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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Ativan

Generic Name: lorazepam (injection) (Pronunciation: lor A ze pam)

What is lorazepam injection (Ativan)?

Lorazepam is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). Lorazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.

Lorazepam injection is used to treat a seizure emergency called status epilepticus. This medication is also used as a sedative to help you relax before having surgery.

Lorazepam injection may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of lorazepam injection (Ativan)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • weak or shallow breathing;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • hyperactivity, agitation, hostility;
  • hallucinations;
  • unusual thoughts or behavior; or
  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness, dizziness;
  • headache;
  • blurred vision;
  • skin rash;
  • nausea, vomiting; or
  • pain or burning where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about lorazepam injection (Ativan)?

If possible, before you receive lorazepam injection, tell your doctor if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, sleep apnea, asthma, COPD, or other breathing problems.

Also tell your doctor if you are allergic to lorazepam or to other benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), or oxazepam (Serax).

Lorazepam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby, and generally should not be used during pregnancy. However, status epilepticus is a life-threatening emergency and the benefit of receiving lorazepam to treat it may outweigh any risk to the unborn baby.

Do not drink alcohol shortly after receiving lorazepam injection.

Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy. They can add to sleepiness caused by lorazepam injection.

In an emergency situation it may not be possible before you are treated to tell your caregivers about your health conditions or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows that you have received this medication.

After treatment with lorazepam injection, you will be watched to make sure the medication does not cause harmful side effects.

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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