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Lorazepam is a drug that is approved to treat anxiety. The drug is thought to work in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) -- a brain chemical that is naturally calming. Lorazepam comes in tablet, oral liquid, and injectable forms. As with all medications, side effects are possible with this medicine. Some common side effects include dizziness, weakness, and unsteadiness.

What Is Lorazepam?

Lorazepam (Ativan®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat anxiety. An injectable form of the medicine is also available. The injectable form of lorazepam is used to decrease nervous tension and anxiety, as well as treat severe seizures (known medically as status epilepticus). Lorazepam is part of a group of medications called benzodiazepines.
(Click What Is Lorazepam Used For? for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Lorazepam?

It is currently made by Biovail Pharmaceuticals.

How Does It Work?

Lorazepam is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. These drugs have several effects on the body, including:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Causing sleepiness
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Stopping seizures
  • Impairing short-term memory.
All medicines in this category can have these effects to some degree, depending on the specific benzodiazepine that is being taken. They work in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that is naturally calming. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why lorazepam and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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