Tuesday September 2nd 2014

How long does lorazepam last?

Lorazepam effects usually last for 6-8 hours for single doses. The same duration is true if you are trying to get high on lorazepam but euphoric effect has been self-reported up to 10 hours.  And some effects of therapeutic doses can last for up to 72 hours.  More here on how lorazepam affects the body and its duration of action.  Plus, we invite your questions about lorazepam in the comments section at the end.

Lorazepam duration of action

The duration of any drug’s action depends on several factors. The factors which can influence lorazepam duration of action include:

  • lorazepam’s half-life
  • the absolute amount of lorazepam you take
  • the activity of lorazepam metabolites
  • the influence of disease on drug elimination
  • the pharmaceutical preparation of lorazepam

Lorazepam time in body

Lorazepam is readily absorbed by the body with an absolute bioavailability of 90%. But when do lorazepam levels peak in the body? And when is it totally eliminated from the body?

Peak concentrations of lorazepam (20 ng/mL for a 2 mg dose) in plasma occur approximately 2 hours following administration. The average half-life of lorazepam is about 12 hours, which means that is takes about 12 hours for the amount of lorazepam in your body to decrease by half. Unlike other medications, advancing age does not have a significant effect on how long lorazepam stays in your system, although clearance of lorazepam is somewhat reduced in old age. Although lorazepam can stay in small amounts and be detectable in the system for up to 6 weeks after use in heavy users, therapeutic doses of lorazepam are generally out of the body a few days (around 72 hours) after dosing.

How long do lorazepam effects last?

Lorazepam is considered a high-potency benzodiazepine with an intermediate half life. Most therapeutic effects wear off within 6-8 hours. This is why doctors prescribe multiple doses of lorazepam daily for acute episodes of anxiety. But the amount of time lorazepam effects last can depend on its mode of administration. For example, intravenous doses of lorazepam can have prolonged duration of action. This can be helpful in cases of seizure or neurological problems.

In general, the intended effects of the recommended adult dose of lorazepam (Ativan) intra muscular or intravenous injection usually last 6 to 8 hours. However, depending on therapeutic dose, lorazepam can act for up to 72 hours. In rare cases when people receive greater than the recommended dose, excessive sleepiness and prolonged lack of recall have been reported. And as with other benzodiazepines, lorazepam rarely can trigger side effects of unsteadiness and enhanced sensitivity to depressant effects of alcohol and other drugs for more than 24 hours.

How long does a lorazepam high last?

If you use drugs recreationally, you are at risk of developing an addiction to lorazepam. Why? Because lorazepam tends to produce semi-euphoric effects of relatively long duration, about 6-8 hours. Some people self-report lorazepam effects up to 10 hours long. But most people report the heavy depressant effects of lorazepam when taken to get high such as immobility, falling asleep, or feeling low. Note here that tolerance for benzodiazepines like lorazepam builds quickly, and you can form a lorazepam habit within days of dosing. Plus, sudden withdrawal from lorazepam can provoke seizures, tremens or death.

Lorazepam high effects

Because lorazepam binds to receptors in the brain it has rewarding effects and can make you feel high. But this high can also get you into trouble. Lorazepam can trigger physiologic and psychological dependence based on the drug’s dosage, duration of therapy and potency. This is why lorazepam should be prescribed for only 2-4 weeks.

Do you think that you have a problem with lorazepam? Or do you have more questions about lorazepam use? Please leave us your questions and comments here. We do our best to respond to each question personally, and will do so promptly. We want to hear from you and invite you to anonymously ask us about lorazepam below.

Reference Sources: Daily Med: Lorazepam tablet
PubMed Health: Lorazepam
PubMed: Clinical pharmacokinetics of oxazepam and lorazepam
Drug Digest: Lorazepam tablet
PubMed: Duration of drug action
PubMed: Pharmacokinetic optimization of benzodiazepine therapy for acute seizures. Focus on delivery routes
PubMed: Lorazepam: A New Antiepileptic Drug in Status Epilepticus Therapy
Drug profile for lorazepam

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40 Responses to “How long does lorazepam last?
8:36 am September 24th, 2012

Hi Susan. Once a drug hits your bloodstream, you need to wait for the body to metabolize, or process it. Unfortunately, there’s no way that I know of to speed the metabolism of lorazepam from the body. Be sure that you record and report the side effects of lorazepam to your prescribing doctor. And to find an alternative to lorazepam, including lifestyle changes, ask your doctor about other ways to treat the original symptoms.

