Thursday October 30th 2014

Mixing lorazepam with alcohol

Are you considering mixing lorazepam with alcohol?

In this article, we’ll weigh in on the risks and dangers of mixing benzodiazepine medications like lorazepam with alcohol. We’ll also review what happens in your body when you mix lorazepam with alcohol and what can go wrong. We invite you to ask questions or comments about mixing lorazepam and alcohol in the comments, at the end. We try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Lorazepam and alcohol effects

Lorazepam is an anti-anxiety medication used to treat mood disorders.  Lorazepam duration of action is about 6-8 hours, although some therapeutic uses have been known to last for up to 72 hours.   Because lorazepam can cause a euphoric high some people think snorting lorazepam side effects or mixing lorazepam with alcohol intensify the effects of the drug. Self-reports of combining the two include the following effects:

  • impaired coordination
  • irritability
  • loss of inhibitions
  • memory loss and amnesia
  • suicidal and self-harming behaviors

However, the fact is that this combination of alcohol and lorazepam so profoundly impacts memory and behavior that it makes mixing lorazepam with alcohol extremely dangerous.  How long lorazepam in system?  Lorazepam can clear the body within a few days, or weeks, or months…depending on your individual timeline and pattern of use.

Dangers of mixing Lorazepam and alcohol

Dangerous side effects can occur when lorazepam is mixed with alcohol. This is mainly because mixing alcohol and lorazepam can intensify the depressant effects of both alcohol and lorazepam on the central nervous system. Some potentially dangerous effects of mixing Lorazepam with alcohol include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • impaired coordination
  • increased risk of overdose
  • loss of consciousness
  • shallow breathing

And keep in mind that the lorazepam enhances the effects of the alcohol as much as the alcohol intensifies the effects of the lorazepam. Alcohol makes you sleepy, drowsy, and lightheaded. Drinking and using lorazepam can cause trouble concentrating, difficulty with coordination, and a slowed reaction time, which can cause accidents. And, in a potentially deadly twist, lorazepam actually causes you to become more intoxicated from alcohol than normal – making it hard to gauge how much you can drink safely without experiencing alcohol poisoning.

Lorazepam and alcohol overdose

You’re much more likely to overdose on lorazepam if you take it with alcohol. Even if you have a high tolerance for lorazepam, it will be lowered by the additive effects of both drugs. Doctors recommend never mixing lorazepam with alcohol, and even avoiding taking them within a few hours of each other just to be safe.

Lorazepam and alcohol deaths

People often mix alcohol and lorazepam with tragic results. Even the prescribed dosage of lorazepam combined with alcohol could be potentially dangerous, lowering heart rate or causing other dangerous medical issues. If you abuse lorazepam by taking a higher than prescribed dose, or drink to excess, you might even die. The only way to avoid the potential risks is to choose not to mix lorazepam with alcohol.

Is it safe to drink on Lorazepam?

No, it’s never safe to drink on lorazepam. If you’re concerned about the potential health effects but want to be able to drink, ask your doctor for dosing advice (but don’t be surprised if you’re told not to do it at all).

Mixing Lorazepam alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing Lorazepam with alcohol or other substances? Please leave your Lorazepam 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 Lorazepam and alcohol are also welcome.

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

Leave a Reply

43 Responses to “Mixing lorazepam with alcohol
Sarah
7:42 am August 17th, 2012

My father died from combination of alcohol and lorazepam

penny
1:44 pm October 16th, 2012

My husband is drinking over a quart of vodka while taking Lorazapam and Celexa. He also takes extra doses of the Lorazapam and has taken an extra Celexa a few times. He does all of this in an 8-12 hour day. I can”t get him to stop any of them. He never remembers things he says and does when I tell him the next day. I don”t know what to do any more.

Valarie
1:25 am November 9th, 2012

My friend was a chronic alcoholic (beer only, daily) who was also on vicodin for years due to injuries sustained in an auto accident. She went to the hospital for breathing problems related to pheumonia and was given lorazapam to sedate her. She never woke up. I’m trying to understand if it’s all over the internet that you shouldn’t combine these drugs/alcohol, why would an emergency room/ICU would give lorazapam to an alcoholic? Mistake?

1:24 pm November 9th, 2012

Hi Valarie. You’ll need to verify the diagnostic process in the ER by asking for her medical records. ER visits should be accompanied by a drug test (usually blood test) so that doctors can see what is in the body AT THE MOMENT. If no drug test was administered, perhaps there is a case of wrongful action.

Trish
6:29 am December 26th, 2012

What are the effects of an overdose on lorazapam & alcohol? What happens to the brain? Is there neruopathy of any kind?

