IRFANA PARVEEN
By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

18 January 2023
Medically reviewed by
Cyndy Kee
M.D.
DO ATIVAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN
Table of Contents

Anxiety disorders are one of the common illnesses which affect your mind and body. According to the National Survey on Drug use report, 1.7 million US people aged 12 years and older consume drugs like Ativan. 

Anxiety is a sudden intense fear that triggers extreme fear and panic symptoms like a heavy racing heartbeat, fast breathing, and sweating. Due to this, some people will get affected by fearful panic attacks and Anxiety syndrome. 

It should be treated with proper medical intervention; the doctor will diagnose a test by physical exams. Your doctor will likely start medication, and a wide variety of drugs are available. 

The drug Ativan is one of the effective ones in treating Anxiety, but some people reported weight changes while taking the medication; it is not known whether the drug Ativan causes weight gain or not; here it is discussed below; let us understand 

What Is Ativan?

Ativan is a Drug available only with a prescription. It belongs to the classification of Benzodiazepines. Ativan is the brand name, whereas Lorazepam is its generic version. Ativan is used to treat Anxiety, panic attacks, and sleeplessness.

It is also used as an off-label purpose that helps treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The US food and drug administration approved the drug in 1977. It should not be used by people younger than 12 years.    

How Does Ativan Work?

Ativan is also known as a sedative or tranquilizer. The drug works by Neurotransmitters in the brain regions called Gamma-aminobutyric acid GABA. Ativan will help to regulate the mood of sleep and keep you relaxed. 

The drug works on the central nervous system to make you feel less anxious, producing calm and peace in your brain. By inducing the CNS into depression, the drug work effectively reduces Anxiety and panic levels. The drug should be taken only for short-term usage due to the high addiction and dependence. It is advisable to use the drug for not more than four weeks.  

Does Ativan Cause Weight Gain Or Loss?

Ativan works effectively in the central nervous system; While using, Ativan had no impact on weight changes, and no side effects were seen using the drug Ativan. Due to the depressant effects, fewer individuals can see weight gain.

But if you face the issues, it may be related to the symptoms of Anxiety that causes binge eating. The drug doesn't have the potential for weight gain or Loss. 

Ativan is a fast-acting drug; it usually takes the substance produced half to break down the drug and nearly five days to eliminate it from your system. Moreover, it depends upon each individual's health.
Yes, Ativan can be addictive. Usually, the drug should be taken only after the doctor's advice.
Taking the drug for more than recommended will cause you to suffer from an overdose, which leads to life-threatening conditions like coma or death.

Why Does Ativan Affect Weight Gain Or Loss?

Studies have reported that using depressant drugs causes you to make more tired and less active, resulting in weight gain. But the individual consuming the drug faces issues it might be due to the results of the medicine are any other factors such as combining with other medications, having any pre-existing health conditions, etc. 

For short-term usage of the medicine, people can feel less appetite, and weight loss can be seen. Using Ativan for an extended period can be seen as a weight change due to the Central nervous system depressant working slower to make your brain activity calm resulting in your body functioning more gradually. This will affect your digestive system and leads to weight gain. 

However, using benzodiazepine drugs will lead to weight gain is one of the expected effects. Due to the person's drowsiness, tiredness will make you lazy and affect weight. 

How To Avoid Weight Changes After Consuming Ativan?

Track Your Medication And Diet:

Most people taking anxiety drugs will change their exercise patterns and track calorie intake. If you are not calculating your calorie, it will be difficult to see your weight changes. Those with anxiety medication will see weight gain or Loss due to physical activity or obtaining calories. These two factors will help you to see changes in your weight.

Adjust your dosage:

The person taking the drug should aim to receive a possible dosage. Anti-anxiety medications will work in your physiology system to alter your weight; therefore, you can see weight changes if the dosage is reduced. 

Manage side effects:

People taking anxiety drugs will experience weight gain in the initial stage, depending on how long they consume. A person taking the medication should be aware of side effects like constipation, fatigue, and bloating due to weight gain. With the help of your doctor, you can tolerate your weight gain to be controlled.

