Ativan injection contains the active ingredient lorazepam, which is a type of medicine called a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative, anxiety-relieving and muscle-relaxant effects.
Lorazepam works by acting on receptors in the brain called GABA receptors. This causes the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural 'nerve-calming' agent. It helps keep the nerve activity in the brain in balance, and is involved in inducing sleepiness and reducing anxiety.
As lorazepam increases the activity of GABA in the brain, it increases its calming effect and results in sleepiness, a decrease in anxiety and relaxation of the muscles.
Lorazepam is used to calm severe anxiety and related conditions, such as acute mania, excitement or agitation. Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam are effective at quickly reducing the symptoms of anxiety and agitation that occur in a manic or hypomanic episode of the psychiatric illness, bipolar affective disorder. Benzodiazepines help calm the individual while the main medicines used to treat this condition (mood stabilisers) begin to take effect.
Lorazepam is also given for its sedating and anxiety-relieving effects as a pre-med before surgery or medical investigations that may be uncomfortable or prolonged, for example bronchoscopy or endoscopy.
Lorazepam injection is also used to control repeated epileptic fits or seizures when a patient does not recover conciousness between fits (status epilepticus). It works in this instance because the increased activity of GABA in the brain helps to calm excessive electrical nerve activity in the brain that is responsible for causing seizures.
Lorazepam is given by injection when a rapid effect is needed.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while being treated with this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
There may be an increased risk of drowsiness and sedation if lorazepam is used with any of the following (which can also cause drowsiness):
There may be increased sedation, excessive salivation and irregular muscular movement, such as shaking and unsteady walking if lorazepam is taken with clozapine.
Probenecid and sodium valproate may prevent the breakdown of lorazepam in the body. As this could increase the blood level of lorazepam and its sedative effects, as well as the risk of its side effects, your doctor may need to prescribe you a lower than normal dose of lorazepam if you are taking probenecid.
Caffeine and theophylline may reduce the sedative and anxiety-reducing effects of lorazepam.