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Taking ativan for anxiety. Want self medication. Need suggestion

Answered by
Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar


Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2190 Questions

Posted on Tue, 12 Feb 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
Question: I have anxiety 24/7. I take Ativan 2mg 3 times a day. Is there anything else that can be added to it that will help me out any better. I cant get off it cause I have been on it for 29 years. It works for me but sometimes like the last three days its been very very bad to the point that I should go to the hospital. I am 50 and I am on disability for it. Any suggestions for me. I do self help,meditation,walking,running,I stay in shape I dont drink. I cant drive anymore by myself. I have tried other prescirptions and they have such an adverse effect on me that they did not work other than Valium.
Mrs. Coy
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 47 minutes later
Welcome to Healthcare Magic and thanks for your query.

There are several other non-benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medication which can be beneficial in dealing with your severe anxiety symptoms. I would consider one of the following:
- Buspirone - a unique and exclusive anti-anxiety medication with minimal sedation and other side effects.
- Anti-depressants with anti-anxiety properties e.g. Melitracen, Mirtazapine
- Anti-psychotics with significant anti-anxiety properties e.g. Trifluoperazine
- GABA-ergic medication e.g. Pregabalin

Since these medication should be started only under the advise and monitoring of a doctor, please discuss about these options with your doctor, so that he would be able to advise you what would suit you best.

Also, Ativan (Lorazepam) is a short-acting anti-anxiety medication. Its effects last only for about 6 - 8 hours. This may the reason why your anxiety symptoms don't seem to be getting controlled even with a thrice a day dosing. Secondly, since it is a short-acting medication, there is more likelihood for fluctuations between the dosings. In other words, by the time it is time for your next dose, you can have a worsening of anxiety or rebound anxiety, because the effects of the medication are wearing off. So, if your anxiety is severe and you have been prescribed benzodiazepines, then one of the long-acting benzodiazepines like nitrazepam, clonazepam, flurazepam etc. would be a better choice.

Wish you good health.

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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