Choosing alternative methods:

If you experience weight gain, the healthcare provider must note whether any other supplements or medication you are using it. Discontinuing the other drugs will help you to overcome your weight gain. Talk with your doctor and get advice on using Anxiety drugs with other supplements. 

How Much Should You Consume: Dosage

Adult  Anxiety Dosage

Oral

  • Starting Dose: 2 to 3 mg oral per day. It can be given two to three times per day.
  • Maintenance dose: 1 to 2 mg oral, 2 to 3 per day. 

Geriatric Anxiety Dosage

Oral

  • Starting Dose: 1 to 2 mg, oral per day, can be given in a divided dose.

Pediatric Dose For Anxiety

Oral

  • Starting Dose: 12 years older
  • Starting Dose: 2 to 3 mg per day orally
  • Maintenance dose: 1 to 2 mg orally,2 to 3 times daily.  

Possible Side Effects Of Ativan

Side effects are the unwanted effects of the drug, shown at the initial stage of drug consumption. Side effects can be mild to dangerous, depending on how much dosage you take, frequency and duration. The Common side effects will go on their own in a few days to weeks.

If you face more than a few weeks, you should talk with your doctor about your side effects and how it's troubling. Some possible side effects are listed below,

Common Side Effects

Severe Side Effects

Weakness

Breathing problem

Dizziness 

Slow breathing

Sleepiness 

Lower blood pressure causes fainting

Lack of coordination

Uncontrollable Seizure 

Depression

Sudden involuntary movement

Confusion 

Loss of consciousness 

Headache 

Muscle stiffness

Misuse Or Overdose

People Taking Ativan will develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. This will cause your body to function according to the drug. It is advisable to use only for short-term periods; people consuming for more extended periods will develop a risk of drug addiction syndrome.

In some cases, Ativan usage for extended periods is said to be an Abuse of the drug. People consuming alcohol are a higher potential risk of developing a misuse Ativan and show some symptoms like Depression, weak muscle body, nausea, Sweating, Vomiting, Allergic reactions like troubling in breathing, swallowing on your lips, tongue, or face, Any suicidal thoughts, and Loss of coordination.

What Are The Precautions Of Ativan?

Precautions are general measures given below the label and information about the drugs. How to use, and how to be aware of the particular drug. Caution measures should be taken before taking the medication.

  • Ativan can cause breathing difficulty or stop breathing if you take recent opioid medication or any alcoholic substance.
  • Using Ativan more extendedly makes you addicted to the drug.

Before using the drug, inform your doctor if you have any, 

  • Allergic reactions to benzodiazepine drugs like Alprazolam, diazepam, valium, and Xanax.
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Any breathing issue
  • Addiction to the alcohol
  • Drug abuse
  • Kidney or liver dysfunction
  • Any mental illness like depression, suicidal thoughts, or mood problems.

During Pregnancy

Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or Planning to become pregnant because it will harm your unborn baby and cause life-threatening issues.

During Breastfeeding

Avoid breastfeeding while taking the drug; if you have any drowsiness or feeding problems, inform your doctor.  

Ativan Drug Interaction

Drug interaction is the interaction of one drug with another medicine. Every drug interaction won't lead to adverse effects, But some do due to the presence of an active ingredient in the drug, Which leads to adverse reactions to your health. 

Ativan should not be consumed with: 

  • Other benzodiazepines drugs, 
  • Avoid taking antihistamines such as diphenhydramine
  • Avoid Narcotic pain drugs such as Oxycodone and morphine.
  • Avoid taking opioid Cough drugs 
  • Sleeping drugs like zolpidem
  • Anti-anxiety drugs 
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline.   

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

So far now, we have come to understand the drug Ativan. It is used in Anxiety and panic attack treatment. It is an FDA-approved drug. Combining the medicine with other opioid or alcohol substances will lead to excessive sedation, resulting in strenuous activity like trouble breathing or an accident. 

Ativan can lead to weight gain using it for extended periods. But there are no reported studies; it depends upon the individual health conditions or combined with anti-antidepressants drugs. 

In general, the benzodiazepines group of drugs has the potential for Misuse, Abuse, and addiction to medicine. So the drug Ativan should be used only for short-term periods. Do not stop the drug without your doctor's advice. If you wish to discontinue the drug, consult with your doctor. 

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