Lorazepam

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Death may occur when benzodiazepines are combined with other depressants such as opiates, barbiturates, thienodiazepines, alcohol or other GABAergic substances.[1]

It is strongly discouraged to combine these substances, particularly in common to heavy doses.

Summary sheet: Lorazepam
Lorazepam
Molecular structure of Lorazepam
Lorazepam.svg
Chemical Nomenclature
Common names Lorazepam, Ativan, Orfidal, Lorsilan
Substitutive name Lorazepam
Systematic name (RS)-7-Chloro-5-(2-chlorophenyl)-3-hydroxy-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one
Class Membership
Psychoactive class Depressant
Chemical class Benzodiazepine
Routes of Administration

WARNING: Always start with lower doses due to differences between individual body weight, tolerance, metabolism, and personal sensitivity. See responsible use section.



Oral
Dosage
Threshold 0.10 - 0.25 mg
Light 0.25 - 0.5 mg
Common 0.5 - 1.5 mg
Strong 1.5 - 2 mg
Heavy 2 - 3 mg +
Duration
Total 4 - 8 hours
Onset 5 - 30 minutes
Peak 2 - 3 hours









DISCLAIMER: PW's dosage information is gathered from users and resources for educational purposes only. It is not a recommendation and should be verified with other sources for accuracy.

Lorazepam (trade name Ativan) is an intermediate-duration psychoactive drug of the benzodiazepine class which produces anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, anti-nausea, depressant and amnestic effects. This compound is used for the short-term treatment of anxiety, insomnia, acute seizures, and the sedation of hospitalized patients.[2][3][4][5]

It's worth noting that the sudden discontinuation of benzodiazepines can be potentially dangerous or life-threatening for individuals using regularly for extended periods of time, sometimes resulting in seizures or death.[6] It is highly recommended to taper one's dose by gradually lowering the amount taken each day for a prolonged period of time instead of stopping abruptly.[7]

Chemistry

Lorazepam is a drug of the benzodiazepine class. Benzodiazepine drugs contain a benzene ring fused to a diazepine ring, which is a seven membered ring with the two nitrogen constituents located at R1 and R4. Further, the benzodiazepine ring is bonded at R5 to a 2-chlorinated phenyl ring. R7 of the benzyl ring is also substituted with a chlorine group. Additionally, Lorazepam contains a hydroxy (OH-) group substituted at R3. It also contains an oxygen group double bonded to R2 of its diazepine ring to form a ketone. This oxygen substitution at R2 is shared with other benzodiazepine drugs with the suffix -azepam.

Pharmacology

Benzodiazepines produce a variety of effects by binding to the benzodiazepine receptor site and magnifying the efficiency and effects of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) by acting on its receptors.[8] As this site is the most prolific inhibitory receptor set within the brain, its modulation results in the sedating (or calming effects) of lorazepam on the nervous system.

The anticonvulsant properties of benzodiazepines may be, in part or entirely, due to binding to voltage-dependent sodium channels rather than benzodiazepine receptors.[9]

Relative to other benzodiazepines, lorazepam is thought to have high affinity for GABA receptors, which may also explain its marked amnesic effects.[10]

Subjective effects

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. The listed effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include injury or death.

Physical effects
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Cognitive effects
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Paradoxical effects
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Experience reports

There are currently no anecdotal reports which describe the effects of this compound within our experience index. Additional experience reports can be found here:

Toxicity and harm potential

Radar plot showing relative physical harm, social harm, and dependence of benzodiazepines in comparison to other drugs.[17]

Lorazepam likely has a low toxicity relative to dose.[18] However, it is potentially lethal when mixed with depressants like alcohol or opioids.

It is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this drug.

Tolerance and addiction potential

Lorazepam is extremely physically and psychologically addictive.

Tolerance will develop to the sedative-hypnotic effects within a couple of days of continuous use. After cessation, the tolerance returns to baseline in 7 - 14 days. However, in certain cases this may take significantly longer in a manner which is proportional to the duration and intensity of one's long-term usage.

Withdrawal symptoms or rebound symptoms may occur after ceasing usage abruptly following a few weeks or longer of steady dosing, and may necessitate a gradual dose reduction. For more information on tapering from benzodiazepines in a controlled manner, please see this guide.

Benzodiazepine discontinuation is notoriously difficult; it is potentially life-threatening for individuals using regularly to discontinue use without tapering their dose over a period of weeks. There is an increased risk of hypertension, seizures, and death.[19] Drugs which lower the seizure threshold such as tramadol should be avoided during withdrawal.

Lorazepam presents cross-tolerance with all benzodiazepines, meaning that after its consumption all benzodiazepines will have a reduced effect.

Dangerous interactions

Although many drugs are safe on their own, they can become dangerous and even life-threatening when combined with other substances. The list below contains some common potentially dangerous combinations, but may not include all of them. Certain combinations may be safe in low doses of each but still increase the potential risk of death. Independent research should always be done to ensure that a combination of two or more substances is safe before consumption.

