How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

trusted pharmacist resources
If you use Ativan to manage your health but are curious about how long Ativan lasts in your system, we have all the information you need!

Share This Post

Ativan is a commonly prescribed prescription drug that is used by millions of Americans for anxiety, insomnia, and seizure disorders. It is the brand name for the generic drug lorazepam. 

The medication has the potential to cause physical and psychological dependence and is commonly abused, so many employers include the medication in their drug screening protocols. 

If you use Ativan to manage your health but are curious about how long Ativan lasts in your system, we have all the information you need!

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a prescription tranquilizing drug that is sometimes referred to as a sedative-hypnotic or anxiolytic medication.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ativan for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and seizures, but it is most well-known for the treatment of anxiety.

Ativan belongs to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines, which also includes anti-depressant and mental health medications like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. 

How long does Ativan stay in your system?

Ativan is a relatively fast-acting benzodiazepine that starts working quickly to treat symptoms of anxiety associated with anxiety disorders.

Most patients start to feel the effects of the medication within 15 to 30 minutes of taking the drug, and the medication reaches its peak effects about an hour to an hour and a half after the dose is taken. 

Effects of the medication typically last between 8 and 12 hours for most patients, and the half-life of Ativan is 12 hours.

Therefore, the amount of Ativan in your body will decrease by half every 12 hours.

How long can Ativan be detected?

The length of time that Ativan can be detected in the body by a drug test varies depending on a number of factors, including the type of drug screening test that is performed. 

What factors determine how long Ativan stays in your system?

There are a number of different factors that influence how long Ativan lasts in your system and how long it can be detected by the different types of drug tests. 

These factors include:

  • Dosage of the medication used and how often it is taken
  • Biological factors such as height and weight, age, and kidney health
  • Use of other substances

Patients who take higher doses of Ativan take longer to metabolize the medication, and more frequent doses of the medication impact the absorption time of the drug.

Patients who take Ativan regularly at higher doses will have the medication last at detectable levels for a longer period of time than other patients.

Biological factors such as your height, weight, and age also play a role in how quickly your body eliminates Ativan.

Shorter, lighter people eliminate the drug more slowly than people who are taller or heavier, and older people also eliminate the drug more slowly in general due to a slower metabolism and decreased kidney function.

Using other substances, including alcohol and opioids, can change the way that Ativan is processed by the body.

Studies show that alcohol slows the rate at which Ativan is metabolized by as much as 18 percent.

The drug will take longer to kick in when consumed with alcohol, but the effects will last longer and the medication will be detectable in your system for a longer period of time.

YouTube player

Are there any side effects associated with Ativan?

Side effects for Ativan are generally divided into three categories and include common, less common, and serious side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness

Less common side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Lack of coordination
  • Depression
  • Restlessness

Serious or life-threatening side effects of Ativan include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychological and physical dependence
  • Serious allergic reaction (antihistamines may be needed)
  • Slowed breathing
  • Respiratory failure

Be on the lookout for signs of psychological and/or physical dependence on Ativan, Ativan addiction or substance abuse, or signs of Ativan withdrawal symptoms

Symptoms of dependence may include:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Body aches
  • Depression 
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vomiting 

If you experience an allergic reaction to Ativan, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rash or hives
  • Swelling of lips, tongue, or face
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing


Most patients will feel the effects of Ativan for up to 12 hours, but the drug remains detectable in your system for much longer.

Depending on the type of testing that is performed, Ativan can be detectable for up to 30 days. 

Long-term use or short-term use of Ativan can lead to antidepressant withdrawal, with the intensity of the withdrawal depending on the amount of time you’ve been using the drug.

You should only stop Ativan under the supervision of a medical professional, who can aid in detox through outpatient or inpatient treatment. 

Ativan is a schedule IV drug, meaning there is a risk of habit-forming benzo substance abuse. Seek addiction treatment if you believe your substance use has led to Ativan dependence. 

Consult a healthcare provider for medical advice on whether Ativan is right for you. 

References, Studies and Sources:

We are committed to providing our readers with only trusted resources and science-based studies with regards to medication and health information. 

Disclaimer: This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you suspect medical problems or need medical help or advice, please talk with your healthcare professional.

Share This Post Discount Club

Get Started for $1.

  • Cheapest cash pay option at your retail pharmacy
  • 1,000s of drugs below $10.00 that can beat your co-pay
  • Start for $1 for your first month. Cancel anytime. 
  • Tell us your meds, we tell you the cheapest options.

Popular Destinations

Recent Articles

trusted pharmacists giving patient information

Does Taking Effexor Cause Weight Gain?

Taking Effexor may cause weight gain in some patients. Weight gain is a common side effect of Effexor and other antidepressant medications, and more than half of patients on newer classes of antidepressants report experiencing weight gain.

