As with most medications, Ativan has side effects that may occur while you are using the drug. If your doctor has prescribed Ativan for you, then he or she has likely determined that the benefits of the medication outweigh the potential risks. Here are some of the common, and not so common, side effects of Ativan.
Unfortunately, topping the list of Ativan side effects is addiction. Because of the effects of this drug on the mind, coupled with the brief half-life, it is very easy to become dependent on Ativan. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have a history of addiction as this may affect whether or not this medication is prescribed for you. There may be less dangerous alternatives that you can try first.
Common side effects of Ativan
Additional common lorazepam side effects include natural benzodiazepine effects. For example, if you were prescribed Ativan for anxiety then you may be put off by the strong sedation effect. A patient with insomnia (Ativan for sleep), on the other hand, is taking the medication for this very reason and may consider other effects, like an amnesic effect, to be an adverse side effect. A patient about to undergo anesthesia is actually receiving Ativan for this amnesic affect. Thus, while you are likely only receiving this medication for one of its five main effects, you will likely experience all of the effects making the other results seem like side effects.
Additional side effects of lorazepam may include confusion or ataxia. You may experience symptoms that mimic a hangover. Anterograde amnesia is also a possible side effect. In such a case, you may be unable to remember anything that happens after you take the medication for a period of time. You are more likely to experience adverse effects from this medication if you are older. Dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness may also occur. This can result in falls, especially in the elderly.
Some of the more rare, but dangerous, effects of the medication include paradoxical effects (you experience a worsening of the condition for which the medication was prescribed), suicidal thoughts, and more severe amnesic effects. Doctors will start you on a small dose to reduce the risk of serious side effects.
In cases of Ativan abuse, more severe side effects are possible. If you believe you have become dependent on Ativan, you should consult a physician to receive help. A rehabilitation center can help you deal with withdrawal effects.