Ativan (Lorazepam)

Commonly compared to the likes of Xanax and Valium, Ativan is a unique drug that can help with symptoms of anxiety as well as insomnia. The drug sits in the benzodiazepine family and comes with anti-emetic, anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety, and sedative properties.

One aspect that has made the drug to be a reliable solution is that there aren’t any cases of liver injury arising from taking the medication.

Ativan is another drug that’s generally prescribed based on the specific case of each patient. If a patient meets the criteria for the solutions the drug provides, a doctor may consider prescribing it.

Overall, this article will provide critical information on understanding the relevance of Ativan and how it can be applied to the health of individuals.

Mechanism of action and efficacy

Ativan is able to deliver its effects thanks to its ability to work with GABA receptors. More specifically, Ativan works with the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid by enhancing its effects.

In a similar fashion to other related drugs, Ativan increases opening events for the chloride channel as well as membrane hyperpolarization. Another added step to this is the inhibition of the transmission of certain nerve signals.

It should also be clarified that Ativan is contraindicated in patients that have sleep apnea, respiratory insufficiency, and acute narrow-angle glaucoma. The drug definitely isn’t for everyone, but its efficacy has been proven time and time again.

Patients should also be careful taking Ativan as it can lead to depression of the central nervous system and impaired motor and cognitive skills. The activities within the body caused by Ativan are directly correlated to its binding site.

For anxiety disorders, drugs need to be bound in the amygdala. When it comes to seizures, it's important for the drug to bind to the cerebral cortex.

This goes to show why the mechanism of action is so important and why the right prescription is vital to feeling better. In less common circumstances, Ativan is used to manage status epilepticus and can be administered intramuscularly or intravenously.

If rapid action is desired, intramuscularly is the way to go.

How Ativan is administered and dosed is a primary factor in its efficacy with each individual patient. Considering everyone’s body reacts to medicines differently, doctors will prescribe the exact amount required to solve a patient's particular medical concern.

Functionality for the different age groups

The efficacy of prescription drugs can’t always be copied and pasted to every age group. It’s common for older individuals to struggle with certain medications as their organs may have a harder time processing the mechanism of action.

This isn’t to say that young people won’t encounter their fair share of challenges. In general, Ativan is pretty easy to manage, and the positive results of the drug heavily outweigh the negatives.

The biggest factor in determining if Ativan is right for a patient is by discussing medical history with a doctor. After evaluating past and current health information, a doctor can offer the right prescription and dosage that should handle the needs of each patient.

Understanding dosage and general administration

Ativan has an impressive bioavailability of 90% and is generally administered orally. For the drug to reach maximum concentration, it generally takes about two hours when taken orally. As far as how the drug exits the body, 88% of a 2mg oral dose is found in urine, while roughly 7% will be recovered in feces.

Interestingly, Ativan doesn’t redistribute very fast in the brain, and this is due to the drug’s lipophilicity. Aside from what research shows, doctors will offer specific prescriptions to each patient based on the needs of their health.

This is also bound to vary between different age groups and health conditions.

In small doses, Ativan is easily manageable, but the effects of the drug can change quickly in higher doses. There are multiple ways that the drug can be administered, but most people opt for the drug in pill form as that’s easiest to manage.

How the drug functions within the body in different stages is also important to understand. It takes roughly 11 hours and 8 minutes for Ativan to reach the elimination of half-life. Regarding absorption rates, it takes around 55 minutes for oral doses and 15 minutes for sublingual doses.

Most of the elimination process occurs when Ativan passes through the kidney. With elderly patients, clearance of Ativan is decreased. This is especially true for those with renal impairment or liver disease.

Patients who are dealing with hepatic dysfunction may find that Ativan accumulates within the body.

Unfortunately, Ativan doesn’t do well with other drug interactions, so it’s best taken by itself. This can be attributed to the limited metabolism that the liver is capable of.

Patients who take drugs that affect liver enzymes may end up altering the pharmacokinetics of Ativan. This can lead to a number of adverse health issues that should be avoided. As with any other medication, sticking to the proper dosage is the best way to avoid unwanted side effects.

Ativan comes with its own unique set of mild to severe side effects, some of which are more common than others. Each patient should be well aware of this before taking Ativan, regardless of age or current health condition.

Research has shown that the administration of Ativan may need to be closely monitored in those with a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Risk factors to consider

Although there are quite a few potential risks and side effects associated with Ativan, they should scare a patient from considering it as an option for their health. Every drug comes with its own unique risk factors.

Even though they may sound alarming, it’s better to be prepared than be uneducated about what you could possibly experience with your prescription.

Common health risks associated with Ativan include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness

Some patients may be more susceptible to certain risk factors than others. However minor they may be, there are more severe side effects that Ativan is capable of.

More severe side effects include some of the following:

  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Shuffling walk
  • Persistent tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face

Many side effects don't occur unprovoked, and other medications, lifestyle habits, or current health conditions can exacerbate them. With the efficacy rate of Ativan, there isn't much reason to be concerned about side effects, but that doesn't eliminate their presence entirely.

For additional information on this particular topic, make sure to discuss your concerns with a doctor before taking prescription medicine.

There's a lot of controversy around prescription medications, but that doesn't mean they aren't safe. Many times, prescription medications are provided with the intent of short-term use to help with a current health condition. In other cases, prescription medication may be necessary for long-term health issues in the patient.

The Bottom Line

Ativan isn't a new concept to many people, but it also may not be the first choice based on their particular healthcare needs. Part of what makes Ativan a sought-after prescription medication is its multiple use cases and methods of administration.

It's essential for patients to review the ins and outs of Ativan before diving in head first. This always starts with a doctor consultation, alongside a review of the patient's overall health.