OverviewLorazepam is a strong benzodiazapine drug that has numerous effects on the body. Lorazepam is primarily employed for short-term treatment of anxiety, various types of epileptic seizures including status epilepticus, insomnia, and sedation of aggressive and hospitalized patients. The medications was first introduced in the late 1970s as a method of treatment for anxiety. It was later discovered that it is quite effective in treating many other conditions. At the same time ilorazepam is very addictive compared to other benzodiazepines. The medication is also frequently abused without a doctor’s prescription. Lorazepam is not recommended for long-term use due to the fact that individuals could develop tolerance toward the drug, as well as dependence, withdrawal, and mild cognitive impairment. In the case of withdrawal the patient is likely to exhibit a range of symptoms from insomnia and anxiety to seizures and psychosis. As it does not take long to develop tolerance and dependence, lorazepam is only recommended for short-term use that should not exceed more than 1 month.
Anxiety Treatment With LorazepamLorazepam is one of the medications used as the first line of treatment for anxiety and related disorders. It has proven to be very effective but it is not recommended for long term care. Different forms of psychotherapy coupled with other medications are usually efficacious in elevating the symptoms of different anxiety disorders. Further, it is generally believed that excessive activity of the nerves in the brain may cause anxiety and other psychological disorders. Lorazepam is designed to stimulate GABA to reduce the activity in the brain.
Lorazepam and Other DisordersAs already mentioned, due to the strong anxiolytic effects of the drug, lorazepam is mostly used as a short-term medication in treating anxiety. In terms of treating insomnia coupled with anxiety, one dose is often enough to ease the discomfort. Lorazepam is highly addictive and the first withdrawal symptoms can occur after only a week of treatment. Lorazepam used to be the drug of choice for treating patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation. However, several clinical trials have shown that propofol is more effective and less costly so its use is now recommended. Lorazepam is often administered before an anaesthetic in order to reduce the necessary amount of the latter during surgery. It is also used to induce amnesia after a procedure or to increase compliance in patients. If the medication is to be taken orally it is administered an hour and a half to two hours before the procedure. If the doctors opt to administer it intravenously, lorazepam can be given 10 minutes before the procedure starts. The medication is also widely used for treating the symptoms induced from alcohol withdrawal. In addition, lorazepam is the drug of choice for status epilepticus, which is one of the most serious types of epilepsy. In the case of elderly patients suffering from status epilepticus, Phenobarbitol has proven to be more effective than lorazepam. If the patient is only suffering from milder forms of epilepsy other medications are recommended due to the strong possibility of developing tolerance toward the effects of lorazepam. Calming aggressive persons is often achieved with the drug, but some experts postulate that haloperidol and promethazine used together produce more of the desired and less of the side effects. Further, catatonia with speech problems is easily controlled with lorazepam. Even if catatonia results from withdrawal from other benzodiazepines it is still sensitive to the effects of lorazepam. Finally, lorazepam is sometimes used in chemotherapy to treat stomach problems caused by the thought of being really ill.
Side Effects of LorazepamBefore deciding to take lorazepam individuals need to be advised of its side effects. The side effects produced by lorazepam include amnesia, mood disorders and depression, and in some cases worsening of epileptic seizures. Other than producing tolerance and dependence rather quickly, lorazepam generates other serious medical consequences. Those who suffer from mental problems such as depression, suicidal urges, as well as drug and alcohol abuse problems should not take the medication. As already mentioned, the sedative effects are particularly strong on the elderly patients so taking lorazepam should be done with extreme caution in order to prevent accidental falls and bone fractures. Women who are pregnant, planning on getting pregnant, or are currently breast feeding should never take lorazepam without the doctor’s consent as it is known to produce birth defects and other anomalies. The effects of the medication on children are not thoroughly researched so lorazepam should not be given to anyone younger than 12. Anyone who is suffering from glaucoma or related vision problems should seek different methods of treatment, and the same is advised for asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. Patients who are battling liver or kidney diseases need to stay away from lorazepam as their conditions would only get worse.