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Mixing Ativan with alcohol

Mixing Ativan with alcohol

Are you considering mixing Ativan with alcohol?

We hope that you’ll reconsider. In this article, we revew the risks and dangers of mixing this benzodiazepine medication (which contains lorazepam) with alcohol. Lots of things can go wrong. So serious are the consequences that doctors even suggest that you avoid drinking totally while taking Ativan. But if you still have questions about mixing alcohol and Ativan, we invite you to ask questions about mixing Ativan and alcohol in the comments, at the end.

Ativan and alcohol effects

Ativan is prescribed to help treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Ativan (lorazepam) works by slowing brain activity, causing a calming effect in people with anxiety. Although mixing alcohol with Ativan does not change how long lorazepam lasts, when abused and taken for an Ativan high, lorazepam can also have euphoric effects.

Some people mix Ativan with alcohol to intensify the effects of the drug.  However, the impact on behavior and memory combine to make Ativan and alcohol a very dangerous combination. Even if you don’t experience negative health effects, you’re at a greater risk for accidents. Self-reports include the following effects

  • amnesia
  • difficulty walking or moving
  • loss of inhibitions
  • mood changes
  • self-harming behavior

Dangers of mixing Ativan and alcohol

Ativan and alcohol have some very dangerous side effects when combined, even more so when you snort Ativan and drink. Some potentially dangerous effects of mixing Ativan with alcohol include:

  • coma
  • difficult or shallow breathing
  • drowsiness and dizziness
  • impaired coordination
  • increased risk of overdose
  • loss of consciousness

Plus, Ativan makes alcohol more intoxicating than normal when taken together. The sleepiness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness of alcohol are combined with trouble concentrating, difficulty with coordination and movement, and much slower reactions. These factors all put you at an increased risk of accidents. Not only that, but your alcohol tolerance will be lower, making it dangerous to drink normally when on Ativan. You might drink a normal amount of alcohol and still end up very sick or even cause alcohol poisoning.

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Ativan and alcohol overdose

Ativan is easier to overdose on when taken with alcohol. Your tolerance for Ativan will be lower than normal, opening you up for adverse side effects and potential overdose. Sometimes this can be a problem even if you space the Ativan and alcohol several hours apart, because benzodiazepines stay in your system for several days.

Ativan and alcohol deaths

Unfortunately, mixing alcohol and Ativan is all too common. Even a normal Ativan dosage prescribed by your doctor could cause unusual complications when taken this way – and taking a high dose can be deadly. Combining alcohol and Ativan can lower your heart rate or even stop your breathing. Choosing to mix Ativan and alcohol always entails a level of risk.

Is it safe to drink on Ativan?

No, drinking while taking Ativan isn’t safe. Even if you take Ativan according to a doctor’s directions it can be dangerous if you drink alcohol. You can ask your doctor about the safety of spacing your Ativan and alcohol consumption and safe drinking limits, but it’s usually safer to avoid any combination of the two at all.

Mixing Ativan alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing Ativan with alcohol or other substances? Please leave your Ativan questions here. We try our best to answer all questions personally, and promptly. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who can help. Your experiences with mixing Ativan and alcohol are also welcome.

Reference Sources: NIAAA pamphlet: Harmful Interactions, Mixing Alcohol with Medicines
DailyMed: Lorazepam tablets
Medline Plus: Lorazepam

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47 Responses to “Mixing Ativan with alcohol
Teresa Trenholm
11:54 am November 23rd, 2012

My mother has been taking Ativan for a couple of years now and is a heavy whiskey drinker. She has been diagnosed with alcoholism in past years. Recently, she has become angry & negative. She lives alone. Where should I bring her for help? She needs to quit both. I live in Newport, NH, Sullivan County.
Thank you

10:22 am November 25th, 2012

Hi Teresa. I’d suggest that you call the National Drug Abuse hotline at 1-800-662-HELP for free and objective help. It’s a government sponsored hotline, and can refer you to treatment services including rehab and counseling for you and your mother…as well as other support in your area. I hope that this helps!

