Ativan, also known as Lorazepam or Orfidal, works very well for most people who suffer from anxiety disorders. It has the ability to interfere with new memory formation, reduce agitation, induce sleep, reduce anxiety, treat nausea, vomiting and seizures, and relax the muscles.

Ativan is meant to be used in the short term. It might be used in hospitals as a sedative for hospitalized or aggressive patients. It can also be used at home by those who have a prescription. Those who suffer from severe anxiety and related problems might wonder, how long does Ativan last? And how long does Ativan take to work?

How Long Does It Take for Ativan to Kick In?

Those who suffer from severe anxiety and similar issues want something that works fast, so it’s no wonder that doctors often hear patients asking, “How long does Ativan take to work?” Fortunately, it’s rather fast – it takes 20 to 60 minutes before Ativan kicks in, depending upon your body’s metabolism and makeup. Keep in mind, however, that the drug doesn’t reach full potential until several weeks of taking it.

So in answer to the question of "how long does it take for Ativan to kick in" is that it begins working within an hour, but can take several weeks to show a full benefit.

How Long Will Ativan's Effects Last?

How long does Ativan last? Once Ativan kicks in, it might last for six to eight hours – again, it depends upon your body and your metabolism. Two hours is when you will feel the most benefit from Ativan after taking it. However, Ativan might last for as long as 72 hours, depending upon the dosage and the way it is administered.

One more thing you should remember is that the average half-life of the drug is about 12 hours. That means that whatever your dosage is, it takes 12 hours for that to decrease by half. As for the question "how long it will stay in your body", you should know the therapeutic doses of Ativan are generally out of your body around 3 days after dosing. But, if you use large amount of it or use it frequently, it may be still detectable in your body for up to 6 weeks.

Precautions of Taking Ativan

Though Ativan can be a fantastic drug for those who need it, there are some side effects and other points to consider before taking the drug. Here’s what you need to know.

Side Effects of Ativan

Like any other drug, Ativan has side effects. These can include dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, problems with memory, feeling depressed, increasing nervousness, lack of coordination, and problems with concentrating. Fortunately, these are most bothersome during the very beginning, and are reduced as your body gets used to the Ativan.

Medications That Interact with Ativan

Sometimes, taking medications in addition to Ativan can make the side effects worse, or lead to other problems. It is never a good idea to take Ativan in conjunction with barbiturates, narcotic pain medications, antihistamines, antipsychotic medications, sleeping medications, drugs for anti-anxiety, tricyclic antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. You should also avoid drinking alcohol while taking Ativan.

Risks of Taking Ativan for Long Time

Those who wonder the effects of Ativan should know that the drug can build up in the system, leading to physical dependence. It is meant to be taken for the short term, or no longer than four months. Taking it for longer than this or taking it in very high dosages can lead to withdrawal problems. These can include feeling light-headed and irritable, vomiting or sweating, not sleeping, feeling restless, painful abdominal or muscle cramps, tremors of the body, seizures, and behavioral disturbances.


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