How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? - ARISE

Ativan, also known by its generic name lorazepam, is a benzodiazepine medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and certain types of seizures. It may also be used to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Like many benzodiazepines, Ativan can be habit-forming and addictive if it is abused for extended periods of time.

Ativan is a fast-acting drug, producing effects between 15 to 30 minutes after being taken orally. Its effects peak within about two hours, then steadily decline, wearing off after 8-24 hours depending on the dose. While Ativan’s effects last just a few hours, it can stay in your system for 3-6 days depending on your dose, metabolism, and other factors.

How is Ativan Metabolized in the Body?

When Ativan is ingested orally, it is rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. This means that it enters the bloodstream relatively quickly, typically within 1-2 hours. Ativan is a highly fat-soluble drug, which allows it to be distributed throughout the body, including the brain, where it causes calming and sedative effects. Ativan crosses the blood-brain barrier quickly after ingestion and has a rapid onset of action.

Ativan is primarily metabolized in the liver. The liver breaks down lorazepam into several metabolites, with the primary metabolite being lorazepam glucuronide. Then, Ativan and its metabolites are eliminated from the body via the kidneys and urine.

Ativan’s half-life, which is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body, is around 12-16 hours for most individuals. It takes 4-5 half-lives for a drug to leave the system, so this means that it takes about 2-4 days for Ativan to be mostly eliminated from the body. However, people who have been abusing Ativan or built up a tolerance may take up to a week to eliminate it from their bodies.

Factors That Influence How Long Ativan (Lorazepam) Stays in the System

Everyone is different, and some people metabolize Ativan at a faster rate than others. Similarly, people take different doses and at varying intervals, both of which can affect how long it stays in their system. The factors that may influence how long Ativan stays in the body include:

  • Dosage – Higher doses of Ativan will take longer to clear from the system compared to lower doses.
  • Frequency of use – Frequent or long-term use of Ativan can lead to the accumulation of it in the body, extending the time it stays in the system.
  • Metabolism – People with slower metabolisms may retain Ativan in their system for longer periods of time.
  • Age – Older individuals tend to metabolize drugs more slowly, potentially leading to a longer presence of Ativan in their system.
  • Liver and kidney function – Impaired liver or kidney function can affect the metabolism and elimination of Ativan, leading to a longer duration of action.
  • Interactions with other drugs – Taking Ativan with alcohol or other drugs can affect how long it takes your body to metabolize it.

How Long Does Ativan Show Up on a Drug Test?

Several types of drug tests can detect Ativan in your system, but their effectiveness, timing of use, and detection windows vary. The following are estimated Ativan detection times for each type of drug test.

  • Urine tests – Urine tests are the most common method for detecting Ativan. They may be used for pre-employment screenings, medical exams, and other purposes. Ativan can be detected in urine for up to 3-6 days after the last use.
  • Blood tests – Blood tests are typically only used in medical settings. Ativan is detectable in the bloodstream for a shorter period of time than in urine, typically up to 24-48 hours.
  • Saliva tests – Saliva tests are less common but can detect Ativan for around 24-48 hours.
  • Hair tests – Hair tests can detect Ativan for an extended period of time, often up to 90 days. However, they are less commonly used due to their cost and the fact that they can’t always detect recent drug use.

Can You Get Addicted to Ativan?

Yes, it is possible to get addicted to Ativan. Ativan is a helpful medication when used under the guidance of a healthcare professional to manage anxiety, panic disorders, and certain medical conditions. However, it is essential to use Ativan as prescribed and to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Misuse, overuse, or abruptly stopping the use of Ativan after a period of regular use can lead to adverse effects, including withdrawal symptoms, rebound anxiety, and potential addiction.

Dangers of Ativan Abuse and Addiction

When Ativan is used outside of prescribed guidelines or for non-medical reasons, it can be dangerous and lead to a range of adverse effects. Some of the risks associated with Ativan abuse and addiction include:

  • Tolerance – Over time, the body may become less sensitive to Ativan, causing individuals to take higher doses than before to achieve the same effects. This can increase the risk of dependence and addiction.
  • Dependence – Continued use of Ativan can lead to physical and psychological dependence. When individuals attempt to stop using the drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.
  • Cognitive impairment – Ativan abuse can impair cognitive and motor skills, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Overdose – Taking high doses of Ativan can result in an overdose, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of an overdose may include extreme sedation, slowed breathing, and loss of consciousness.

Get Help for Ativan Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with Ativan addiction, it’s time to get the help that you deserve. At ARISE Treatment Center, we can guide you through recovery every step of the way, from detox and residential treatment to outpatient rehab and aftercare. Our programs are tailored to each client’s individual needs, providing for a highly personalized and intensive approach.

To learn more about our addiction treatment programs or to get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.


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