Susan
9:57 pm September 24th, 2012

I just took 1/2 mg of Lorazepam about 2 hours ago. I don’t like the way I feel. Can I do anything to hurry this drug out of my system?

Brad
3:32 pm November 30th, 2012

I agree. I am with PTSD, depression but worse is the highest stress and anxiety level I have ever had and Im 37. My Dr had me on Xanax 0.5 2-3 times a day. Nothing worked after 2 weeks. He had me come in right away yesterday. He switched me to Ativan, I tool the first one last night. I only got a few side affects but I was a little more relaxed. I took the and another this morning as directed. My axiety and stress is still here but not at the extent it has been. In my opinion, I believe as your body gets the doses regularly as the Dr prescribed, It will work alot better on me. I am on 2mg Lorazepam 3 times daily.

nichole
1:58 am January 15th, 2013

My doctor gave me 0.5mg of lorazepam, that Im kind of scared to take. I never took any drugs like this so I dont know how it will act on me. will it make me feel funny or something, will I beable to drive once this med come down. will it make me sick. someone please help me cause I really need something to calm these attacks. but scared to take what i have because what i read

11:03 am January 16th, 2013

Hi Nicole. Taking any mind altering drug can be frightening. Might I suggest that you ask a friend or family member to be present with you for the first hours after you take your first dose? Then, you can have help in deciding what to do should the effect not agree with you.

Eddie
1:56 pm February 27th, 2013

My Dr. prescribed lorazepam in 1-2mg dose to be taken an hour before bed to help me sleep. I have been taking it much longer than the above mentioned 2-4 weeks (8 months?) and would like to stop but do feel more of a mental addiction to it. How should I deal with this and what is the recommended way to get off this medication?

Thnaks,

Eddie

Joanie
5:57 pm March 20th, 2013

Hi, I took 2 mg of Lorazepam at bedtime two days ago, and then 2 mg as soon as I woke up the next morning at around 8:30am (yesterday morning) for a dentist appointment. This was the dosage he prescribed. After the dental procedure (which went well), I felt completely out, extremely tired and just slept the entire day. I could not accomplish anything. I tried reading emails but it was mostly gibberish to me. I went to bed hoping it would be gone by the morning. This morning, it’s a bit better, but I still feel really drowsy and dizzy and I have such a hard time concentrating on my work. When will this awful thing get out of my system? I’m getting very nervous about it… Thank you for your help!

David
12:33 am May 17th, 2013

I took three mg of Ativan, which is what I was previously prescribed, but it hit me differently today, and I’m wondering how long till all the effects have worn off?

Anand Sharma
8:56 am December 2nd, 2013

I have started talking Lorazepam for anxity to control alcohol withdraws this is my first day and took 2 tablets one in morning and one in night. When I go sleep and about to fall in sleep suddenly i get sezes and jumping body with wakes me up. Can you advice me after how many days these withdraws will stop ?

brian fox
3:03 pm December 25th, 2013

I use 4mg loz a day I have used it and Ativan for 30 years , at one breakdown I use old scripts of Ativan l had left and was taking up to 12 mg a day, a shrink stopped dead what he thought was 5 a day and sent me suicidal and seizure attacks. A GP gave me back 4mg a day and saved my life, I will stay on the 4mg for life . they still work, anyway what would I use for anxiety if not LOZ

Oliver
1:38 pm January 19th, 2014

I have been taking Ativan for 25 years. I am currently taking 90 2mg tablets in 24 days. 3.75/day average for the past 8 or 9 years. I want to stop taking this medication because I am very dependent on it. Can anyone advise on a reduction schedule to help me to stop this? I make no excuses for my behavior, I just need some advice.

