The active ingredient lorazepam is used primarily for the treatment of patients with anxiety and panic disorders, as it has a calming and anti-anxiety effect. However, taking the drug is associated with various side effects such as fatigue, dizziness and gait insecurity. If Lorazepam is taken over a longer period, the drug can make dependent. Find out more about the effects, side effects and dosage of Lorazepam here.
Effect of Lorazepam
Lorazepam is an active ingredient in the benzodiazepine group, which also includes active ingredients such as alprazolam and diazepam. It is mainly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Here, the relatively long half-life of the drug is advantageous, since thus a long duration of action can be achieved. However, lorazepam is usually only used if the symptoms can not be relieved with the help of antidepressants or neuroleptics.
In addition, Lorazepam is also used in sleep disorders when they occur as part of anxiety and panic disorders. The intake is especially useful if a calming effect is desired over the day. In addition, Lorazepam is also prescribed for the prevention and treatment of long-lasting epileptic seizures.
The active ingredient binds to specific receptors in the brain and thus supports the action of the neurotransmitter GABA. As a result, Lorazepam has an anxiety, excitation and tension-damping effect, has a calming effect and promotes falling asleep and staying asleep.
Side effects of Lorazepam
Taking Lorazepam can cause a variety of side effects. The following symptoms were observed especially frequently:
- Tiredness and drowsiness
- muscle weakness
- unsteady gait
- a slowed reaction
In addition, other side effects may occur, such as:
- depressed respiration
- Drop in blood pressure
- Blood disorders
- aggressive behavior
- memory lapses
In addition, rash, itching and dry mouth rarely occurred. For a detailed list of all side effects, please refer to the package insert of your medication.
While taking the drug symptoms may occur that contradict the actual effect. This can lead to restlessness, irritability, anger, nightmares, hallucinations and psychosis. Such symptoms are called paradoxical reactions. They are particularly common in the elderly and in children.
Given risk for a dependency
Taking Lorazepam, like other benzodiazepines, can also lead to mental and physical dependence. This manifests itself in the fact that after withdrawal of the drug withdrawal symptoms occur. Even a duration of a few days can lead to such withdrawal symptoms.
The risk of dependency is closely related to the duration of use and the dosage of the active substance. Persons with a history of alcohol, drug or drug addiction are at increased risk for addiction. In this case you should not take the active ingredient if possible.
Slowly settle lorazepam
The withdrawal symptoms are particularly noticeable in the sudden discontinuation of the drug. The affected persons may then experience the following withdrawal symptoms:
- sleep disorders
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Shaking and sweating
- increased spasm readiness
- memory problems
- behavioral disorders
- a headache
- Gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Muscle aches
To avoid such withdrawal symptoms, the drug should never be discontinued from one day to the other. It is better to gradually reduce the dosage over a longer period of time.
Dosage of Lorazepam
Please always discuss the exact dose of Lorazepam with your doctor - the following dosage information is only a general guideline. In general, the treatment with Lorazepam should always be as short as possible and the dosage should be as low as possible. As a rule, a low dose is started, which is then increased until the ideal dose is reached.
When lorazepam is used to treat anxiety or tension, adults can take between 0.5 and 2.5 milligrams per day. The dose is divided into two to three single doses. In severe cases, the dose can be increased to up to 7.5 milligrams of lorazepam - but this is only possible with inpatient treatment.
When lorazepam is used to treat sleep disorders, the total daily dose should be taken about 30 minutes before going to sleep. Afterwards, a sleep time of seven to eight hours should be guaranteed. This can prevent side effects such as tiredness and a slower reactivity the next morning.
Lorazepam may be more potent in elderly patients as it slows down the elimination of the drug. Since they can also be more sensitive to the active ingredient, an individual adjustment of the dosage is particularly important here.
Overdose - What to do?
If you take too much Lorazepam, you should immediately inform your doctor.
Overdose may cause symptoms such as somnolence, drowsiness and confusion. In addition, the breathing can be reduced and the movement may be disturbed. In severe cases, the overdose of the drug may cause loss of consciousness.
Interactions with Lorazepam
If additional medicines are taken simultaneously with Lorazepam, interactions may occur. For example, the use of antidepressants, sleeping pills and tranquilizers, antiepileptic drugs (especially valproic acid), certain antihistamines, opioid painkillers and neuroleptics (especially clozapine) may increase the effectiveness of each other.
Lorazepam itself enhances the effects of muscle relaxants and non-opioid analgesics. In contrast, the effect of lorazepam is enhanced by macrolide antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, cimetidine and by taking the pill. Likewise, alcohol can enhance or alter the effect of benzodiazepine in an unpredictable way. Therefore, during the treatment should be drunk for safety's sake no alcohol.
In addition, interactions may also occur with the following drugs and drugs:
- Asthma drugs such as theophylline and aminophylline
- the ointment Probenecid
Lorazepam should not be taken if hypersensitivity to the active substance itself or to another benzodiazepine-containing substance is present. In addition, the use of alcohol, medication or drug addiction is prohibited. In addition, people with narrow-angle glaucoma should not take the drug.
In patients with certain underlying diseases Lorazepam should be used only after a careful benefit-risk consideration by the attending physician. This applies, among others, to patients with:
- Liver damage or disorders of liver function
- Renal impairment or respiratory dysfunction
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea syndrome
- heart failure
- low blood pressure
- Muscle weakness (myasthenia gravis)
- Problems with movement coordination and balance regulation
In depressed patients, taking lorazepam may increase depression. This can also increase the risk of suicide. Therefore, depressants should not receive the drug without appropriate antidepressant therapy.
pregnancy and breast feeding period
Lorazepam, like other benzodiazepines, should not be used during pregnancy if possible. Studies indicate that taking it may cause harm to the unborn child. In case of doubt, the active substance may only be prescribed after careful consideration of the benefit-risk by the attending physician. If the mother takes Lorazepam shortly before birth, this can cause withdrawal symptoms in the baby.
During breast-feeding, it is also not recommended to take Lorazepam as the active ingredient passes into breast milk. In infants, it is degraded much slower than in adults, so it can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing and drinking weakness. If it is mandatory to take the active ingredient during breast-feeding, it is recommended to stop it before breast-feeding.