Med of the Week: Lorazepam AKA Ativan

lorazepam is a benzodiazapene commonly used to treat anxiety. It is also used as a muscle relaxant, sleep aid, antiemetic, antiseizure med, and for Ethanol detoxification.

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with excess use include:

  • Anterograde amnesia: Benzodiazepines have been associated with anterograde amnesia.
  • CNS depression: May cause CNS depression, which may impair physical or mental abilities; patients must be cautioned about performing tasks which require mental alertness (eg, operating machinery or driving).
  • Paradoxical reactions: Paradoxical reactions, including hyperactive or aggressive behavior, have been reported with benzodiazepines, particularly in adolescent/pediatric or psychiatric patients.

This medication has high abuse potential and is used recreationally by many.

Respiratory suppression leading to the need for airway management could be a distinct possibility particularly when mixing with other CNS depressants like alcohol.

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