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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Is Ativan safe and effective for treatment of anxiety?

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Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2190 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 in Mental Health
Question: Hi im taking Ativan 1mg at 9am in the morning and 9pm at night for my anxiety. I been taking it for a little over a week. I just want to know if it is ok to continue doing so? I have another refill prescription from my doctor, and just really want to know if its ok with what im doing. it is helping me at this moment.
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Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 27 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Okay only for short term use

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Ativan (Lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine sedative / anti-anxiety medication. It can be quite useful in the short term management of anxiety, but has to be used with caution. The reason is that prolonged use of benzodiazepines carries a risk of habituation or dependence.

So, in my opinion, it is not advisable to continue Ativan for a long period. If you need medication for the longer term, then SSRIs would be a better choice. Since SSRIs can take about 2 weeks to become effective, the usual practice is to add on a benzodiazepine during this initial period for quicker relief. Once the SSRI's effect kicks in, the benzodiazepine can be tapered and stopped.

Best wishes,

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar MBBS, DPM, MRCPsych (UK)
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 12 minutes later
may I ask what is a long period of taking Ativan. I've taken it twice a day for over a week. how long can I continue taking it? thank you
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Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 22 hours later
Brief Answer:
More than 3-4 weeks

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Continuous use for more than 3 to 4 weeks carries a risk of habituation or dependence. If your anxiety symptoms are persistent and you need medication for a longer period, then, I suggest that you ask your doctor about an SSRI.

Regards,

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar MBBS, DPM, MRCPsych (UK)
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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