Ativan Dosage | Formulations & Strengths

Lorazepam (brand name Ativan) is a benzodiazepine available in various dosage forms, including 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg tablets. Additionally, Ativan is offered as an oral solution or injection. In general, a recommended daily dose of Ativan is between 2 and 6 mg per day.

Lorazepam (brand name Ativan) is a benzodiazepine prescription drug and Schedule IV controlled substance. It’s used to help treat those suffering from anxiety disorders, insomnia, or alcohol withdrawal.

Due to the abuse potential of Ativan, your prescribing healthcare provider will carefully determine an effective dose of Ativan for you. Ativan targets the central nervous system (CNS), producing calming and sedative effects in doses that are effective for anxiety and insomnia.

Ativan Formulations

Formulations of Ativan consist of tablets, an oral solution, and injection.

Ativan Tablets

Ativan tablets are the most commonly prescribed. The inactive ingredients in an Ativan tablet, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are magnesium stearate, polacrilin potassium, lactose monohydrate, and microcrystalline cellulose.

If a missed dose occurs, take the next tablet at the regular scheduled time. Ativan has a longer half-life than many benzo drugs of about 14 hours.

Ativan Oral Solutions

With liquid Ativan, you will be required to use a spoon or oral syringe to take the medication orally. The oral solution is known as Lorazepam Intensol.

Ativan Injection

Ativan injections may be used to help provide emergency treatment for status epilepticus. An Ativan injection may be used during or after surgical procedures.

Ativan Dosage & Strengths

Ativan tablets are available in 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg options. The oral solution offers 2 mg/mL while an Ativan injection is offered in 2 mg/mL or 4 mg/mL.

Depending on the severity of the anxiety disorder or reason for the medication, the daily dose prescribed to you may differ from others. For instance, the recommended dose of Ativan ranges from 2 to 6 mg per day.

Anxiety Disorders

Those with anxiety may require Ativan. A typical dose may consist of 2 to 3 mg given two to three times per day.

Those suffering from panic attacks and night terrors may be prescribed a larger dose of the drug to help treat the symptoms of a specific anxiety disorder like panic disorder.

Older Adults

Older adults may be prescribed lower doses by their doctor to avoid harmful side effects. If a person tolerates the drug, they may be prescribed 1 to 2 mg per day in divided doses.


Those struggling with sleeping problems such as insomnia may be prescribed Ativan. A daily dose of 2 to 4 mg may be given for insomnia, with the dose typically taken at night.

Ativan Dosage Precautions & Warnings

Although generally prescribed short-term to avoid physical dependence, some may require long-term use of Ativan. Unfortunately, some also participate in Ativan abuse, and the improper use of benzodiazepines in any dosage form may result in both common and serious side effects.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of lorazepam may include:

  • sedation
  • drowsiness
  • cognitive impairment
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • nausea

Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan withdrawal symptoms, which may occur after you stop use, can include:

  • low blood pressure or hypotension
  • psychosis
  • trouble breathing
  • tremors
  • memory difficulties
  • muscle aches

Adverse Effects

Adverse reactions can occur in those with certain medical conditions who take Ativan, including:

  • women who are breastfeeding, as the drug can be passed to the child via breast milk
  • those with renal or hepatic disease
  • those with breathing problems such as sleep apnea
  • those with narrow-angle glaucoma
  • those with kidney or liver function problems

In addition, adverse effects such as allergic reactions may take place. Those with a hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines may develop swelling or a rash. Contact your doctor immediately if an allergic reaction occurs.

Drug Interactions

Ativan, no matter the dosage form, should be avoided with other medications and substances such as:

  • other benzodiazepines including diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax)
  • anticonvulsants
  • opioid drugs
  • illicit drugs
  • alcohol
  • antihistamines
  • anesthetics
  • vitamins or supplements
  • certain antidepressants
  • other CNS depressants

Ativan Overdose

When Ativan is taken in high doses, the risk of overdose may occur. If an Ativan overdose takes place, some of the symptoms you may experience can include:

  • respiratory depression
  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • extreme sleepiness
  • coma

A benzodiazepine overdose may be life-threatening, so contact 911 immediately if an overdose is suspected.

To learn how our healthcare professionals use various treatment options to address benzodiazepine addiction, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration
  2. Food and Drug Administration
  3. Food and Drug Administration
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness
  5. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  6. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: August 18, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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