Ask Dr. Nandi: What are the effects of Ativan use?

(WXYZ) - Chris Cornell's wife, lawyer say Ativan use may have contributed to his death

First of all, my condolences to the Cornell family and all of his fans. He certainly will be missed.  Ativan is a prescription drug. You may also be familiar with the generic name - lorazepam. This sedative medication can be used to treat anxiety, drug withdrawal, sleep disturbances and seizure disorders.

Ativan is a central nervous system depressant that produces a calming effect. It acts on your brain and nerves.  It enhances a neurotransmitter called GABA, a natural chemical in your body which lowers tension and anxiety. When used under the direction of a doctor, it’s generally safe.

There are many symptoms if you overdose on Ativan. You can have slurred speech, nightmares, loss of strength or energy, shakiness, or trouble walking. 

Suicidal thoughts are unlikely, but the warning section for this drug indicates you should tell your doctor right away if you have mental or mood changes, like hallucinations, depression, or thoughts of suicide.

Partha’s RX:

  1. If you need to take Ativan, always do so under a doctor’s guidance.  Tell your doctor if you suffer with alcohol abuse, depression or psychosis.
  2. Don’t take this medication along with other drugs, over-the-counter medicines or herbal and vitamin supplements without first discussing with your doctor.
  3. Do not use this mediation while pregnant.  It can affect your baby’ development.
  4. Never stop taking Ativan without your doctor’s okay.  You may need to gradually reduce it before coming off it completely.

Ativan can be habit-forming if you take it for non-medical reasons or if you start taking more than the prescribed dose. If you’re taking this medication and feel like it’s not working as well as it used to, do not up the dose.  See your doctor.

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