How Long Does Ativan (Lorazepam) Stay in Your System?

What Is Lorazepam?

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, seizures, and other disorders. The drug is more commonly known by its brand name, Ativan. It acts as a sedative, depressing the central nervous system in order to reduce the effects of these disorders.

Since Ativan can have powerful interactions with other drugs and substances, it is important to understand its effects and their duration. Being aware of these interactions can help prevent uncomfortable or dangerous side effects as well as accidental overdose.

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

Ativan is most commonly administered as a tablet, but it can also be given in liquid concentrate form or by injection. The time it takes to feel the effects depends on the route of administration. When taken orally as a pill or liquid concentrate, it typically takes around two hours for the medication’s effects to peak, though they can be felt within 15 to 30 minutes.

Ativan may be injected to speed up its effects, though usually only in hospital settings. When injected, Ativan effects can peak in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. The drug works by enhancing the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which results in a sedative relaxing effect.

How Long Do the Effects of Ativan (Lorazepam) Last?

Ativan has an intermediate action onset and is intended for short-term relief. After taking an oral dose of Ativan, the effects peak for most people within a couple of hours. After that, they begin to taper off, lasting for 6 to 8 hours on average.

However, the drug remains in the body far longer than its calming effects can be felt. To understand how long Ativan can be detected in the body, one has to understand the concept of a half-life. The half-life of a drug is the time it takes the system to metabolize and eliminate half of the drug’s concentration from the body. The half-life of Ativan is between 10 to 20 hours, which means it takes around five or six half-lifes for the dose to be fully eliminated from the body. That means it takes five days on average for Ativan to be eliminated after taking it.

It can be detected in urine for up to six days; in blood, for up to three days; in saliva, for up to eight hours. Hair tests can detect lorazepam use for as long as 30 days. However, most drug screens do not detect lorazepam.

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

The time it takes to eliminate Ativan from the body varies by individual, and it is affected by several factors that can increase or decrease the rate at which it’s metabolized.

  • Amount taken: The dosage is one of the key indicators that influences how long Ativan stays in the body. A dose of 6 mg will take far longer to eliminate than a dose of 2 mg, which would require fewer half-lifes to metabolize.
  • Frequency of use: Since it takes several days to fully eliminate a dose of Ativan, there is a natural buildup of the substance in the system. Individuals who have been taking the drug for a longer period of time will have traces of the drug in the body for a longer period of time.
  • Method of administration: When taken orally, Ativan enters the bloodstream after being absorbed through the digestive system. When injected, the substance enters the bloodstream right away and is consequently eliminated faster.
  • Individual factors: Several individual factors can change how Ativan is metabolized. For instance, older people tend to eliminate the drug more slowly than younger people due to their slower metabolism. Weight and build also affects elimination rate; generally, tall or heavyset individuals eliminate Ativan at a faster rate than people who are shorter or have a smaller build.
How to Get Ativan Out of Your System
Like most benzodiazepines, Ativan can lead to addiction as a result of a growing physical dependence that develops over time. This means that withdrawal will occur when its use is discontinued. If you want to stop taking Ativan, you should consult with your doctor to determine the safest way to stop taking Ativan. This often involves slowly reducing dosage over time to get the body used to functioning with less and less of it until none is required.
Lorazepam Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from Ativan may last between 2-3 days. However, this estimate is affected by how long the substance was used and the quantity in which it was used. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Seizures
Ativan (Lorazepam) Drug Testing

Since it remains in the system for so long, lorazepam can be detected in drug testing for a relatively long time even though it is a short-acting medication. How long it can be detected depends on the type of test used.

  • When using a blood test, lorazepam is detectable within six hours of administration. It can come up on a blood test for up to three days after use.
  • Urine tests can detect lorazepam for up to six days after use. This is the most common way to test for Ativan use, since it offers a relatively reliable and longer window of detection.
  • Saliva may also be used to detect lorazepam use though it is much less reliable. It can appear on a test for up to eight hours.
  • Hair tests can detect lorazepam for the longest period of time, up to a month on average, though it can appear in hair for longer depending on the severity of use.

Lorazepam FAQs

Lorazepam Addiction Treatment at Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

Riverwalk Ranch provides addiction treatment for lorazepam and other benzodiazepines as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services. Here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, our medical professionals use a variety of research-based interventions to treat substance use and co-occurring disorders. Among other supportive peers and addiction experts, you will find a supportive home here to help you overcome your substance abuse and addiction.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Ativan abuse or addiction, contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you call Texas home or you’re looking to start anew in a different setting, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a therapeutic and supportive oasis for you. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy life free from the clutches of addiction, and we are committed to helping you get there.

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