This medication is used to treat serious seizures that do not stop (status epilepticus). It is also used before surgeries or procedures to cause drowsiness, decrease anxiety, and cause forgetfulness about the procedure or surgery.
Lorazepam belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines, which produce a calming effect on the brain and nerves (central nervous system). It is thought to work by increasing the effect of a certain natural chemical (GABA) in the brain.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used to cause drowsiness in patients who need a tube and machine to help with breathing (intubated), to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy, and to treat a mental/mood disorder (delirium).
This medication is given by injection into a vein or muscle as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. Withdrawal symptoms (such as loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, mental/mood changes such as anxiety/agitation) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). This risk may be increased if you have abused alcohol or drugs in the past. Use this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction.
Do not suddenly stop using this drug without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, pain/burning/swelling/redness at the injection site, or unsteadiness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as hallucinations, agitation, confusion), muscle weakness.
Get medical help right away if you have any rare but very serious side effects, including: loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, slow/shallow breathing, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using lorazepam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: glaucoma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, drug/alcohol abuse, mental/mood disorders (such as depression, psychosis), breathing problems (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, sleep apnea).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. For at least 8 hours after receiving this drug, you should not get out of bed without help. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until the effects of the medication wear off (at least 24 hours). Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially loss of coordination and drowsiness. Also, the elderly may not experience relief of anxiety with lorazepam. It may have the opposite effect on the elderly, causing symptoms including mental/mood changes, sleeping problems, increase in sexual interest, or hallucinations. Loss of coordination, drowsiness, and sleeping problems can increase the risk of falling.
This drug may have an opposite effect on children, causing restlessness, shaking (tremors), or mental/mood changes (such as agitation, hallucinations).
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Tell the doctor right away if you notice symptoms in your newborn baby such as slowed breathing, feeding problems, or constant crying. Consult your doctor for more details
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness including certain antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine), other medicines for sleep or anxiety (such as diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine), psychiatric medicines (such as chlorpromazine, risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: extreme drowsiness/dizziness, confusion, extreme tiredness, unsteadiness, loss of consciousness.
Do not share this medication with others. It is against the law.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) away from light or as directed by your pharmacist. Do not freeze. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised November 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet