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lorazepam (oral) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lorazepam (Ativan)?

It is dangerous to try and purchase lorazepam on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of lorazepam purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.

Do not use this medication if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, or if you are allergic to lorazepam or to other benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), or oxazepam (Serax).

Before taking lorazepam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • glaucoma;
  • asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;
  • kidney or liver disease;
  • a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior; or
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.

FDA pregnancy category D. Lorazepam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use lorazepam without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

It is not known whether lorazepam passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The sedative effects of lorazepam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking lorazepam.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 12 years old.

How should I take lorazepam (Ativan)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Measure the liquid form of lorazepam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Lorazepam should be used for only a short time. Do not take this medication for longer than 4 months without your doctor's advice.

Lorazepam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Lorazepam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Contact your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms.

Do not stop using lorazepam suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

Your symptoms may return when you stop using lorazepam after using it over a long period of time. You may also have seizures or withdrawal symptoms when you stop using lorazepam. Withdrawal symptoms may include tremor, sweating, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, unusual thoughts or behavior, and seizure (convulsions).

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your doctor may need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store lorazepam at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Store the liquid form of lorazepam in the refrigerator.

Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Benzodiazepines are drugs of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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