1:27 am May 30th, 2013

I took an Ativan around 930 pm then had a drink around 1030pm then I had another drink a shot of patron then 2 more drinks in all I had about 6 drinks but only drank a full 4 and a shot I got home around 430 am and fell asleep for 2 hours then at 6 am I felt very sick and started vomiting for about an hour. Could this have been from mixing the 2 substances or coincidence since the lady I work with was also vomiting all night the same night and didn’t do what I did.

10:23 am May 30th, 2013

Hi Megan. It’s hard to tell if vomiting was caused by mixing medication with alcohol or from a stomach virus. I’d suggest that you call your physician and try to figure it out with the help of a medical professional.

8:11 pm July 17th, 2013

Hi my name is Lisa , I took my last 1 mg of lorazepam this morning at 4:30 am. I wanted to go have 2 drinks for happy hour at 5pm . Is this safe.

4:14 am July 19th, 2013

I’ve read that ativan is out of your system within 6 hours. If I take .25 mg of an ativan in the morning and have one or two drinks after the 6 hour period, am I safe to drink?

12:24 pm July 19th, 2013

Hi Lisa. Id’ suggest that you talk with your prescribing doctor or local pharmacist for a go-ahead on taking lorazepam and then drinking.

Hi Eric. Again, I think that you’ll need a medical opinion. Mixing these two chemicals is dangerous.

1:13 pm August 15th, 2013

My sister takes a low dose Ativan every morning at the same time or she gets shaky. Although prescribed to take it twice a day she only takes it once. However, she drinks A LOT of Brandy every night starting early evening. (A lot is a about 1 1/2 of a big bottle every couple of days). She basically passes out every night. She has been on Ativan a couple of years but the brandy habit has been going on for 30 years.
I feel she is shaky because of alcohol withdrawal in the morning and that she is an alcoholic. Is the mix of Ativan and later alcohol dangerous?

10:45 am August 16th, 2013

Hello Pat. The Ativan may be masking her alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It sounds like your sister is well into alcohol addiction and could need alcohol in her system more than she knows or will let on. Have you discussed your concerns with her? Also, yes…it’s dangerous! Can you report your concerns to her prescribing doctor?

Farrell Bushing
9:56 pm September 5th, 2013

I had 1.0 mg Ativan at 6:00 am this morning. I am an infrequent user an this is the first I’ve had in more than two weeks. Is it safe to have a glass of wine at 7:00 pm this evening?

1:10 am September 19th, 2013

My son was prescribed .5 mg ativan for panic attacks he started having a couple of weeks ago. Last night he celebrated his friends birthday and drank until 8 am this morning before he went to bed. It is now 8 pm and he is here for dinner and seems to be starting a panic attack. Would it be alright for him to take one .5 mg ativan to help stop the attack from coming on???

10:51 am September 19th, 2013

Hi JoAnn. This would be a great question for a pharmacist or medically licensed expert. We’re not able to advise on dosing, as we’re mainly a research and information based website.

8:39 pm September 20th, 2013

if i take 2mg of ativan in the morning at 9am and i have a glass of wine at night around 8 or 9 wull i be ok

12:33 am December 1st, 2013

I take 2mg of ativan and called the pharmacist she said it’s not recommended to drink on ativan but a shot and non alcoholic beverages are fine possibly and should not effect me. I was wondering is this just the ativan that people cant drink on because alot of people take all kinds of medications narcotic etc and still drink.

5:27 pm December 1st, 2013

Hello Dave. No, it’s not just Ativan. It’s not recommended that anyone mix prescription or psychoactive drugs with alcohol. Keep in mind that people may not behave in ways that are best for them and that the only interest doctors have in making advice is in the interest of public health.

2:42 pm February 4th, 2014

I have a prescription for .5 mg of Ativan, take 1 up to 3 times a day for panic attacks. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I take 1 befor I go shoot pool for a league. I generally have 3 or 4 drinks. I know that doing so can cause you to stop breathing, my question is does this build up in your system or damage your lungs after doing this for several monthes?

