Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reaction: Some people may develop a serious allergic reaction to this medication. Signs of an allergic reaction include a severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing. If these occur, seek immediate medical attention.
Dependence and withdrawal: Physical dependence (a need to take regular doses to prevent physical symptoms) has been associated with benzodiazepines such as lorazepam. Severe withdrawal symptoms may be experienced if the dose is significantly reduced or suddenly discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- abdominal cramps
- extreme anxiety
- memory impairment
- muscle pain
- sleep problems
Reducing the dose gradually under medical supervision can help prevent or decrease these withdrawal symptoms. If you have a history of addiction or substance use problems, discuss the risks and benefits of the medication with your doctor.
Depression: People who have preexisting depression may experience emerging or worsening symptoms of depression while taking this medication. If you experience this, contact your doctor as soon as possible. People with depression should be treated with appropriate antidepressant therapy.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: People taking lorazepam should not drive a car or perform hazardous tasks until they determine that this medication does not impair their ability to perform these tasks safely. Avoid drinking alcohol, as it can increase the drowsiness effects of this medication.
Lung disease: If you have underlying lung disease (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: Taking lorazepam during the first trimester of pregnancy may result in an increased risk of certain birth defects. This medication should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking lorazepam, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for those under 18 years of age.
Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience side effects of lorazepam, such as sedation (drowsiness) and impaired coordination. Seniors should discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of taking this medication.