If you have Seizures., anxiety, trouble sleeping, or an upcoming surgery, your doctor might suggest Ativan as a treatment option for you. It’s a prescription drug used in adults to:

  • treat certain Seizures.
  • Make you sleepy before surgery.
  • Treat anxiety.
  • treat insomnia (trouble sleeping) due to anxiety or stress

The active ingredient in Ativan is lorazepam. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) It belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines.

Ativan comes as a tablet that you swallow. It also comes as a liquid solution given as an injection by your doctor. With this form, you’ll either receive your dose by intramuscular (IM) injection, which is an injection into a muscle, or by intravenous (IV) injection, which is an injection into a vein.

This article describes the dosages of Ativan, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Ativan, see this in-depth article.

The basics of Ativan are highlighted in this chart. Be sure to read on for more information.

Ativan form Ativan strengths Dosage range
liquid solution that’s given as an injection • 2 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL)
• 4 mg/mL
depends on condition and body weight
tablet that you swallow • 0.5 mg
• 1 mg
• 2 mg
1 mg per day to 10 mg per day

Please keep in mind that this article covers Ativan’s standard dosage schedule, which is provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But always follow the dosing instructions your doctor prescribes.

Note: Because of Ativan’s risk of misuse, the drug is a controlled substance. This means its use is regulated by the government to prevent possible misuse. You should not share your Ativan prescription with anyone else. And be sure to take Ativan exactly as your doctor prescribes. It’s also recommended that you store Ativan in a safe place, away from children.

This section contains more information about Ativan.

What are the forms of Ativan?

Ativan comes as a tablet that you swallow. It also comes as a liquid solution that you’ll receive as an injection into a vein or muscle from your doctor.

What strengths does Ativan come in?

The Ativan has three strengths: 1 g, 1 g and 2 g. The liquid solution can be found in two strengths: 2 and 4.

What are the usual dosages of Ativan?

Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. The lowest dose of Ativan will be prescribed. The normal dose of Ativan is different for different reasons.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for sleep problems

If you have trouble sleeping because of stress or anxiety, Ativan may be used. You can use the tablet form of Ativan. The typical daily dose is 2 to 4 grams.

Dosage for certain Seizures.

Ativan is used to treat speaches caused by speach disorders. You will receive Ativan injections at a healthcare facility.

If you receive Ativan as an injection into a vein, the usual dosage is 4 mg given slowly (usually over about 2 minutes). If the seizure continues after 10 to 15 minutes, you may receive another 4-mg dose.

Dosage for anxiety

If you take Ativan for anxiety, you will be prescribed a tablet form of the drug.

“The Ativan’s dosage for anxiety can be as high as 10 percent. The usual daily dose is 2 or 3 grams. You will probably take it in separate amounts. If your daily dose is 3, you can take 1 and 2 in the morning and at night.”

Dosage for surgery

If you feel anxious before surgery, Ativan may be used to help you. Your body weight will be the basis for your dosage.

If you receive Ativan as an injection into a vein, the usual dose is either 0.02 mg per pound of body weight or 2 mg total — whichever dose is smaller. In some cases, the highest dose you may receive before surgery is 4 mg.

If you receive Ativan as an injection into a muscle, the usual dose is 0.05 mg per kilogram (kg) of body weight. (One kg is about 2.2 pounds.) In some cases, the highest dose you could receive before surgery is 4 mg.

What’s the dosage of Ativan for children?

There is no approved dose of Ativan for children. The drug is not approved for use in children.

“Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs that are not approved for use in children. Off-label use is when a drug is prescribed to treat a condition that isn’t approved for.”

“Talk to your child’s doctor about the use of Ativan in children.”

Is Ativan used long term?

“Ativan isn’t usually used as a long-term treatment. It is not recommended to use Ativan for more than 4 months in a row. Your doctor will prescribe the right amount of medicine for you.”

Dosage adjustments

If you are an older adult, your Ativan dose may need to be adjusted. If you have problems with the kidneys or the liver, you may need a lower dose. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the best dose of Ativan for you.

