Monday October 20th 2014

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.

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

Leave a Reply

21 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!

Megan
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.

Lisa
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.

Eric
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.

Pat
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?

JoAnn
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.

mary
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

Dave
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.

bill
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?

zoe
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:$

Lynn
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?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
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.

Lynn
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

Kristin
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?

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