A healthcare provider may prescribe Ativan® (lorazepam) to treat anxiety. This medication is part of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. These medicines have several effects on the body, including:
- Reducing anxiety
- Causing sleepiness
- Relaxing muscles
- Stopping seizures
- Impairing short-term memory.
All drugs in this category 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).
This particular medication comes in the form of an oral liquid, an injection, or tablets (pills). When used orally, Ativan is usually taken two or three times a day (or sometimes just before bedtime).
(Click Ativan for a more in-depth look at Ativan, including information on potential side effects, drug interactions, and safety concerns to be aware of before starting treatment.)