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How Much Ativan For Anxiety

How Is Ativan Dosed

Ask Dr. Nandi: What are the effects of Ativan use?

Ativan is available as a brand and generic medication, but its usually dispensed by pharmacies as a generic medication. When dispensed as a generic medication, its called lorazepam. Unlike Xanax, theres no ER version of Ativan. Only an IR version is available. Ativan tablets are available in the following doses:

  • 0.5 mg

  • 1 mg

  • 2 mg

Ativan also comes as an oral liquid the typical dosage for the liquid form is 2 mg per mL.

The daily dose for Ativan can range anywhere from 1 mg to 10 mg. However, for anxiety disorders, a common dose of Ativan is 2 mg to 6 mg, two to three times per day as needed. Remember, Ativan dosage varies from person to person. Its best to discuss your unique needs with a healthcare provider they can help you determine what dose is best for you.

Ativan is also available as an injection given into a vein or muscle, usually administered by a healthcare provider.

Effects On The Brain And Body

Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in the United States, and as a result, anti-anxiety drugs have become among the most popular prescription medications in the country. In 2012, lorazepam ranked #48 in the list of the 200 most frequently prescribed medications, according to Pharmacy Times.

Like other drugs in the benzodiazepine category, Ativan is a central nervous system depressant that slows down unusual electrical activity in the brain. By calming this excessive activity, Ativan helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety, such as restlessness, tension, irrational fears, and irritability. But within a matter of weeks, the nervous system adjusts to the effects of Ativan, and a tolerance to the drug develops. The user needs higher doses of the drug to achieve the same sensations of relaxation and calm. With continued use, the user can become dependent on lorazepam, requiring the drug in order to function physically or mentally.

Even a patient who takes Ativan according to a doctors instructions can become dependent on the medication over time for this reason, lorazepam and other benzodiazepines are often prescribed for limited periods of time. One of the biggest risks of Ativan abuse is the possibility that Ativan dependency can turn into addiction. The warning signs of Ativan addiction include:

How Much Ativan Should I Take To Sleep

For treatment of insomnia, a single daily dose ranging from 2 to 4 mg may be prescribed by your physician. Your physician may advise you to take the medication at bedtime. For elderly patients, the dose may range from 1 to 2 mg is recommended. The dose may be administered in divided doses.

However, the dose may vary for everyone, and it may not be safe to take it. It is best to consult your doctor about the correct dose of Ativan for your sleep.

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Could Using Ativan Lead To Weight Gain Or Weight Loss

Its not likely that Ativan itself will cause weight gain or weight loss. Weight changes werent side effects reported in studies of Ativan tablets and Ativan injections. But you might still experience weight changes while taking the drug.

This may happen because weight changes are a possible symptom of anxiety, which Ativan is used to treat. As the drug eases your symptoms of anxiety, you may gain or lose weight. But Ativan itself might not be the cause of these weight changes.

If youre concerned about weight gain or weight loss with Ativan, talk with your doctor. They can suggest healthy ways for you to manage your weight while taking the drug.

What Is The Dosage Of Ativan Vs Versed

What Does Ativan Feel Like?


  • The dose of Ativan is tailored to the patient’s needs.
  • The usual dose for treating anxiety is 2 to 6 mg orally every 8 to 12 hours as needed.
  • Insomnia is treated with 2 to 4 mg given at bedtime.


A health care professional will prepare and measure your dose. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. It is usually given as a single dose before a procedure or anesthesia.The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to therapy, weight, and other medications you may be taking. Versed is not intended for chronic administration.

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Who Should Use Over

A study of 690 German pharmacists determined that people seeking over-the-counter treatments for anxiety and depression:

  • Were more likely to be younger
  • Had a shorter duration of illness
  • Had less severe symptoms
  • Were skeptical about psychopharmacology

However, the researchers questioned whether OTC treatments were a logical or cost-effective solution to these problems. Most people purchasing over-the-counter treatments for anxiety would likely benefit from professional help in the form of talk therapy or prescribed medication. The exception might be for cases of very mild anxiety that seem to be helped by herbal remedies that offer relaxation at bedtime.

Though some doctors may recommend OTC medications like Benadryl for children and adolescents, it’s especially important not to give a child Benadryl to treat anxiety without consulting their doctor first. Diphenhydramine can be dangerous for young children, and may not be the best course of treatment for your child’s symptoms.

Side Effects In Children

Ativan is not approved for use in children under age 12 years.

Side effects of the drug in children who take it are generally similar to those in adults. One difference is that Ativan may cause certain unexpected reactions more often in children. An example is anxiety, which is unexpected because Ativan is used to treat this condition.

Most of Ativans side effects in older adults are expected to be the same as the side effects for younger adults.

But older adults may have an increased risk of certain side effects from Ativan, including:

  • drowsiness
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • unexpected reactions such as anxiety, which is unexpected because Ativan is used to treat this condition
  • respiratory depression*

* To learn more about this side effect, see the Side effects explained section below.

To lower their risk of these side effects, older adults may be prescribed lower doses of Ativan than usual.

If you have questions about your risk of side effects from Ativan based on your age, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Ativans side effects.

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Ativan And Drug Testing

Taking Ativan may cause a positive result for benzodiazepines on urine drug screenings. If youre taking Ativan, consider disclosing this information before completing a drug screening.

The length of time Ativan stays in your system varies from person to person, but its usually three to five days.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Ativan.

How Long Will Ativans Effects Last

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How long does Ativan last? Once Ativan kicks in, it might last for six to eight hours again, it depends upon your body and your metabolism. Two hours is when you will feel the most benefit from Ativan after taking it. However, Ativan might last for as long as 72 hours, depending upon the dosage and the way it is administered.