  • Depressants (1,4-Butanediol, 2-methyl-2-butanol, alcohol, barbiturates, GHB/GBL, methaqualone, opioids) - This combination can result in dangerous or even fatal levels of respiratory depression. These substances potentiate the muscle relaxation, sedation and amnesia caused by one another and can lead to unexpected loss of consciousness at high doses. There is also an increased risk of vomiting during unconsciousness and death from the resulting suffocation. If this occurs, users should attempt to fall asleep in the recovery position or have a friend move them into it.
  • Dissociatives - This combination can result in an increased risk of vomiting during unconsciousness and death from the resulting suffocation. If this occurs, users should attempt to fall asleep in the recovery position or have a friend move them into it.
  • Stimulants - It is dangerous to combine benzodiazepines with stimulants due to the risk of excessive intoxication. Stimulants decrease the sedative effect of benzodiazepines, which is the main factor most people consider when determining their level of intoxication. Once the stimulant wears off, the effects of benzodiazepines will be significantly increased, leading to intensified disinhibition as well as other effects. If combined, one should strictly limit themselves to only dosing a certain amount of benzodiazepines per hour. This combination can also potentially result in severe dehydration if hydration is not monitored.

Overdose

Benzodiazepine overdose may occur when a benzodiazepine is taken in extremely heavy quantities or concurrently with other depressants. This is particularly dangerous with other GABAergic depressants such as barbiturates and alcohol since they work in a similar fashion, but bind to distinct allosteric sites on the GABAA receptor, thus their effects potentiate one another. Benzodiazepines increase the frequency in which the chlorine ion pore opens on the GABAA receptor while barbiturates increase the duration in which they are open, meaning when both are consumed, the ion pore will open more frequently and stay open longer[20]. Benzodiazepine overdose is a medical emergency that may lead to a coma, permanent brain injury or death if not treated promptly and properly.

Symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose may include severe thought deceleration, slurred speech, confusion, delusions, respiratory depression, coma or death. Benzodiazepine overdoses may be treated effectively in a hospital environment, with generally favorable outcomes. Benzodiazepine overdoses are sometimes treated with flumazenil, a GABAA antagonist[21], however care is primarily supportive in nature.

Legal issues

  • International: The drug is a Schedule IV drug under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances.[22]
  • United States: Lorazepam is a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act in the U.S.
  • Canada: It is a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in Canada.
  • United Kingdom: It is a Class C, Schedule 4 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.[23]
  • Germany: Preparations containing more than 2.5 mg are controlled under Anlage 3 of the BtMG and require a prescription.

Preparation methods

  • Volumetric liquid dosing - If one's benzodiazepines are in powder form, they are unlikely to weigh out accurately without the most expensive of scales due to their extreme potency. To avoid this, one can dissolve the benzodiazepine volumetrically into a solution and dose it accurately based upon the methodological instructions linked within this tutorial here.

See also

External links

References

  1. Risks of Combining Depressants (Tripsit) | https://tripsit.me/combining-depressants/
  2. Benzodiazepines and their effects | http://www.benzo.org.uk/hindmarch.htm
  3. An Economic Evaluation of Propofol and Lorazepam for Critically Ill Patients Undergoing Mechanical Ventilation (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763279/
  4. Status epilepticus: an evidence based guide (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1226249/
  5. Pharmacological Management of Acute Agitation | http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F00003495-200565090-00003
  6. A fatal case of benzodiazepine withdrawal. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19465812
  7. Canadian Guideline for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain - Appendix B-6: Benzodiazepine Tapering | http://nationalpaincentre.mcmaster.ca/opioid/cgop_b_app_b06.html
  8. Benzodiazepine interactions with GABA receptors (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6147796
  9. Benzodiazepines, but not beta carbolines, limit high frequency repetitive firing of action potentials of spinal cord neurons in cell culture. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2450203
  10. Benzodiazepine receptors mediate regional blood flow changes in the living human brain. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC42301/
  11. http://www.drugs.com/comments/lorazepam/for-nausea-vomiting.html
  12. Lorazepam (Medline Plus) | https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682053.html
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18922233 | Saïas T, Gallarda T | Paradoxical aggressive reactions to benzodiazepine use: a review
  14. Paton C | Benzodiazepines and disinhibition: a review | Psychiatr Bull R Coll Psychiatr | http://pb.rcpsych.org/cgi/reprint/26/12/460.pdf
  15. Bond AJ | Drug-induced behavioural disinhibition: incidence, mechanisms and therapeutic implications | CNS Drugs
  16. Drummer OH | Benzodiazepines—effects on human performance and behavior | Forensic Sci Rev
  17. Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse (ScienceDirect) | http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607604644
  18. Benzodiazepine metabolism: an analytical perspective (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18855614
  19. A fatal case of benzodiazepine withdrawal. (PubMed.gov / NCBI) | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19465812
  20. Barbiturates and benzodiazepine effects | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2471436
  21. Flumazenil, a benzodiazepine antagonist | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8306565
  22. List of psychotropic substances under international control | http://www.indiapost.gov.in/Pdf/Customs/List_of_Psychotropic_Substances.pdf
  23. List of drugs currently controlled under the misuse of drugs legislation| https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/164222/controlled-drugs-list.pdf