Read More »

Cerebral Review: Online Depression & Anxiety Treatment

Today, we’re deep diving with a Cerebral review to give you some insider info to help you narrow down your choices.

We review and include products we think are useful for our community. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission. For more info, please read our ad policy, content principles and vetting policy.

Read More »

Share On:

More To Explore

Does Taking Effexor Cause Weight Gain?

Taking Effexor may cause weight gain in some patients. Weight gain is a common side effect of Effexor and other antidepressant medications, and more

How Long Does Lexapro Take To Work?

If you are considering taking Lexapro for your depression or anxiety, you might be wondering how long it takes to work.

Zoloft and Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know

When it comes to Zoloft and weight loss, here’s everything you need to know.

Cerebral Review: Online Depression & Anxiety Treatment

Today, we’re deep diving with a Cerebral review to give you some insider info to help you narrow down your choices.

We review and include

What are the signs of Depression?

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of depression as well as some treatment options for this condition.

Can You Use Gabapentin For Anxiety?

While Neurontin is the most common brand name for gabapentin, other forms (such as Horizant and Gralise) may be prescribed depending on the specific

What is Zoloft?

If you have been recently diagnosed with depression and are given Zoloft, you may want to know how the medication works, what common side

What is Venlafaxine HCL ER?

The prescription drug belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SNRIs), which are commonly used to treat mental

Using Prozac With Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Prozac can be used to treat many different mental health conditions, is associated with a relatively low risk of side effects, and causes the

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

This fast-acting medication is known for being effective at panic attacks, but how long does clonazepam stay in your system?

What is Sertraline and What are the Side Effects?

Sertraline is the generic form of Zoloft, a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs like

Turn On, Tune In, and…. Heal Your Brain? Psychedelics Return as Potential Therapy for Mental Health Disorders

Before they fell out of favor over half a century ago, psychedelic drugs, like psilocybin and LSD, were studied for various psychiatric diseases such

How Long Does Alprazolam Stay in Your System?

Alprazolam is a fast-acting medication, but exactly how long alprazolam stays in your body varies tremendously based on the form of the medication taken,

Paxil vs Zoloft: Differences, Similarities and Which is Better

When it comes to Paxil vs. Zoloft, which is better?

A Supplement for Stress? The Science Behind Adaptogens

Stress is part of all our lives. Adaptogens are a group of herbal supplements studied throughout history as a way to improve the body’s

Does Buspirone Cause Weight Gain?

Many antidepressants can cause weight gain as a side effect. Buspirone may cause an altered appetite as a side effect, which can lead to

Duloxetine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Duloxetine withdrawal is very common and well documented, affecting nearly half of all patients. Common withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and nausea, and symptoms

Cymbalta vs. Prozac: Comparison Guide

Cymbalta and Prozac are commonly prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder. The medications are similarly effective, although one

Why is Mental Health Important?

As the saying goes, “There is no health without mental health,” but why is mental health so important? The reality is that although we

What is BuSpar? Uses, Costs, Benefits, and Doses

If you’re one of 40 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder or experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you might think that your battle

What are Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics? 

Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics have been shown to prevent psychosis relapse in patients with schizophrenia. To combat poor medication adherence, LAIs are a great

Cymbalta vs Effexor: Differences and Side Effects

Effexor and Cymbalta are antidepressants used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Although both medications are FDA-approved, Effexor and

Celexa vs Lexapro: Which is Better For Depression?

Both are regarded as equally effective drugs for treating depression. Find out the core difference between Celexa vs. Lexpro now!

What is Ativan? Uses, Costs, Benefits, Doses

More than 40 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, making it the most common mental illness in the

Lexapro Overdose: Signs, Symptoms, and Precautions

We’ve put together a list of the signs and symptoms to look out for when it comes to Lexapro overdose and some of the

Panic Attacks: The Story of an Overpowering Fear

Panic attacks are when you experience a sudden feeling of intense fear with no apparent threat or danger.  This triggers a "fight or flight"

Using Lorazepam with Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Using lorazepam with alcohol is incredibly dangerous but can be a common occurrence, and is associated with potentially life-threatening side effects, which are outlined

Using Citalopram with Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Mixing antidepressants with alcohol is always potentially dangerous, but using citalopram with alcohol is particularly unsafe due to the high potential for life-threatening side

Brightside Health Review: Is This Depression & Anxiety Care Useful?

Brightside is an online mental healthcare company that provides treatment services for a range of issues related to anxiety and depression. These conditions include

SonderMind Reviews: Pros & Cons of Their Therapy Services

SonderMind is a virtual mental health service that makes therapy and psychiatry more accessible. Find out if the pros outweigh the cons.

We review and