4:50 am March 27th, 2014

I take like 1mg of ativan or like a .5 a very low doce and i have drank i dont want to like die can someone comfort me:$

1:03 am July 4th, 2014

A friend of mine (and yes, it is a friend and not me) has been going through his monthly supply of Ativan within 10 day periods for about 4 months now (approx. 6mg/day). During this binge, he also drinks the equivalent of about 170oz of alcohol. Me and another friend are surprised he’s not dead yet, between the heavy doses and the self inflicted accidents. He listens to nothing we say. What do we do?

9:55 am July 4th, 2014

Hi Lynn, first of all, your friend is very happy to have friends like you. Maybe, you can set up an intervention along with some other friends and family. Tell him how much you all love him and care for him, but refuse to support his self destruction. Be supportive, intervention doesn’t have to mean confrontation.

3:12 am July 29th, 2014

My girlfriend just overdosed on Ativan just 36 hours ago while heavily intoxicated the ER said she was .2 bac when she got there she is home now and she is really scared on how she is feeling she is seeing double very unstable on her feet and she is full of anxiety she cant sit still she is really scared we were wondering if anyone can tell us is this still the drugs in her system she did have a CAT scan and that came back clear she don’t really remember how many she took but it was a lot

9:31 pm October 1st, 2014

I mixed a small amount of Ativan with a large amount of alcohol and was very ill the following day with what I thought was just a hangover. I don’t drink often so my tolerance for alcohol is quite low. Two days later after feeling somewhat normal I took .5mg of Ativan and was very ill with gastrointestinal issues and extreme vertigo. Could this be due to my alcohol/ Ativan mixing from two days ago?

4:25 am November 29th, 2014

I take 1 mg of lorazepam and I had little sips of vodka and coke but I’m scared to take my lorazepam would it be ok if I took 1 or would it hurt me I’m scared cause I have enough health problems so as it is please help in scared to death

3:32 pm December 3rd, 2014

Hello Ash. Don’t be so scared. Four hours is adequate time to wait and then take the Ativan. The body metabolizes about 1oz of alcohol per hour. So, I believe in about 4 hours there will be no sign of alcohol in your system. Best of luck to you :)

9:37 pm March 14th, 2015

If. Take an Ativan at 9am on a Saturday when is it safe to drink?

1:01 pm March 16th, 2015

Hi Casey. When you are taking Ativan if you mix it with alcohol it can increase your risk for serious reactions. generally speaking, you may have to wait for 12 hours after dose of Ativan before you start drinking alcohol. So, never drink alcohol in the same day you took Ativan.

11:55 pm March 21st, 2015

I’ve been prescribed a mild dosage of Ativan, but have yet to take it for my anxity, but I have a reunion tonight, and will want to drink, however I’m having an attack right now, can I take one pill and drink in 5 hours?

2:46 pm March 23rd, 2015

Hi Joe. That’s not a smart idea. You can take your pill to treat the anxiety, but don’t try to drink. You can have juice, soda, water…anything that doesn’t contain alcohol. Please don’t risk it.

4:59 pm April 1st, 2015

I have a question regarding ativan and xanax & hope someone might know the answer. This past year has been one of the roughest, emotionally and with things out of control in my life. The question is: If I take .25mg ativan (yes, half of the tab), and my anxiety doesn’t get better, instead it increases, can I take my xanax later?

3:14 am June 1st, 2015

I had took Ativan this morning, I forgot I took it and I had drink some wine around 5 o clock just a small glass of red wine, and it’s 9o clock, when can i take my ativan, I suppose to take it twice a day for anxiety?

10:17 am June 1st, 2015

Hi Lucy. The alcohol from one glass of red wine should have been eliminated from your system by now. You are safe to take your medication as prescribed.

11:07 am June 15th, 2015

I drink vodka in shots or with coke occasionally but I am not able to sleep properly after that I want to know what can b taken with vodka for a deep sleep of around 5 to six hours

9:54 am June 26th, 2015

I’ve taken a small amount of meth & 3 -1 mg of ativan .. With 2 beers. Will I be ok to take a colonipin

8:49 am June 29th, 2015

Hey all – I’m an alcoholic. I drink around a case of beer per night. To sleep, I chew 1mg of Ativan and fall asleep. By afternoon, I feel like I’m detoxing and I’ll chew another .5mg.. Then I start the circle again. Wish like hell I didn’t have to do that and I don’t wish it upon anybody. However, I guess my point is, after reading some of your posts about having a drink and then taking Ativan hours later, that it’s not that dangerous.