2:31 pm December 28th, 2012

Hello Trish. The combination of alcohol and lorazepam can result in depressed heart and breathing functions. Apart from fatality, the long term effects on the brain would be similar to those of lack of oxygen to the brain. To learn more about the exact nature of possible harm to the central nervous system when mixing lorazepam and alcohol, I’d suggest that you contact a neurologist or a medical doctor.

Lauren
9:39 pm February 4th, 2013

Hello,

I was prescribed ativan (lorazepam) by my doctor for my flight to cuba. I get very bad anxiety on flights and wanted something as a back up. I was going to try and see if a couple drinks at the air port would calm me down before my flight and then if not take my lorazepam when boarding. Is this something dangerous to do? Also, my flight is at night, is it safe to drink the following day after taking lorazepam? Please let me know. Thank you.

2:34 pm February 11th, 2013

Hello Lauren. You’ll want to avoid mixing Ativan, drinking and flying. You’ll want to breathe and have a regular heart rate, after all!

So which is more sedative? The Ativan, probably.

So try the Ativan, avoid the drinks, and then wait for a good 24 hours before drinking again. The half life for lorazepam is 12 hours, but you want it to clear your system totally before drinking again.

Sierra
5:51 am March 13th, 2013

I took a few sips of wine before bed and without thinking took my lorazepam to get to sleep. Freaking out I made myself throw everything up but am still scared to go to sleep. Is it safe for me to sleep after this situation?

Lindsay
2:24 pm March 20th, 2013

I only take Ativan when I have a panic attack. I took one last night, it’s .5 mg. I’m supposed be at a party tonight. By then it will be 16 hours since I took it. Will it be ok to drink?

Layla Baquero
11:02 am July 7th, 2013

Is it safe to drink heavily the day after taking a lorazepam, like what is the minimum hours i can drink heavily? Please don’t comment on the drinking heavily part it is my birthday coming up that is why.

Tracey
4:43 am July 31st, 2013

if taking 2mg a day or lorazapam for anxiety after a heart operation 6 months ago would a couple of beers at night hurt for a 68 year old?? Thanks

8:21 am August 13th, 2013

Hi Tracey. It’s our belief that NO ALCOHOL works best when taking lorazepam. If you cannot stop drinking for the time period that you’re taking lorazepam, it might be an indicator of psychological dependence on alcohol.

Kristy
3:08 am September 27th, 2013

Okay, so, if your NEVER suppose to mix Lorazepam (Ativan) with Alcohol, why has every single hospital my husband (a chronic alcoholic) given him 2 to 4 mg of the drug during his hospital visit (after doing a blood test to check his blood alcohol level, and after he has told them that he had been drinking not even an hour before) and then went ahead and gave him a prescription for it so he can detox at home?

10:13 am September 27th, 2013

Hello Kristy. Good question. It’s possible that the ER or hospital prescribes Ativan as a short acting benzodiazepine to help with withdrawal. But I doubt that they would recommend your husband drink while on lorazepam after discharge. It may be a “quick fix” to prescribe Ativan as part of his treatment, but he’ll need psychological interventions if he is to stop drinking for good.

Tracey
11:28 am September 27th, 2013

mmmm thanks heaps for your reply! Physc has said def no alcohol tooo!!! honestly does anxiety leave you with a head pain for 9 months continuing?????

Laura
1:25 pm November 23rd, 2013

Can i safely take a few attivans- 8 hours after binge drinking?

12:45 pm November 25th, 2013

Hi Laura. It depends on how many drinks you had and how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol*(http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh294/245-255.pdf). Once alcohol is out of the system, you should be good to go, but check with your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist for clearance first.

alison
5:56 am February 18th, 2014

Hi… three days ago I took four 1mg lorazepams with a fair bit of alcohol. I knew I would experience memory loss from that night… but its 3 days later and I’m still havimg troubles remembering the things I’ve done each day since. Are these memory issues permanent? Or will they wear off eventually?

peter roos
10:00 pm April 6th, 2014

I drank 5 beers with 2 mg Ativan breathing since then is difficult can I do anything to help or am I in big trouble?

11:52 am April 7th, 2014

Hi Peter. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment.

Steve
12:07 am April 16th, 2014

My friend says he is going to take 19-20mg lorazapine while drunk-will that kill him? Should I be worried or will he just pass out?

1:07 pm April 16th, 2014

Hello Steve. Is there a law in your state that allows you to report this threat so that your friend might be institutionalized? Check with your state attorney general’s office and see what you might be able to do to prevent possible overdose…or at least consult with the police department to see what actions they can take. Call the Poison Control Center for exact dosing limits and possible outcomes: 1-800-222-1222.

Claire
5:59 pm April 23rd, 2014

A friend has taken 8mg of lorazepam with alcohol all in one go along with 7, 25mg of promethazine should they to hospital or just sleep it off?

charmaine
6:00 am April 26th, 2014

Hello I take half a tablet of ativan 4 hours ago.go out for a bbq ..will 1 xxxx beer be dangerous .

