Also Known As: Ativan, Lorazepam, Temesta

Lorazepam (initially marketed under the brand names Ativan and Temesta) is a high-potency short-to-intermediate-acting 3-hydroxy benzodiazepine drug that has all five intrinsic benzodiazepine effects: anxiolytic, amnesic, sedative/hypnotic, anticonvulsant, antiemetic and muscle relaxant. Lorazepam is used for the short-term treatment of anxiety, insomnia, acute seizures including status epilepticus and sedation of hospitalized patients, as well as sedation of aggressive patients.

Lorazepam is considered to be a short-acting drug which, similar to other benzodiazepines, exerts its therapeutic as well as adverse effects via its interaction at benzodiazepine binding sites, which are located on GABAA receptors in the central nervous system. After its introduction in 1977, lorazepam's principal use was in treating anxiety. Among benzodiazepines, lorazepam has a relatively high addictive potential. Lorazepam also has abuse potential; the main types of misuse are for recreational purposes or continued use against medical advice. The sedative-hypnotic and anterograde amnesia properties of lorazepam are sometimes used for criminal purposes.

Long-term effects of benzodiazepines include tolerance, dependence, a benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome and cognitive impairments which may not completely reverse after cessation of treatment; however, for most patients, cognitive impairment is not severe. Withdrawal symptoms can range from anxiety and insomnia to seizures and psychosis. Due to tolerance and dependence, lorazepam is recommended for short-term use, 2–4 weeks only. Adverse effects including anterograde amnesia, depression and paradoxical effects such as excitement or worsening of seizures may occur. Children and the elderly are more sensitive to the adverse effects of benzodiazepines. Lorazepam impairs body balance and standing steadiness and is associated with falls and hip fractures in the elderly.

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