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Lorazepam, usually referred to by its primary brand name Ativan(TM), or it's other brand name Temesta(TM), is a sedative in the benzodiazepine family. It is fast acting and has a short to medium duration of effect, making it appropriate for use in emergency situations where a patient must be quickly stabilized without long term side effects. It reduces anxiety, lowers heart rate and response to pain, and relaxes muscles making it appropriate for many conditions such as seizures, a psychotic break, anxiety attack, insomnia, to relax the patient prior to anesthesia, delirium tremens, delerium and to prevent nausea and vomiting.

Lorazepam can be taken orally or injected into muscle, but it is slower acting when so administered. It acts very quickly when it is injected intravenously.

Lorazepam has some serious side effects which are strongly related to the amount of the dose. As such, the smallest possible dose should be used to get the therapeutic effect. Lorazepam can occasionally have the exact opposite effect it is intended to have, causing anxiety, hostility and anger. In mentally ill patients, it can occasionally bring on suicidal feelings. Its use can also affect the formation of short term memory, including the loss of memories that were formed before the patient was given the medication.

Lorazepam should be avoided in patients with respiratory distress, those who are intoxicated by alcohol or narcotics, those with ataxia, individuals with sleep apnea, those suffering from myasthenia gravis, and women who are pregnant or nursing. In addition, long term use of the drug for any purpose is not recommended as the drug is addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms if it is removed.