Lisha
3:30 am May 26th, 2014

If you have been drinking and then had a medical issue where you were given Ativan intravenously, would it cause a urine test to show you had more alcohol in you than you actually did?

Joe
1:13 am June 1st, 2014

I have recently been administered a alcohol breathalyzer test during a traffic stop. The results were very high for only to of had 2 drinks over a 3 hr period. My question is could my having taken my ativan prior to or during my consumption of the two alcoholic beverages have caused an increase in my BAC?

Ethan young
5:26 am June 8th, 2014

I took 2mg ativan and had 4shots of vodka and I’m feeling super radical

Some Girl`
12:51 am July 14th, 2014

I snorted about 6-8 ativans and drank some liquor with it and became very messed up, but are the night went on I got really mad or emotional easy and this has only happened with ativan for me, when I woke up the next morning all I saw was white around me for a few seconds but ever since then my chest has been hurting and it been over a day later.

binoy
5:15 pm July 18th, 2014

my husband used to consume alcohol from past 20 years. some one said to stop drinking habit lorazeipam is a mode of treatment. and advised 2mg bd. is it currect

Brewer
7:46 pm July 28th, 2014

I work as a brewer, and needless to say tasting beer is a major part of my job.

I recently got perscribed .5 mg of ativan which I usually only take 1 dose of a day in the late morning or early afternoon. Am I able to drink the equivalent of a beer or 2 later in the evening/night during work, or is this a problem. I’m hoping I don’t have to stay on the pills for long, but in case I do I am starting to worry about my job.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
12:42 pm July 29th, 2014

Hi Brewer. There really isn’t any safe amount of alcohol that you can drink while taking benzodiazepines like Ativan. It could stay in your system for up to 2 days after the last dose, you should not drink any alcohol on the days you take the Ativan. Talk to your prescribing doctor and explain the situation.

Cat
10:42 am August 3rd, 2014

Had three beers four hours ago. One beer every hour from nine to eleven. Now having anxiety attack can I safely take a 1mg Ativan tab?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
9:47 am August 4th, 2014

Hi Cat. Mixing benzodiazepines and alcohol is never wise. Ativan and alcohol taken together, or one after the other can cause an extreme reaction and in some cases even prove fatal. Pharmacists usually advise to wait about 12 hours after drinking to take Ativan, or any other anxiety medication.

Ted
11:02 am August 22nd, 2014

A friend of mine consumed a fair bit of beer and 60mgs of ativan sl a week ago and has had, and still has absolutely no adverse symtpoms. It was unintentional as my friend has never done anything like this before. He was speaking to a nurse at the er yesterday and she said that if there was any damage to the liver there would be symptoms by now. What do you think?

Dawn
12:25 am August 28th, 2014

I have a friend she takes lorazepam .5mg but she takes like 2 at a time and sometimes she drinkes and snorts cocaine while she’s on her medicine

Kimberly
2:31 am September 12th, 2014

If i took an ativan @12pm today and my dosage is only 0.5 what would be my risks if i drink 1 24ounch beer

Christine
10:03 pm September 18th, 2014

My husband drank 12 beers today and then took his Lorazepam. He said he took 10 1mg pills. His prescribed dose is 4mg but he has been self medicating when he wants. He is a disabled vet and does not listen to medical orders…..

steve
6:27 am September 20th, 2014

Let us know if he survives. That’s a lot of Lorazapams…

No Worries
1:40 pm September 23rd, 2014

Hi Christine,

I’m no doctor. But, from experience I can tell you he’ll be fine. The biggest danger is passing out and choking on vomit. However, to continuously due such a thing will most likely damage the liver and kidneys. I stopped taking lorazapam due to all of the negative aspects of the drug. I stopped taking it over a month ago and I have less anxiety and am sleeping better. Maybe he could look into a different drug? Or find natural ways of coping? To each their own.

Becca
6:47 pm October 8th, 2014

Hey, Around two weeks ago I had my first drink/drinks, I was giving Lorazepam for anixety, But i only take it once in a while because being on pills isn’t something i’m really okay with, But my question is if it’d be okay for me to take one now? I really don ‘t know how long alcohol stays in your body or anything

AM
2:17 pm October 9th, 2014

The combo is so scary, my husband has been experiencing memory loss and irritability so I looked up causes and was led here. He won’t listen to me when I tell him it’s dangerous and affecting him. He points out that people mix far worse without issues. Does anyone know what happens when you add smoking weed to this mix?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:57 am October 13th, 2014

Hi Becca. Generally speaking, one may have to wait for 12 hours after dose of Ativan to consider drinking alcohol. They say that the body metabolizes about 1oz of alcohol per hour. So, consider how much you’ve been drinking and don’t take Lorazepam untill that time passes. You can leave an extra hour or two, just to be safe.

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