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Lorazepam is a drug used for treating anxiety. It is in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. It is thought that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may cause anxiety and other psychological disorders. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. GABA reduces the activity of nerves in the brain. Lorazepam and other benzodiazepines may act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain. Because lorazepam is removed from the blood more rapidly than many other benzodiazepines, there is less chance that lorazepam concentrations in blood will reach high levels and become toxic. Lorazepam also has fewer interactions with other medications than most of the other benzodiazepines. The FDA approved lorazepam in March 1999.
How to take
The dose of lorazepam is tailored to the patient's needs. The usual dose for treating anxiety is 2-3 mg/day given in two or three divided doses. Insomnia is treated with 2-4 mg given at bedtime
The most common side effects associated with lorazepam are sedation (15.9% of patients), dizziness (6.9% of patients), weakness, and unsteadiness. Other side effects include a feeling of depression, loss of orientation, headache, and sleep disturbance. Like all benzodiazepines, lorazepam can cause physical dependence. Suddenly stopping therapy after a few months of daily therapy may be associated with a feeling of loss of self-worth, agitation, and insomnia. If lorazepam is taken continuously for longer than a few months, stopping therapy suddenly may produce seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and sweating.
Tablets should be kept at room temperature 15-30°C (59-86°F). Oral solutions should be refrigerated at 2-8°C (36-46°F). Injectable solutions should be refrigerated.