How Long Does Ativan Last?

How Long Does Ativan Last? How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

What is Ativan?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription tranquilizing drug. You might also hear it as a sedative-hypnotic or anxiolytic medication. Ativan is used for anxiety treatment [1]. It is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation. Many have succumbed to Ativan addiction and require Ativan detox to function normally again and avoid Ativan side effects that bring health risks.

Ativan is the brand name available in the US for lorazepam. Loraz, another brand name for lorazepam, has been terminated in the US. Ativan is obtainable in generic form; however, you need a prescript from your doctor. Despite its legitimate medical uses, Ativan has known addictive and drug dependence liability.

This is one reason why Ativan is prescribed for relatively short-term use. However, people should be careful to adhere to prescription guidelines. If not, if an individual exceeds the recommended dosage, it may increase the likelihood of drug addiction development.

Ativan is a DEA-controlled drug. The active ingredient lorazepam is a DEA Schedule IV controlled substance. Given that, substances in the DEA Schedule IV have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III. The DEA also classifies Ativan as Depressants. Moreover, the street names for Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, are Benzos, Downers, Nerve Pills, and Tranks. [2] 

How Long Does Ativan Last
What are the side effects of Ativan? Dependence, misuse, and addiction are more likely in people who take higher doses of Ativan or use it long-term, or those who misuse alcohol or drugs

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects? 

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.

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Factors That Affect Detection Time

There are a number of things that can influence how long Ativan remains in a person’s system. While rates usually follow a fairly consistent timeline, some people metabolize and clear the drug more quickly than others.

Biological Factors

Some of the factors that can influence how long Ativan remains in your body include the following.

  • Age: Older people tend to clear the drug more slowly than younger people. This is likely because older individuals have slower metabolisms, decreased organ function, lower blood flow, and other health issues that can affect how quickly the drug is processed and excreted.
  • Kidney function: Research has found that liver impairment does not have much of an impact on Ativan clearance rates; however, kidney problems are associated with prolonged drug half-life.3
  • Height and weight: Taller, heavier people, typically clear the drug more quickly than shorter, lighter individuals.

Dosage and Frequency of Use

Higher doses of Ativan take longer to metabolize. The drug is also detectable for longer periods in individuals who have been taking the drug for a longer period of time.

Use of Other Substances

The concurrent use of other substances can have an impact on how quickly each is processed and excreted from the body. For example, consuming alcohol while using Ativan reduces clearance rates by 18%.6 Researchers believe that short-term alcohol consumption impairs the coupling of the drug or its metabolites with other molecules, which slows the metabolism process.

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How to Get Ativan Out of Your System

An Ativan detox will only go so fast due to the leftover metabolites but there are some things you can do to speed things along. Depending on your overall health, it typically takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to clear out your system. Here are a handful of things you can do along the way:

Stay Hydrated

Supporting your body’s natural detoxing processes offers one of the quickest ways to get Ativan out of your system. Hydration is one of those essential processes. More specifically, staying hydrated by drinking water. Water helps the liver do its job, processing and expelling chemicals and waste materials from the body.

The more hydrated you are the faster Ativan metabolites leave your system. For men, drinking 125 ounces of water per day provides adequate hydration. For women, it’s 91 ounces. These amounts may vary depending on your activity level and daily diet. Vegetables and fruit tend to have a high water content, so be sure to take that into consideration.

How Long Does Ativan Last
Because Ativan is legal to use with a prescription, some people may not realize they’re abusing the drug. 


Regular exercise offers a range of health benefits, one of which is strengthening your body’s detoxification system. Like a healthy metabolism, regular exercise keeps the trains moving, cleaning out the cells, and flushing out waste. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation, which is another way your body retains waste materials.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep goes a long way towards supporting your body’s health and will also help get Ativan out of your system. The recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night gives your body the time it needs to repair cells, rebuild cells, and clear out toxins that accumulate during the day. If getting proper rest is difficult for you, consider trying to follow a sleep schedule. Also, blue light displays from computers and mobile devices can make it harder to fall asleep so it helps to reduce screen time as much as possible.

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Symptoms of Ativan Overdose

Ativan overdose may happen at any level higher than what your doctor has prescribed for you. The amount of Ativan that a person takes to reach an Ativan overdose differs from person to person. This can be based on weight, gender, genetics, and underlying health conditions, among other factors. The doctor prescribing a person Ativan is taking these factors into account when deciding what dose is safe.

Because Ativan is extremely potent and can appear harmless as a prescription drug, it may cause both accidental and intentional abuse as well as an accidental Ativan overdose. Most commonly, overdoses happen when it is taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs.

Symptoms of Ativan Overdose may include the following:

  • Mental Confusion
  • Slurred Speech
  • Lack of Energy
  • Loss of Control of Body Movements
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Slow Breathing
  • Passing Out
  • Coma

Severe cases of Ativan overdose, especially when the drug was used in combination with other drugs, can be fatal.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? 

While lorazepam is a fast-acting drug, it has a relatively long half-life. The half-life of lorazepam is 12 hours, meaning that it decreases in concentration in the body by half every 12 hours.

The drug is metabolized primarily by the liver and then eliminated from the body by the kidneys through urine. Ativan may be present up to nine days past the last use.


How long does Ativan last in your blood? Ativan can first be detected by blood tests six hours after ingestion. Blood tests can also detect the substance for three days after the last use. However, this detection window may be longer in cases where people have been taking Ativan at higher doses for three days or longer. 


How long does Ativan last in your urine? Ativan is eliminated in the urine for one to six weeks, depending on how much is administered and for how long. Urine screening tests can detect Ativan in samples up to six days after the last use. In those who have been taking the drug regularly or at higher doses, this detection window may be somewhat longer. If testing looks for the metabolite lorazepam-glucuronide, which is produced as the drug is broken down by the body, detection may take place up to nine days after the last use.


How long does Ativan last in your hair? As with other drugs, Ativan can be detected in hair samples for much longer than with other methods. It can be detected with a hair test for up to 30 days after use. 


How long does Ativan last in your saliva? Saliva tests have found that Ativan could be detected in samples for up to eight hours after use. However, saliva tests are rarely used to screen for benzodiazepines such as Ativan. 

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Dosage and Frequency of Use

Ativan (lorazepam) is administered orally. For optimal results, dose, frequency of administration, and duration of therapy should be individualized according to patient response. To facilitate this, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg tablets are available.

The usual range is 2 to 6 mg/day given in divided doses, the largest dose being taken before bedtime, but the daily dosage may vary from 1 to 10 mg/day.

For anxiety, most patients require an initial dose of 2 to 3 mg/day given two times a day or three times a day.
For insomnia due to anxiety or transient situational stress, a single daily dose of 2 to 4 mg may be given, usually at bedtime.

For elderly or debilitated patients, an initial dosage of 1 to 2 mg/day in divided doses is recommended, to be adjusted as needed and tolerated.

The dosage of Ativan (lorazepam) should be increased gradually when needed to help avoid adverse Ativan side effects. When a higher dosage is indicated, the evening dose should be increased before the daytime doses.

Ativan Addiction Treatment in NJ

There is a strong link between mental health and substance abuse. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like depression and anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment., 

To determine the most effective ways to treat Ativan side effects, and addiction, and to tell how long does Ativan last it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the long term side effects of Ativan withdrawals.

Psychotherapy for Anxiety

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

 Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety and depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up NJ can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

How Long Does Ativan Last
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[1] NIH –

[2] NCBI –