Lorazepam Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Share This Post

Lorazepam is a prescription medication that is best known under the brand name Ativan. Commonly used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and seizures, lorazepam impacts the chemistry of the brain and can cause significant withdrawal symptoms when the dose of the medication is abruptly diminished. 

Up to 40 percent of people who take lorazepam or other drugs in its class, known as benzodiazepines, are likely to experience severe lorazepam withdrawal symptoms, while the other 60 percent will experience mild withdrawal symptoms.

Who is likely to experience symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal?

Lorazepam is known to cause withdrawal symptoms after a relatively short period of use. Patients who use lorazepam for as little as two weeks have been known to experience withdrawal symptoms when taking the medication regularly. 

Withdrawal symptoms are commonly experienced in patients who have been taking the drug for three to six weeks or more. While lorazepam is intended for short-term use for periods of four months or less at a time, some patients take the medication for a long period of time depending on the condition being treated, and long-term use can lead to tolerance, cravings, or dependence. 

Personal factors including body composition and history of addiction to other drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of lorazepam withdrawal. Withdrawal phases associated with lorazepam include acute withdrawal symptoms and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWs).

The withdrawal symptoms associated with lorazepam vary in severity depending on the dose of the medication that you use and whether the medication is combined with other drugs or substances that can impact the way the medication is metabolized.

Patients who have been taking lorazepam on a regular basis for two weeks or more should follow the guidance of a healthcare professional when attempting to reduce their use of the medication. An outpatient or inpatient medical detox program can slowly taper a patient's lorazepam use to decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

What are the symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal?

Lorazepam withdrawal is most commonly associated with symptoms that include extreme feelings of irritability and anxiousness. 

Lorazepam is commonly used to treat anxiety, but withdrawing from the medication can temporarily increase the feelings of anxiety that may have led patients to begin the medication in the first place, cause depression, and cause a decline in mental health that may be worse than before you started using the drug. Muscle aches, severe headaches, muscle stiffness, hand tremors, and insomnia are also common.

Other common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings

Lorazepam can cause severe withdrawal symptoms in patients who have a significant physical or psychological dependence on the medication or who have been taking the drug at a high dose for an extended period of time. When stopped abruptly, Patients who have been taking lorazepam at a very high dose or who are severely dependent on lorazepam may experience more serious side effects, especially if the medication is stopped abruptly. These include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Delirium

What is the timeline for lorazepam withdrawal?

Lorazepam withdrawal affects each person differently, including the symptoms that each patient experiences and the timeline over which symptoms occur. 

While there is no specific lorazepam or Ativan withdrawal timeline, some studies suggest that the acute symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal are at their worst on the second day of withdrawal and start to get better by the fourth or fifth day after the medication is discontinued.

However, there are other studies that suggest that the acute symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal can last much longer, with most patients experiencing symptoms for one to four weeks after discontinuing the drug.

In addition to the acute symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal that can affect patients for several weeks, up to one out of every four people who take lorazepam regularly for an extended period of time will experience a type of withdrawal known as protracted withdrawal. 

Unlike acute withdrawal symptoms, people who experience protracted withdrawal typically have mild symptoms that may come and go inconsistently over a longer period of time, such as several months. Most patients who experience protracted withdrawal will completely recover within 12 months.

Summary

Lorazepam can cause serious and uncomfortable benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms due to its effects on the chemistry of the brain. Patients who are looking to discontinue or reduce their dose of the medication should do so only under a doctor’s orders in order to minimize the symptoms that they experience. 

The best way to avoid lorazepam or Ativan withdrawal symptoms is to gradually reduce your dose of the drug over time.

Sources:

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/benzo.pdf  

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.12023   

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6685/ativan-oral/details 

Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Medication

Telehealth Reviews

Shop

Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

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.

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

Zoloft and Weight Loss: Everything You Need To Know

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

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?

Common mental illnesses like major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder affect millions of Americans every year. While many different treatment options

Using Prozac With Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Prozac has become perhaps the most well-known antidepressant in the United States since its approval for the treatment of depression in 1986. Since then,

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

Clonazepam is a popular medication that is most commonly associated with treatment for panic disorder, but the medication was originally developed as a treatment

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

Paxil and Zoloft are both popular Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antidepressants that are used to treat a wide range of mental health conditions.

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

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

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

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

BuSpar: What is it? 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