
Many cases exist globally whereafter getting annoyed and drained of taking Ativan for a short period; patients stop taking it abruptly, hoping that this will end their problems. Instead, this is one mistake you should never do while discontinuing the potent drug. Those who stop the consumption all of a sudden face withdrawal symptoms associated with the drug, which includes headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, confusion, .restlesness, sweating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and many more issues.
You need to consult your doctor to stop treatment or take a break from such potent prescription drugs. Their lies are a proper roadmap for discontinuation of the medication to ensure you come across minimum withdrawal side effects during the process. The risk of withdrawal effects gets expanded with long term usage, use of high doses, and rapid-uncontrolled reduction of the prescribed dose.
Drug Abuse and Addiction
Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan, too, has the potential to get abused and quickly lead to addiction. Especially if you come up with a family history of mental issues like anxiety disorder or depression or if someone in your family faced drug addiction or indulged in its abuse. You need special attention from your doctor at each stage of your treatment to rule out the possibility of addiction or abuse in such situations.
There is a set of criteria approved by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, in which one needs to meet at least two of them in the last 12 months to get diagnosed for the initial evaluation of drug addiction. Those are:
- The substance gets into the system in a more considerable amount or for a more extended period than needed.
- One makes persistent efforts or has the desire to cut down the overuse of the substance.
- The individual devotes a significant amount of time in obtaining the substance, use the substance, and recover from its effects.
- Urge or desire or craving to use the substance.
- The influence of the substance intervenes and fails with daily life obligations at work, school, or home.
- Continuing the substance abuse even after the fallout of social, occupational, or recreational activities.
- Using the substance in situations where it can turn out to be hazardous.
- Not giving up the substance abuse even after knowing about the persistent physical and psychological problems emerged from it.