Ativan has a maximum recommended dose per day. These uses are used.

Prepping for surgery. To Make you sleepy before surgery., the maximum recommended dose of Ativan in one day is 4 mg. This dose is usually given as an injection into a vein.

Treating anxiety. To Treat anxiety., the highest recommended dosage of Ativan in one day is 10 mg administered via tablet form. The 10-mg daily dose is divided into two or three separate doses taken throughout the day. For example, your dose might be 4 mg in the morning and 6 mg before bed.

If you have questions about Ativan, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Below are answers to some questions.

What’s the Ativan dosage for anxiety attacks or alcohol withdrawal?

There isn’t a recommended dosage of Ativan for anxiety attacks or alcohol withdrawal because these are off-label uses of the drug. (Off-label use is when a drug is prescribed to treat a condition it isn’t approved for.)

Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, are currently being studied as a treatment for alcohol withdrawal. Doctors sometimes prescribe Ativan off-label for conditions such as alcohol withdrawal. If you’re prescribed Ativan for an off-label condition, your doctor will determine the dosage that’s right for you.

If you want to take Ativan off-label for anxiety attacks or alcohol withdrawal, you should talk to your doctor.

What’s the Ativan dosage for claustrophobia during an MRI or anxiety before a dental procedure?

Ativan is sometimes used for claustrophobia or anxiety during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or anxiety during other medical procedures, such as dental work. This is an off-label use, so there isn’t a recommended dosage. If you’re prescribed Ativan for one of these purposes, your doctor will determine the dosage that’s right for you.

If you have questions about the use of Ativan for anxiety during medical procedures, talk to your doctor.

The amount of Ativan you are prescribed may be affected by a number of factors. These include:

  • The type and severity of the condition you are treating.
  • Your age.
  • The form of Ativan you are using.
  • You may have other conditions.
  • Your organs function.

Ativan is a liquid solution that you swallow and then inject. The form of Ativan your doctor prescribes will depend on what you are using it for.

You can take Ativan tablets with or without food. If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication. And for information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Ativan, see this article.

If you’re prescribed the injection form of Ativan, your doctor will administer the injections into a vein or muscle. In most cases, injections are given as part of a surgical procedure or as an urgent treatment to stop a seizure.

Accessible drug containers and labels

“If you can’t read the prescription label on your medication, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies have labels for medication.”

  • Large print or use of blind.
  • You can use a code on a phone to change the text to sound.

“If your current pharmacy doesn’t offer accessibility features, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a new pharmacy.”

Let your pharmacist know if you have trouble opening bottles. They may be able to deliver Ativan in a container. They may have tips to make it easier to open the drug container.

If you miss an Ativan dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you have missed a dose, take the next one at its scheduled time. You should not take two Ativan to make up for missed dose. The risk of side effects from the drug could be raised if you do that.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Ativan on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

If you take more Ativan than your doctor prescribes, you can have serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

There are symptoms caused by an overdose of Ativan.

In some cases, overdose of Ativan can be fatal. If you are concerned about the risk of overdose, talk to your doctor.

What to do in case you take too much Ativan

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Ativan. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

Ativan is typically used short term. Long-term use of Ativan can lead to physical and mental dependence. With dependence, your body needs the drug to function like usual.

If you stop taking Ativan, you may have withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that you have become dependent on.

There are some withdrawal symptoms that may occur when Ativan treatment is stopped.

Withdrawal symptoms from Ativan can last for up to a year. Examples include:

Talk to your doctor about how to stop Ativan. They will likely have you reduce your dose slowly to help you avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The dosages provided by the drugmaker are described in the sections above. If your doctor recommends Ativan for you, they will prescribe the correct amount.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Ativan without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Ativan exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Some questions you may want to ask your doctor.

  • How should I divide my daily dose?
  • Does my Ativan dosage need to be changed if I take other drugs with it?
  • Should I reduce my Ativan dose if I notice that I feel sleepy?
  • What do I need to know about the Ativan dosage?

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.