Lorazepam is a prescription drug. Like other prescription medications, lorazepam has both helpful pharmacological properties (which is why it is allowed to be sold) and serious risks (which is why it is only legal with a prescription). Understanding both the benefits and dangers is important for anyone who uses the drug.
Medical Properties of Lorazepam
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine medication, and drugs in this class have a variety of sedating effects. Lorazepam has all six benzodiazepine properties and can be used as:
- Nausea remedy
- Anxiety medication
- Muscle relaxer
It is frequently prescribed to treat insomnia, anxiety and seizures.
One of the benefits of lorazepam is that it is fast acting. When panic attacks come without warning, lorazepam can offer quick relief. It has fairly strong anti-anxiety effects and strong sedative properties. For this reason it is often a good choice for patients with both anxiety and insomnia.
Lorazepam Drug Tolerance and Dependence
Despite its clinical usefulness in certain situations, lorazepam also has significant dangers. Tolerance to and dependence on the drug can develop rapidly. Physical dependence which manifests in withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped can occur after as little as a week of drug use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises using lorazepam and other benzodiazepines for no more than two to four weeks.
When users become dependent on lorazepam and begin to suffer from withdrawal symptoms, the clinical picture becomes blurred. Lorazepam withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, and seizures – conditions that may have originally prompted the prescription of the drug. Patients often assume the symptoms are evidence of the continuance of the original disorder and believe they need to continue taking the drug indefinitely.
Lorazepam Side Effects
There are also a number of potentially serious side effects associated with lorazepam. Confusion, memory loss and other cognitive impairments are not uncommon. Lorazepam has more effects on memory than other drugs in the class and impacts both implicit and explicit memory functioning. Cognitive impairments may last for six months or even longer after lorazepam is no longer being consumed. In some cases, the cognitive effects may be permanent.
Other risks and potential side effects associated with lorazepam include the following:
- Sleep apnea
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Respiratory suppression and failure
Let Us Answer Your Questions
If you or a loved one is struggling with a lorazepam addiction, we can help. Our toll-free number is staffed 24 hours a day with caring phone counselors who understand the issues. They can help you find treatment and can check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, to help you understand your options. Call today and let us answer your questions.