Ativan is a generic drug for treating anxiety disorders, panic attacks, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepine, and it acts on the brain and central nervous system to enhance the effect of certain natural chemicals in the body (GABA) to produce a calming effect.
The dosage for Ativan is prescribed based on the patient’s condition. For anxiety, the dose is 2 to 3 mg daily, given in two or 3 divided doses and for insomnia, 2 to 4 mg daily. The dosage may also be lower or higher based on the patient’s age and their response to treatment.
Side Effects of Ativan
The common side effects of Ativan include:
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of balance or coordination.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Sleep problems (insomnia).
- Blurred vision.
- Forgetfulness or amnesia.
- Changes in appetite.
- Skin rash.
This medication may also cause some serious side effects, such as:
- Unusual changes in mood or behaviour.
- Severe drowsiness.
- Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.
- Worsened sleep problems.
- Muscle weakness.
- Vision changes.
- Sudden restless feeling or excitement.
- Dark urine.
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).
- Trouble swallowing.
- Upper stomach pain.
- Drooping eyelids.
If you notice these severe side effects, contact your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, like drowsiness and loss of coordination, so they should start from lower doses. Also, the drug may have the opposite of its usual calming effect in children and older adults; it may cause shaking, restlessness, hallucinations and agitation.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this drug because it can pass into breast milk, and it is not recommended for pregnant women as it may harm an unborn baby. Also, tell your doctor about your medical history and allergies before taking the drug.
Ativan may cause drowsiness, dizziness or blurry vision, so do not drive or operate machines after taking the drug.