Many people taking Ativan® (lorazepam) may wonder, "How does it work?" To get a better understanding, it's important to know that the drug is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. These drugs have several effects on the body, including:
All medicines 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).
As a result, Ativan can help treat the symptoms of the following conditions:
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed May 23, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed May 23, 2007.
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