Ativan Warnings and Precautions
Some Ativan warnings and precautions to be aware of include potential drug interactions, the safety of taking Ativan if you are pregnant or are elderly, and the risk that some people may become psychologically or physically dependent on Ativan. Among the conditions that you should tell your healthcare provider about prior to taking Ativan are glaucoma, depression, and liver disease. You should also let your healthcare provider know if you are breastfeeding or are pregnant (or thinking of becoming pregnant).
Ativan: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Ativan® (lorazepam) if you have:
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse (see Alcohol and Ativan)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Ativan Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Ativan include:
- Ativan is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing Ativan. Ativan is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Ativan Addiction).
- Ativan can cause psychological and physical dependence and is often abused. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking higher Ativan doses for long periods of time (for longer than two to four weeks). Because Ativan can cause dependence, you should not abruptly stop taking the drug without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Ativan Withdrawal).
- Ativan can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life-threatening. This risk is increased when Ativan is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Ativan Drug Interactions for more information). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Ativan affects you.
- Ativan may cause depression or worsen preexisting depression. Before you take Ativan, you should make sure your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of depression. People with depression should take Ativan only if they are also taking an antidepressant.
- Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of Ativan and should be started with a low Ativan dosage.
- Sometimes, people react to Ativan in a way that is the opposite of what is usually expected. That is, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these effects.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, as your body may not handle Ativan as well as it should.
- Ativan is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of taking the drug during pregnancy (see Ativan and Pregnancy).
- Ativan passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Ativan and Breastfeeding).