1:06 am July 17th, 2015

I know its not good to mix ativan with alcohol.but my question is if you took a ativan at 2:30pm and than decide you want to have long would you wait too have a drink?

7:48 am July 17th, 2015

Hi, i have used the substance called lorazepam with alcohol about six years ago. It all started when i used to drink nearly everyday those days then I started to have breathing problems for not eating healthy which made me lose alot of vitamins and ofcourse that made me lose breath, at the begining i thought it could be becuase i have asthma and probebly just need my inhaler but that didnt help so i decided to go to the hospital. When i got to the hospital the doctors mentioned that its possibly anxity, therefore they percribed me lorazepam not sure how many mg but what i know it was a bottel with 40 small pills and told me to take a pill every 8 hours with no alcohol. Ofcourse out of stupidity i didnt obey what said so i mixed the pills and alcohol and thats when my life turned into hell. Ever since i cant breath, exercise, work, talk loud or talk long,and cant sleep.if anyone can help please let me know it would be most appreciated. Thnx

4:03 pm July 21st, 2015

Hi Mitzi. When taking Lorazepam it’s not safe to drink any alcohol for the next 12-24 hours after your last dose.

Me depresses ex
7:55 am August 5th, 2015

4 Ativan & 3 screwdrivers- effect?

2:37 pm August 5th, 2015

Hello me depresses ex. Not a smart idea to mix alcohol with Ativan. They intensify each-others effects and can significantly slow down your respiration and make you extremely drowsy.

6:51 am August 21st, 2015

My husband just took .25mg of ativan because he was having a panic attack, he then had a shot of alcohol mixed with sprite about an 1/2hour since he took it, it’s been a few hours and he says he feels completely fine, should I be worried though??

8:42 pm August 27th, 2015

Hello. I have a friend who take as Ativan as needed and is on Celexa. She likes to drink. I was wondering how much of the Ativan and alcohol would be considered lethal to her.

8:29 am September 7th, 2015

I take lorazepam for anxiety. The last dose of 1 mg was Friday at 10 pm. We went to a party last night and through the course of the evening I drank 2 bottles of wine and ate lots of food and took no lorazepam. It is almost 24 hrs later…is it safe to take my 1 mg? I am med paranoid!

5:47 am October 7th, 2015

I am taking 5mg eactalopram 25mg Amitriptyline on morning and at evening to control my panic attack and clonazepam sos lorazepam 1mg when I trouble to sleep and some times I drink 2bottal of bear its OK or something goes rong

9:11 am October 11th, 2015

Im taking 2mg of ativan and having 2 beers. Is that a huge issue…or what ive read above doesn’t really explain dosage/intake amout. Ex:taking 4mg and drinking 6 beers?

11:03 pm October 23rd, 2015

6 hours ago I took ativan 1 mg (was going for a medical procedure. Is it now ok to have a glass of wine or should I wait another 2-3 hours. Thanks

1:07 am November 3rd, 2015

how bad would mixing a half quart of vodka and 10 2mg of lorazepam be ?

5:26 am November 20th, 2015

Hi,I consumed alcohol with ativan for 2 months period.combining the two substances effect my breathing for 6 years now, and I been having pain in the left side beneath my chest ribs. I noticed when the pain increases my breathing gets worse.i did x-rays ct scan, but all tested Norma.doctors don’t know the cause and they,re pushing it towards anxiety.please, if anyone can help email me what i should do to be able to breath normal once again.


11:43 am November 20th, 2015

Hi Mickey. Seems to me like you need to ask for more tests and examinations from the doctors. There must be a reason why the pain and breathing problems are occurring, and it needs to be found for doctors to be able to address it. Maybe you should consider telling them that mixing ativan and alcohol has lead to these symptoms. It might lead them in the right direction.

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