Cheryl
4:19 pm March 17th, 2014

Dr, took me off xanax ans put me on Ativan although I only take them to help me sleep at night but I do have anxiety attacts xanax was fast acting and I didnt have to take but once a day,rx for ativan says take it 3 times a day ,I dont need 3 times a day just wondering if the ativan will help with anxiety when taken as needed?

tara stark
6:02 pm April 1st, 2014

I have anxiety attacks and have been through some bad situations in life growin up, even though I got over and forgave all that has happened , made peace with God about it…. the panic does not go away, I feel that I need ativan. I tried other perscriptions for anxiety but none work when I need them to and make me feel really uncomfortable in my own skin. So when they were not working I started drinking to take the edge off of my anxiety. I told the doctor this and he said because of that he will not perscribe me ativan, Im not seeking a high I need relief before I feel like my world caves in . I feel stuck and dont know what to do about it.

10:06 am April 2nd, 2014

Hello Tara. I can understand the hesitation of this doctor to prescribe Ativan. Have you tried seeking a second opinion? Perhaps try to see another doctor or psychiatrist? I can empathize with you in terms of trauma. Life can be so difficult and is no easier when you go through abuse. Have you tried behavioral or psychotherapeutic interventions to resolve the trauma?

brian fox
6:03 pm April 2nd, 2014

I see no reason for Ativan to be limited , ADs are taken to way over the scripted dose by many doctors .I think if you need 10mg a day to live give it , let us make are mind about our bodies . I a shrink or GP suffered the same anxiety they would take it . The alternative is drink your self to death, BEEN THERE , pancreities is not a great illness you can die in a day. 10mg of Ativan would take a hell of a lot longer

christina v
12:27 am April 12th, 2014

This doctor prescribed lorezapam 3x a day to my husband that just came out of rehab he has a pill adiction and over medicated him self its been 24 HR and he is still buging out please help me wat can I do

Susan moran
3:55 am April 23rd, 2014

I have been having trouble with panic and anxiety that makes me feel really down. I have a prescription for lorazepam to take as needed. I have never had to take more than once a week. Right now I need to use it more. Is there anything wrong with using lorazepam like this?

9:29 am April 23rd, 2014

Hello Susan. Your individual tolerance to and/or dependence on lorazepam will change when you start to take it more often. However, consult with your prescribing doctor about the effects increases your dose will have. Also, have you tried alternative methods for managing anxiety?

Quin Hahn
5:17 pm April 27th, 2014

You say lorazepam should be given for 2-4 weeks. I have been taking 1mg 4 times a day by prescription for over 10 years. What long term effect/problem could I have? At night I take two lorazepam, 2 50mg Doxepin, and 3mg Lunesta for insomnia.

1:09 pm April 30th, 2014

Hello Quin. There are quite a few adverse effects of long term use of lorazepam. The benzodiazepine can affect mood, concentration, memory, or even your sex drive. Have you consulted with your physician about your concerns?

Kerri
3:38 am May 19th, 2014

I’m taking half of a 0.5 ativan 4-5 x a week the half seems to take the edge off the anxiety so I can function I’ve been on ativan for 3 weeks my questions are 1- am I at risk for dependency on such a low dose and only once a day 4 days a week? 2- how long is a half 0.5 in my system and how long should I feel the effects? 3- how long can I use it as needed???? Thx for any answers you can give me

1:05 pm May 19th, 2014

Hello Kerri. This is a question for your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist. I’d suggest that you make a quick phone call to either one for more information. Best of luck to you.

manic666
8:36 am May 20th, 2014

put loz under your tounge to work faster

Cathy
4:31 am May 23rd, 2014

Should Ativan still be tapered even when dose has been 1 To 2 mg daily over an extended period.?

10:26 am May 23rd, 2014

Hello Cathy. This is a question for your prescribing doctor or other medical professional. Each taper should be medically supervised.

brian fox
12:48 pm May 23rd, 2014

you will need to taper 2mg , its the same strength has 20 mg valium , try it and see how it effects you , then taper id in trouble

cynthia
9:21 pm May 26th, 2014

my doctor prescribed ativan to me twice a day .but i only took it when i felt nervous or anxiety. thats maybe one every other day or every 10 hrs. but now i feel worst , i found myself feeling nerves inside like i have to take it for it to go away. and founding myself getting aggessive and angry. when i was never like that . please someone tell me how can i get off this medication i dont think this is for me. is thier anything else for aniety thats less habit forming.

cynthia
9:32 pm May 26th, 2014

By the way the dosage is only 0.5 mg.

