Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
Ativan is a drug used to treat anxiety disorders. It belongs to the family of benzodiazepines, which causes a calming effect on the brain. Ativan should be taken as directed by your doctor.
Do not take more than what your doctor told you as it is highly addicting. It is classified as Schedule IV drug by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning, its long-term use can lead to drug dependency.
The risk of addiction is higher in people who have a history of substance abuse. If you suddenly stop taking Ativan, it could lead to some discomforts and side effects. (1, 2, 3)
How long does Ativan stay in your system – Infographic
Photo 1: A 2 mg Ativan tablet.
Image Source: drugs-track.online
Image 2: Ativan in a vial which will be given to the patient in an injection form/intravenously.
Picture Source: img.medscapestatic.com
Picture 3: Ativan causes drug dependency, if left unmanaged could lead to addiction.
Photo Source: www.mentalhelp.net
How long does Ativan withdrawal last?
Ativan withdrawal symptoms last for a few weeks to months depending on the dosage, length of use, and severity of addiction. The withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous as they can cause seizures, restlessness, and depression. Ativan withdrawal symptoms start to kick in within 24 hours after the last intake. On the other hand, the average onset of withdrawal symptoms is within three to four days after the last dose. Acute withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Increased blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Seizures/convulsions (3, 4)
Can you get addicted to Ativan?
Ativan is a habit-forming drug. Doctors are thorough and careful when it comes to prescribing Ativan. A long-term use can lead to drug dependence. Abruptly stopping the intake of the drug or lowering down the dose to a minimum may cause untoward effects. If Ativan dependency is not managed, it could lead to addiction. Signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction are the following:
- Feeling the need to take a large dose of Ativan.
- Misusing Ativan, especially if experiencing some discomfort.
- The mind is preoccupied with using Ativan.
- Continuously using Ativan even if it means sacrificing social and personal relationship.
- Purchasing Ativan for recreational purpose. (3, 4, 5)
How long Ativan stays in your system?
To know how long Ativan stays in your system, you need to know the half-life of the drug. The usual half-life is 12 hours. It would take approximately three days for Ativan to be completely removed from your body. However, Ativan’s metabolite, lorazepam glucuronide has a half-life of 18 hours for the half of the drug to be completely removed from the body. (4, 5)
There are some things that can affect the body’s ability to excrete Ativan. These are the following:
- Age – Older people take some time to metabolize drugs, which means that Ativan stays longer in their body than that of the younger population. The reason for this is that older people have a slow metabolism, decreased flow of blood, and have a myriad of geriatric health conditions.
- Height and weight – The dosage of the drug is calculated based on how tall and heavy the patient is. It also affects how the drug is metabolized in the body. Some studies revealed that overweight people can clear Ativan faster than that of the regular weight people.
- Genetic makeup – Some people can metabolize drugs faster than others and their unique genetic makeup is one of the reasons.
- Liver and kidney functions – People with problems in their kidneys and liver may take some time to completely eliminate the drug from their body. On the other hand, those who have a healthy liver and kidney function do not have a problem eliminating Ativan and other drugs the soonest time possible.
- Metabolic rate – Some people are born with a hyperactive metabolism. They don’t have a hard time metabolizing foods and drugs. However, there are also people with a slow metabolism. Hence, Ativan and other drugs stay longer in their body.
- Frequency of use – Those who have been taking a high dose of Ativan for a long period of time may have a hard time clearing it from their system. It would take several weeks or even months for them to completely remove Ativan from their body. (5, 6, 7, 8)
Will Ativan show up in a drug test?
Ativan, being a highly addicting substance can be detected in the routine drug testing procedures. There are several testing procedures used to check Ativan in the body. Each testing procedure has a different window of detection.
How long does Ativan stay in the urine?
Ativan can be traced in the urine for up to six days from the last dose. For people who have been taking a high dose of Ativan for a long period of time, Ativan and its metabolites will remain in the urine for more than a week. (7, 8)
How long does Ativan stay in the blood?
A blood test has the immediate yet shortest window of detection. Ativan can be traced in the blood within six hours after the last dose. It can remain in the blood for few more days depending on the doses and frequency of use. (8, 9, 10)
How long Ativan stays in the hair?
The hair follicle test has the longest window of detection out of all drug testing methods. It can detect Ativan use for up to 90 days from the last use. (8, 9)
How long Ativan stays in the saliva?
Ativan can be detected in the saliva for up to 8 hours from the last dose. However, it is rarely used to check the presence of Ativan in the body. The urine and blood test are the two commonly used testing methods. (8, 9, 10)
|6 hours to few more days from the last use
|6 days to more than a week from the last use
|Up to 8 hours from the last use
|Hair Follicle Test
|Up to 90 days (3 months) from the last use
Disclaimer: Ativan is a prescription drug and should only be used under the doctor’s supervision. The purpose of this article is to draw awareness and information about Ativan and its effects on the body. Taking Ativan against the doctor’s advice can lead to serious health complications. This article is to educate people and raise awareness of the use of Ativan and its impact on the body when used the wrong way. Let this article be a guide to come up with healthy life choices.