Your doctor may prescribe you lorazepam to relieve anxiety. Lorazepam is one of the most frequently prescribed drugs to treat anxiety disorders. It has been marketed under the brand name Ativan and Orfidal and belongs to the group of medications called benzodiazepines. These medicines slow the activity of your brain and central nervous system, producing a calming effect that allows you to relax.
Lorazepam is also used to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, treat insomnia and prevent nausea and vomiting common after chemotherapy treatments. Other uses include treating irritable bowel syndrome and epilepsy.
Lorazepam comes in tablet and liquid forms. It may be taken with or without food. Follow your doctor's instructions when taking this medicine. Your doctor will adjust your dosage according to your condition and how you react to the medicine.
Do not stop taking this medicine abruptly. Lorazepam may be habit-forming, and sudden discontinuance may cause withdrawal symptoms. If you stop suddenly, you may experience seizures, tremors, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating. Your doctor may work with you to gradually reduce your dosage. If lorazepam stops working as effectively, talk to your doctor.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any other drugs you are taking. Lorazepam may interact with other medicines that slow the brain including narcotics, tranquilizers, barbiturates and alcohol.
It is not recommended that you take lorazepam while pregnant, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Side effects may include harm to the fetus.
Serious side effects reported by patients include:
- Severe drowsiness and weakness
- Slow heartbeat
- Depression or severe confusion
- Trouble breathing
- Unsteadiness when standing up
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of these side effects.
Less serious side effects of lorazepam may include:
- A dry mouth, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness, trouble concentrating or clumsiness
- A "hungover" feeling in the morning if you take lorazepam before bed
Tell your doctor if any of these less serious side effects are prolonged or worsen.
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