Mental Health Home > Precautions and Warnings With Lorazepam
Before taking lorazepam, it is important to be aware of the drug's warnings and precautions. For example, lorazepam is a controlled substance and has the potential to be abused. In addition, the drug may cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing in some people, which can potentially be life-threatening. Precautions and warnings with lorazepam also include people who should not take the medicine (such as those who are allergic to lorazepam and those who have acute narrow-angle glaucoma).
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse (see Alcohol and Ativan)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With LorazepamSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking lorazepam include:
- Lorazepam is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing lorazepam. Lorazepam is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Ativan Addiction).
- Lorazepam can cause psychological and physical dependence and is often abused. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking higher lorazepam doses for long periods of time (more than two to four weeks). Because lorazepam can cause dependence, you should not abruptly stop taking lorazepam without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Ativan Withdrawal).
- Lorazepam can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life-threatening. This risk is increased when lorazepam is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Ativan Drug Interactions for more information). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how lorazepam will affect you.
- Lorazepam may cause depression or worsen preexisting depression in some people. Prior to taking lorazepam, you should make sure your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of depression. People with depression should take lorazepam only if they are also taking an antidepressant.
- Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of lorazepam and should be started with a low lorazepam dosage.
- Sometimes, people react to lorazepam in a way that is the opposite of what is usually expected. That is, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these effects.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, as your body may not handle Lorazepam as well as it should.
- Lorazepam is a considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Ativan and Pregnancy).
- Lorazepam passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Ativan and Breastfeeding).