Karen
3:34 am June 9th, 2014

I’m a 22 year old female. Recently I started havin panic and anxiety attacks on a daily basis. My dr prescriber Ativan, it’s the only thing that gives me relief when I go into the panic mode. I’m also taking prozac and trying to stop the Ativan slowly. It’s just so hard because I get extremely nervous. Before prozac and Ativan I was shaking and would have the worst panic attacks Imagineable. I don’t want to be on benzos they’re addicting and terrible so I’m trying to slowly get rid of my anxiety. Hopefully prozac will do the job. While I like the effect of lorazapem, I know that I don’t want to be on this on a daily basis. Why? Because lorazpadem withdrawal will destroy anybody and impossible. I’m praying to god to help me get through this tough period. I just want to be normal again without having terrible anxiety/panic attacks.

lisa
12:24 am June 29th, 2014

I am on day 5 of Zoloft, it’s a but scary, my doc have me lorazepam to help with the anxiety an Zoloft adjustment, I have only been taking 1 Mg at night to help with sleep, I’m scared of withdrawals should I be concerned even with this minimal use?

Joyce
3:00 pm July 12th, 2014

I have been on Ativan over 20 years I take 1 mg 3xdaily. Sometimes 4. I have tried to get many dr to look at Proffessor Ashton withdrawal method of slowly switching over to the longer acting Benzo Valium no one seems interested. The want to do a2 week tapper on phenobarbital !! This is Crazy to me as I have tried to cut Down by cutting Small pieces off does not work to harsh. Any suggestion s I live in Northern California. I am 59 years old. Thank You

Denise
8:09 pm July 13th, 2014

I’ve been taking ativan .05 mg for about 2 months for anxiety and peripheral neropothy in my face from hashimotos and Lyme disease. I take it once in the morning and another in afternoon or night. I feel like when it wears off I need it sooner. Is this an addiction already ?

1:57 pm July 24th, 2014

Hello Denise. The clinical term for the symptom that you’re describing is “tolerance”. Drug tolerance IS NOT addiction. Speak with your prescribing doctor to report the increase in tolerance to Ativan and to adjust doses accordingly (note that Ativan is not meant for long term use of more than 4 months; Reference: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682053.html).

Bob--age 74--male
10:36 pm August 15th, 2014

Help–I have been using lorazepam for anxiety without a break during the last eleven years–was taking 2 mg. a day –after slowing reducing the amout I`m currently taking 1 mg. a day–I take 1/2 mg. at noon and 1/2 mg. at 10 p.m.–if I try to lower the amount I feel anxiety and withdrawal symtoms–is there anything available that I can repalce the lorazepam with? I know that I`m addicted to the medication–HELP….Bob

Quin
4:25 pm August 19th, 2014

My concern about lorazepam is due to the fact that I have been on it for over 7 years at 4mg per day (1mg tablet 4 times, 2 in the morning and two at bedtime along with 100mg Doxepin and 3mg Lunesta for sleep. After reseaarch I changed it to 1 at noon and 1 at bedtime which caused no problem, expecially with sleep. My Dr. put me on, in addition to lorazepam, Wellbutrin, which did absolute nothing, I’m off it now. It seems that lorazepam is a dangerous drug, and I’m not sure what long-term use it is doing to my brain/body. Suggestions or questions to ask my Dr.

manic666
6:15 pm August 19th, 2014

all you with dependant ATIVAN problems think twice about coming off , if you feel okay has you are I would stay that way . I have detoxed 6 mg cold and you want to DIE , iam back on them because I have a anxiety problem , it dont go away if you quit ATIVAN it just gets worse

Quin
5:05 pm August 20th, 2014

Two different Dr’s have prescribed Lorazepam saying that 4mg is not a problem. However, I still feel that some of the side effects could be problematic so I’m looking for some evidence that I can use to have a dialogue with my Dr’s.

dyslexic
8:06 am August 21st, 2014

what side effects ????????? no weight gain , no problems with intimacy , just a little tired at times

Larry
5:22 pm August 25th, 2014

I have been on ativan for 2 years now and i’m reading where a month should be as long as you should be on it. Why would the doctor not tell me this?

Marie
2:10 am September 1st, 2014

I take a 1g tablet to sleep at night. If I don’t, take one, I’m awake most of the night. Is this normal. I now have tinnitus and I depend on the tablet to fall asleep. When does it have it’s full effect in hours?

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