DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM:
Lorazepam is a drug used for treating anxiety. It is in the benzodiazepine family of drugs, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. It is thought that excessive activity of nerves in the brain may cause anxiety and other psychological disorders. Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another that reduces the activity of nerves in the brain. It is thought that lorazepam and other benzodiazepines may act by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain to reduce activity. Because lorazepam is removed from the blood more rapidly than many other benzodiazepines, there is less chance that lorazepam concentrations in blood will reach high levels and become toxic. Lorazepam also has fewer interactions with other medications than most of the other benzodiazepines. The FDA approved lorazepam in March 1999.
Lorazepam is used for the management of anxiety disorders, the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression. Lorazepam is effective for insomnia and panic attacks, and is used in combination with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. Lorazepam also is administered before anesthesia for sedation and used for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal. It is also used for treating seizures (status epilepticus).