What Is A Lethal Dose Of Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 1, 2023

Ativan is a medication that’s used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Though an overdose can occur if more than the recommended dose is ingested, death is not a likely result of overdosing on Ativan.

How Long Ativan Lasts

There is no conclusive research on the lethal dose of Ativan.

A normal dose of Ativan is between 2 to 6 milligrams (mg). Most doses for the treatment of anxiety disorders are about 2 to 3 mg.

If a person takes significantly more than the recommended dose, it’s possible that overdose will occur, but death is unlikely.

Learn more about the fatal doses of commonly abused drugs.

How To Determine The Lethal Dose Of Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan, known by the generic name as lorazepam, is a benzodiazepine (benzo) used to treat anxiety disorders.

Ativan works for anxiety by increasing the availability of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain. This has a depressive effect on the central nervous system.

Though Ativan is safe when taken in prescribed doses, it may result in overdose when taken in excess.

Benzodiazepines can be lethal when mixed with other central nervous system depressants, such as opioids or alcohol.

How Likely Is An Ativan Overdose?

The likelihood of an overdose will depend on a few factors, such as whether a person’s body has built up a tolerance to it, usage, dosage, and mixing with other substances.

When taken alone, benzodiazepines such as lorazepam rarely result in death.

However, if combined with substances such as alcohol, opiates, or other sedatives, there is a risk of death as these substances all contribute to respiratory depression.

If untreated, respiratory depression can result in shallow breathing, a reduced heart rate, and low blood pressure, all of which can lead to death.

Combining Ativan (Lorazepam) With Opioids Can Have Lethal Results

The FDA has issued a warning against combining Ativan with opioid medications.

Mixing opioids with Ativan can result in life-threatening side effects, including:

  • serious sedation
  • decreased breathing
  • coma
  • death

Potentially fatal interactions have been found with lorazepam and the opioid tramadol.

Signs Of Ativan (Lorazepam) Overdose

If you or a loved one use Ativan, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of overdose.

Seek medical attention if you notice any of the following:

  • difficulty breathing
  • drowsiness
  • seizure
  • an inability to wake up
  • coma
  • slurred speech
  • confusion and agitation
  • impaired motor skills

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This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on August 1, 2023

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