One more thing you should remember is that the average half-life of the drug is about 12 hours. That means that whatever your dosage is, it takes 12 hours for that to decrease by half. As for the question âhow long it will stay in your bodyâ, you should know the therapeutic doses of Ativan are generally out of your body around 3 days after dosing. But, if you use large amount of it or use it frequently, it may be still detectable in your body for up to 6 weeks.

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What We Know About Who Misuses Ativan

The reasons for misusing any drug vary depending on the person, but an August 2018 report from CNBC provides reasons for the rise in Ativan use.

  • Anxiety is the most diagnosed mental illness in the United States today, with one out of 40 Americans affected by some form of anxiety disorder.
  • Per NIDA, 23 percent of people who overdosed on opioids in 2015 had also taken benzodiazepines.
  • NIDA also mentions that veterans who are prescribed benzodiazepines are at higher risk of overdosing on them.
  • Benzodiazepines are often prescribed by primary care doctors who have little connection to psychotherapy options that could help their patients.
  • Between 2002 and 2015, overdose fatalities involving a benzodiazepine increased fourfold.
  • Between 10 to 15 percent of those who have prescribed a benzodiazepine will develop a psychological dependence on the drug and even addiction.

A 2016 report from the New York Post mentions that some people turn to the dark web unlawful internet stores to buy benzodiazepines without the need for a prescription.

It is easy to buy a pill press that can make counterfeit tablets that look like the real thing. This means people often buy counterfeit Ativan that is a different drug altogether.

Maximum Dose Of Ativan

The maximum dose of Ativan in 24 hours is 10 milligrams . This dose is typically taken for conditions that are treated with Ativan tablets, such as anxiety.

The 10-mg maximum dose is usually divided into two or three doses. For example, you may take 2 mg in the morning, 2 mg in the afternoon, and 6 mg before bed.

For making you sleep before surgery, the maximum dose of Ativan is 4 mg.

For more information about Ativan dosages, including whats a safe dose of Ativan, see the Ativan dosage section just above.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Ativan dosages.

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Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Taking Ativan

It may not be safe to take Ativan while youre pregnant or breastfeeding. If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor. They can answer any questions you may have about using Ativan during these times.

Misuse and addiction can also lead to overdose and, in some cases, death. Risk of these events is higher when Ativan is used with opioids and alcohol.

If youre concerned about your risk of misuse and addiction with Ativan, talk with your doctor. Theyll watch for signs of these conditions before you start taking the drug. And theyll continue checking your risk periodically while youre taking Ativan.

What Is A Lethal Dose Of Ativan

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Ativan is a medication thats used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Though an overdose can occur if more than the recommended dose is ingested, death is not a likely result of overdosing on Ativan.

There is no conclusive research on the lethal dose of Ativan.

A normal dose of Ativan is between 2 to 6 milligrams . Most doses for the treatment of anxiety disorders are about 2 to 3 mg.

If a person takes significantly more than the recommended dose, its possible that overdose will occur, but death is unlikely.

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Do Xanax And Ativan Have Risks Of Dependence Addiction And Overdose

In short, yes. This is a main reason why its recommended to only use these medications temporarily when possible.

Its possible to develop dependence, addiction, and tolerance while taking Xanax and Ativan. This means you may feel the need to take more pills over time to function normally. And when you stop taking them, you may feel symptoms of withdrawal.

Long-term use of either Xanax or Ativan carries the risk of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them, such as:

  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure

  • Insomnia

  • Tremors

  • Seizures

Thats why neither should be used long-term, if possible. You and your healthcare provider should regularly check in to see if the medication is working and if you need to continue taking it.

But, its also important that you dont stop taking Xanax or Ativan abruptly, especially if you take it every day. Instead, your healthcare provider can assist you with lowering your daily dose slowly over time until you no longer take the medication.

Its also possible to have too much Xanax or Ativan in your system, and this can lead to overdose symptoms. These symptoms are usually severe. Specific overdose symptoms vary, but they usually include:

  • Severe drowsiness or dizziness

  • Low blood pressure

  • Memory loss

Certain factors may also raise your risk for having a benzodiazepine overdose. For instance, an overdose may be more likely to happen if you also have substances like opioids or alcohol in your system.

Older Adults Taking Ativan

The side effects of Ativan are often more noticeable in older adults. To limit these effects, your doctor may need to adjust your dosage. This information is intended to provide a general overview of the use of Ativan for panic disorder. Any questions or concerns you may have about your prescription should be addressed with your doctor or pharmacist.

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What Are The Dangers Of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

When benzodiazepine treatment is stopped abruptly, patients may develop withdrawal symptoms. Factors that increase the risk and severity of withdrawal symptoms include high doses and long term benzodiazepine use. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms tend to occur earlier with benzodiazepines with short elimination half-lives.

Common symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal include anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, muscle tension, and irritability. Less commonly, patients may also experience nausea, malaise, blurred vision, sweating, nightmares, depression, muscle coordination problems,tremors, and muscle twitching or spasms. In rare cases, hallucinations, delusions, seizures, and ringing in the ears may also occur. Risk of withdrawal seizures is higher with high benzodiazepine dose, long treatment duration, and concurrent use of medications that lower the seizure threshold. Prompt recognition and treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal is crucial as this condition may be life threatening. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is treated with intravenous benzodiazepines such as diazepam which tends to work over a longer period of time.

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How Should I Take Ativan

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Take Ativan exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Never use Ativan in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to use more of this medicine.

Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away this medicine is against the law.

Do not stop using Ativan without asking your doctor. You may have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medicine suddenly after long-term use.

Store in tightly closed container at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.

Keep your medicine in a place where no one can use it improperly.

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