Information on the Drug Ativan Used As a Sleeping Aid


Ativan is a potent sedative used to treat anxiety and sometimes sleep. Ativan carries with it a significant amount of negative side effects as well as potential for addiction. Speak to your physician before using the drug for sleep.


  • According to, Ativan's chemical name is lorazepam, and it is in the class of benzodiazepines. The drug is used to treat anxiety and neurosis as well as other conditions determined by your physician.


  • explains that benzodiazepines, which include Ativan, Xanax, Valium and many others, are believed to act on the GABA chemical, which is responsible for reducing the activity of nerves in the brain. Lorazepam, however, does not last in the blood as long as other drugs in this class, and thus does not reach toxic levels as often.

Side Effects

  • Ativan's side effects include, but are not limited to: clumsiness, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, unsteadiness and others. More serious side effects include difficulty breathing, swelling, hives or any other symptom that affects you negatively.

For Sleep

  • Although some physicians still prescribe Ativan for sleep, it has for the most part been replaced by newer sleep medications that do not have such a hangover effect, potential for addiction or serious side effects.

Replacement Drugs

  • If you have taken or currently take Ativan to help you sleep but experience negative side effects, there are other options available. Speak to your physician about drugs such as Ambien and Lunesta, sedative hypnotics that do not have as many side effects or abuse potential as Ativan.


  • If you have been taking Ativan on a regular basis for an extended period of time, speak to your physician immediately before discontinuing its use. Do not just stop taking the drug as withdrawal symptoms may occur.

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