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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Lorazepam

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 05/4/2000]
Question: Will lorazopam show up on a drug test? If so how long does it take to clear out of your system if I am taking .5mg once a day and sometimes less? Thanks

Answer: Usually found on most drug screens since this is exactly the type of drug they are looking for. The duration varies with the test a lot, but can be up to six months.

[posted 11/25/1999]
Question: Because of outrageous price increases and my very limited insurance coverage, I need to know if there is a cheaper suitable alternative to terazosin for bph and lorazepam for anxiety?
Thank you for your time:::

Answer: Saw palmetto available in any pharmacy is useful in BPH and usually cheaper. It will take about a month to be effective. As to the lorazepam, use the generic-but no other options here. Any of the benzodiazepines will work in its place but they're all about the same cost.

[posted 08/11/1999]
Question: I was needing to know if the drug Lorazepam is a drug that contains opiates? I hope you can answer this question for me. Thank you very much.

Answer: Doesn't, but is in inself addicting if taken for sufficient time.

[posted 08/6/1999]
Question: test

Answer: this is a test

Lorazepam in Stroke victims [posted 1/13/99]
Question: My father is taking Lorazepam(Ativan). He is 80 years old and he had a stroke 6 months ago and is now taking Lorazepam for his anxiety. While researching this drug, one article mentioned that Lorazepam should not be taken by anyone who has had a stroke. I only found one mention of this contraindication, and no further information as to why he should not be taking this if he has had a stroke. Why is lorazepam contraindicated for people who have had a stroke, and is this dangerous? I have looked at the product monograph as well as researched the drug, but I cannot find where this contraindication came from. I am a biochemist (by-trade) and a concerned daughter(by-heart), any information you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: It's not an issue, as far as I'm concerned.

Lorazepam Overdose [posted 7/23/98]
Question: How many Lorazepam (1 mg) tablets does it take to overdose?

Answer: This depends a lot on whether one has taken them before and whether other drugs like alcohol are on board. Food content in the stomach is also a factor. Why are you interested?

Question: My husband has been taking Lorazepam 2mg TID for several months. Because of not liking the affects this was having on him, the doctor gave him a prescription for Buspar 15mg BID. The doctor told him it would be okay to just quit taking the Lorazepam and start on the Buspar. He quit taking the Lorazepam 40 hours before he took the Buspar. After his second dose of the Buspar he has been having "psychotic" episodes and burning sensations in the back of his neck and all over his body. He is a heart patient with extensive damage to his heart and is taking Cordarone, Coumadin, Hyzaar, Hytrin, and baby ASA. What we would like to know is if the episodes he is having are from the Buspar or from getting off the Lorazepam so fast? Is it safe to take either of these with his other medications?

Answer: Depending on how long he has been taking Lorazepam, it is not a good idea to stop this drug "cold turkey". Usage over about 8 weeks and usually by 12 weeks will produce withdrawal symptoms very similar to what you are describing. Seizures have also been seen. I suspect it is stopping the Lorazepam.

Question: I've found quite a few empty unit-dose pkgs. of lorazepam in the trash. What is this and what is the potential for abuse. My wife is a nurse and works in a Post-anesthesia care unit.

Answer: Lorazepam is a sedative in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. These include valium, Librium, xanax, etc. The brand name for Lorazepam is Ativan and this drug induces physical dependence when taken for a sufficient amount of time. Along with narcotics, this class is one of the more addicting classes of drugs. I would discuss it with your wife; but, unfortunately it sounds like your wife has a problem.

Question: I have been taking Lorazepam 1 mg ,1 tab bid for a couple of years for anxiety with great success. I see the doctor every 3 months and he writes a script for #60 x 2 refills. My last refill was filled on 8/8/97 which will last me until 9/7/97. I saw the doctor on 8/28/97 for my 3-month check and asked him if I could go ahead and get the next prescription filled early because my husband and I are going on a 2-3 week cross-country car trip and I would run out before we got back. He said "no problem" and dated the prescription 8/28/97 and told me it would be fine to go ahead and get it filled early because he definitely didn't want me to run out. When I took the prescription to the pharmacy, the pharmacist refused to fill it or give it back to me. He told me I had another week left on the last prescription. I explained to him about our trip and he said he'd have to call the doctor's office. When he called, he talked to the prescription nurse and not the doctor (my doctor was not in). She had no knowledge of my trip and the pharmacist didn't bother to inform her. She denied approval for the rx fill. The pharmacist called me back and said they denied my request. I then called the office and got the prescription nurse. I told her about the trip situation and she said she would get it OK’d by one of the other doctors and call it in ASAP. When I picked up prescription, it was under the name of the my doctor who wrote the rx instead of the other doctor who OK’d it. I would like to know the following: Can a pharmacist refuse to fill a new prescription on the date specified by the physician on the rx just because it is a few days early without asking for special circumstances? Shouldn't the pharmacist ask to speak to the doctor on call instead of taking the nurse's word--which originally was "no" because she was not informed of the circumstances? As a pharmacist, shouldn't he know that stopping Lorazepam abruptly could cause seizures? This info alone should be enough for him to try a little harder to get it OK’d. The written order by my doctor was declared invalid by the pharmacist until 9-7, so why after getting "permission" from another doctor that I have never seen make it valid. The second doctor actually ordered the medication, shouldn't his name be on the bottle?

Answer: A pharmacist is required to follow applicable state law and most states make it illegal to fill a prescription before the noted date. (Not dissimilar to a check). Also, a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription if in their professional opinion there is a irregularity or potential harm. I'm sorry you're frustrated; but, this is a good pharmacist. I wouldn't use a pharmacist who would illegally fill the prescription-what other corners would they bend? The rest of the problem sounds like confused communication all around. But, he started with the correct premise.

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