Ativan Drug Class

As part of the benzodiazepine drug class, Ativan® (lorazepam) has several effects on the body, including:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Causing sleepiness
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Stopping seizures
  • Impairing short-term memory.
All benzodiazepines, including Ativan, can have these effects to some degree, depending on the specific benzodiazepine that is being taken. They work in the brain by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that is naturally calming. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why Ativan and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).
In this way, Ativan can help treat anxiety, nervous tension and anxiety before a surgery, and severe seizures (medically known as status epilepticus). Ativan is approved for use in adults and children as young as 12 years old.
(Click Ativan Uses for a more in-depth look at this drug, including how the anxiety medication works, the symptoms it is used to treat, and possible off-label uses.)
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