Skip to main content
Optum Perks
    Medically Approved

    How Lorazepam works to lower anxiety

    twitter share buttonfacebook share buttonlinkedin share buttonemail article button
    Updated on June 29, 2016

    Anxiety is a common, but often debilitating, condition. More than just worrying, anxiety makes it hard to do the things you once loved. Those with anxiety, especially severe anxiety, may struggle to get to sleep, or to stay asleep. They may ruminate, or think about the same thing over and over. There are many forms of anxiety, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and others. They all have one thing in common, a gripping fear that makes life feel impossible.

    Ideally, anxiety is treated through a combination of therapy and medications. There are different classes of anxiety medications and most that are prescribed for long-term use take a few weeks to kick in. Lorazepam, also known as Ativan, is a fast acting anti-anxiety drug. It is often prescribed to ‘bridge the gap’ between diagnosis and the time when other, long-term anxiety treatments take effect.

    Who can take Lorazepam?

    Lorazepam is used to treat adults; it has not been studied in children, and geriatric patients should use caution because they may be affected differently than younger adults. Lorazepam is not safe for pregnant women, and there is no conclusive evidence whether it is safe during breastfeeding. It’s best to talk to your doctor before use if you plan to breastfeed. Lorazepam can be habit-forming, so it may not be right for someone with who has struggled with addiction in the past. It should only be used as directed by the person it was originally prescribed for, especially considering that it is illegal to share prescriptions.

    Pharmacists looking at medications.

    Save up to 80% on your medications

    Get prescriptions for as low as $4 with our free discount card, redeemable at over 64,000 pharmacies nationwide.

    Get free card

    What are the risks of taking Lorazepam?

    Lorazepam is a fast acting drug, so it is not generally prescribed to be used long-term. Most people use it for sudden panic attacks, or for a short period of time to get their anxiety under control, usually 2-4 weeks. Because it can be addictive, it is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions for taking it. Never drink alcohol or take sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, seizure medication, or depression medication with Lorazepam without first consulting your doctor. Also, never drive while under the influence of Lorazepam; falling asleep at the wheel is a real possibility with this medication.

    Some potential side effects are:

    • signs of an allergic reaction (hives, swelling, difficulty breathing)
    • severe drowsiness
    • lack of balance
    • confusion
    • memory problems
    • worsened sleep problems

    Studies reported other, less common side effects not listed here. Be sure to keep communication open with your doctor, especially if you have any concerns.

    Benefits of Lorazepam

    Lorazepam is in a class of drugs called Benzodiazepines. These drugs calm down the central nervous system, which is why it can be so effective at stopping anxiety attacks. It also is effective at treating insomnia, whether caused by anxiety or not. Sometimes it is given to a patient prior to anesthesia before surgery.

    If you have been prescribed Lorazepam, or are planning to speak to your doctor about Lorazepam or other anti-anxiety medications, use Optum Perks to find the lowest price in your area.