Lorazepam Drug Interactions | Precautions & Risks

There are a number of drugs that should never be combined with Ativan. Some of the most notable are other central nervous system depressants like opioids and alcohol.ner\

Lorazepam is the generic name for the brand name prescription drug Ativan. It’s a benzodiazepine and a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that’s typically used for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal.

It works by increasing the effects of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the brain. This increase leads to a calming effect that eases the symptoms of anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.

Despite its many legitimate uses, if you have certain health conditions or take Ativan with certain drugs, it can lead to serious issues.

Lorazepam Drug Interactions

Several drugs negatively interact with lorazepam. When combined, they can lead to adverse reactions and serious side effects that can be life-threatening.

Alcohol & Cannabis

Because cannabis and alcohol are both CNS depressants and lead to drowsiness, they are not recommended for anyone taking Ativan. As Ativan is also a CNS depressant, the combination can lead to excessive drowsiness and sedation.


Opioid painkillers should also not be taken with lorazepam. The combination can cause excessive drowsiness, breathing problems, respiratory depression, and even coma.

Some of the opioids that shouldn’t be taken with lorazepam include:

  • morphine
  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • methadone
  • fentanyl


Taking sedatives or tranquilizers along with lorazepam is also not recommended. Since they both can cause drowsiness on their own, together they can lead to extreme sedation and breathing problems.

Some of the sedatives that shouldn’t be taken with Ativan include:

  • certain antidepressants like doxepin and sertraline
  • antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec
  • sedative/hypnotics like zolpidem (Ambien)
  • barbiturates such as phenobarbital
  • other benzodiazepines like alprazolam and diazepam

Muscle Relaxants

Using lorazepam with muscle relaxants is also not a safe combination. Together, they can lead to dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. In the elderly, mixing the drug could lead to unsteadiness, lightheadedness, troubled thinking, and impaired motor control.

Over-The-Counter Supplements

Taking Ativan with certain supplements/herbs can also lead to excessive drowsiness.

The herbs and supplements that should not be taken with Ativan include:

  • chamomile
  • kava
  • lavender
  • melatonin
  • valerian

The common side effects of lorazepam can also be made worse when the drug is abused or mixed with other substances.

Lorazepam Precautions & Risks

There are also several health conditions that do not mix well with Ativan. The benzodiazepine drug can make these conditions much worse.


Ativan and most other benzodiazepines do not work well with depression. They worsen the symptoms and may even lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. This is especially the case if your depression is not actively being treated.

Breathing Disorders

Since Ativan has been known to slow breathing, anyone with sleep apnea, COPD, asthma, or any other breathing disorders should avoid the drug or take it very cautiously under a doctor’s supervision.

Acute Narrow-Angle Glaucoma

Lorazepam may also increase the pressure inside the eye which can worsen glaucoma. Glaucoma is usually caused by high blood pressure in the eye so more pressure can only make it worse.

Because of this, most healthcare providers will not prescribe Ativan to anyone with acute narrow-angle glaucoma.


If you are allergic to the ingredients in Ativan or have had an allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine like alprazolam or diazepam, this is not the medication for you.

Lorazepam use is also not safe for anyone allergic to aspirin or yellow food dye.

History Of Addiction

Ativan is also not recommended for those who have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Ativan is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that while it has a lower potential for abuse than some other drugs, it can still lead to dependence and addiction.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Ativan can also negatively affect those who are pregnant. If you take lorazepam during pregnancy, it could lead to birth defects or withdrawal symptoms in the baby once it’s born.

When it comes to breastfeeding, lorazepam can transfer into breast milk and lead to drowsiness, feeding issues, or slow weight gain in a nursing baby. For that reason, healthcare professionals typically don’t recommend it for breastfeeding mothers.

Dependence & Withdrawal

Dependence on lorazepam and withdrawal once you stop taking it can also be an issue. If you abuse or take high doses of lorazepam over a period of time, you’re likely to build up a dependence on the drug.

If you try to quit the drug after you’ve built up a physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur.

These symptoms include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • blood pressure changes
  • panic attacks

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug abuse, contact Northeast Addiction Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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