How Long Does Ativan (Lorazepam) Last?


How long does Ativan last? How long does lorazepam last? Is there a difference between the two? If you’re taking the drug Ativan for anxiety, it’s important that you know how long it lasts so you can work with your doctor to figure out how much you should take and how often you should take it.

This guide goes over all the key information you should be aware of, like how quickly Ativan will begin to work, how long does 1 mg of Ativan last, the Ativan half life, and what to do if you feel like your Ativan isn’t working.


What Is Ativan?

Ativan is a brand name for the drug lorazepam. Lorazepam is a drug in the benzodiazepine family. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety, but it can also be used to treat seizure disorders, including epilepsy, as well as insomnia. It works by producing a calming effect on the brain and nervous system. While you can take lorazepam in pill or (rarely) injectable liquid form, Ativan comes primarily in pill form, with doses ranging from .25 mg to 2 mg.

Even if you’re prescribed Ativan, you may be given a generic version of lorazepam since they’re much cheaper than brand name Ativan. Generic lorazepam and Ativan should work the same for you since they have the same chemical formula, but a small percentage of users get heartburn from generic lorazepam or don’t feel it treats their symptoms as well as Ativan does. Talk to your doctor if this is happening to you.


How Long Does Ativan Last?

How long do the effects of Ativan last? The amount of time Ativan lasts will depend on both how much you take and your own body, but, in general, Ativan lasts about six to eight hours. It should start working about 20-50 minutes after you take it, and you’ll feel the effects of Ativan most strongly about two hours after taking it.

The Ativan half life is about 12 hours, which means about half of the Ativan you took will still be in your body at that point. But how long does Ativan last in your system? For most people, Ativan will be out of their system within three days, although if you’ve been on this medication for a long time, such as a few months or more, and developed a high tolerance, Ativan can remain detectable in your body several weeks after you last took it.




What’s the Standard Dose for Ativan?

The amount of Ativan you’re directed to take will depend on your weight, the type(s) of anxiety you suffer from, and if you’ve built up a tolerance to benzos. The average Ativan dose is about 2 mg to 3 mg a day. People taking this drug often take a .5mg or 1mg pill several times throughout the day in order to keep the effects of Ativan going throughout the day. If you suffer from insomnia, one of your doses will likely be about an hour before you go to bed to help you sleep. Your doctor will help you decide when the best times to take your Ativan pills are.

If you’re trying to make the effects of Ativan last longer, it’s more effective to take several small doses throughout the day rather than one large dose. Increasing your Ativan dose will make the effects last slightly longer, but not much due to your body’s metabolism and the way the drug is designed to work.

For example, if you take 1g of Ativan then another gram eight hours later, the effects of the drug will last significantly longer than if you’d taken 2g at one time. This is why doctors frequently direct patients to take several smaller doses throughout the day instead of one large dose at once. You should never take more Ativan than you’re prescribed since it increases the chance of overdose as well as the chance of becoming addicted to Ativan.


How Will You Know When Ativan Has Started Working?

Ativan is designed to be fast acting, so it will begin to work about 20-50 minutes after you take it. You’ll know the Ativan has begun working when you feel a calming effect spread throughout your body. Some people need to take Ativan for several weeks before they really feel it begin to work. Ativan has a slower, more subtle effect than many other benzos, such as Xanax, so you likely won’t notice a dramatic shift in how you feel once it starts working. It will be a more gradual feeling of increased calm and decreased anxiety. Many people also feel sleepy after taking Ativan. This is another sign that the drug is working since it’s designed to produce a sedative effect.

You will also probably not notice a big difference when your Ativan stops working. You should hopefully continue to feel relatively calm and stay this way until your next dose is needed. If you’ve been on Ativan for longer than several weeks and/or are taking high doses, you may feel withdrawal effects. These can include headache, nausea, rapid heart rate, and insomnia. If you experience these symptoms, talk to your doctor since it can be a sign that your body is becoming dependent on the drug which you’ll want to stop before it becomes a full-blown addiction.




What If You Aren’t Feeling the Effects of Ativan?

What if you don’t think your Ativan is working? If you take Ativan as directed by your doctor but are still struggling with anxiety, one or more of the four options below may help you.

  • Talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing your dosage or how many pills you take at a time. (Don’t make any changes before consulting your doctor!)
  • If you’re taking generic lorazepam, ask your doctor to switch you to the Ativan brand of the drug. It works better for some people.
  • Don’t take Ativan with caffeine, including coffee and soda. Caffeine can reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
  • Instead of swallowing the pill, try placing it under your tongue until it dissolves. This often makes you feel the effects of Ativan faster.


Conclusion: How Long Does Ativan Last in Your System?

How long does lorazepam last? Ativan is a brand name of the drug lorazepam, and you can expect it to last about six to eight hours. Ativan will start to work about 20 to 50 minutes after you take it, and the Ativan half life (the time it takes for only half the drug to be left in your system) is about 12 hours. So how long does it take for lorazepam to wear off? You’ll stop feeling effects after several hours, but it’ll usually take up to three days for the drug to be completely cleared from your system.

You’ll know that Ativan has begun to work when you feel calm, a bit sleepy, and less anxious. If you feel like your Ativan isn’t working well, make sure you’re not taking it with caffeine, try dissolving it under your tongue, and discuss a possible change in your dose with your doctor.